TOGETHER THEY created one of the greatest Irish albums - in folk, or any other genre - with 1976's Andy Irvine Paul Brady, aka The Purple Album, and individually, they are two of the greatest and most influential figures in Irish music.
Irvine and Brady are reuniting for a special 40th Anniversary Tour of Ireland, accompanied by Dónal Lunny and Kevin Burke, which will include a show in the Black Box Theatre on Saturday May 27 at 8pm.
In 1975, Christy Moore left Planxty and was replaced by Paul Brady, but a chance to record with them never happened as the band broke up not long afterwards. “We adjourned to Madigan’s pub in Donnybrook," Andy Irvine recalls. "We drank to the demise of Planxty, looked at each other and said, ‘’So what do we do now? Since Paul and myself had struck up a particular friendship we decided to become a duo.”
Together Irvine and Brady recorded an eponymously-titled album in 1976 in Rockfield Studios in Wales (where Queen, the year before recorded A Night At The Opera and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' ), with assistance from fiddler Kevin Burke and multi-instrumentalist, and fellow Planxty alumni, Dónal Lunny.
The album was a tour de force of Irvine's bazouki magic - thrilling riffs and proto math-rock exercises that fused Irish folk, eastern European styles, and rock, best heard on opening track 'The Plains Of Kildare', while Paul Brady's dexterity on acoustic guitar was on display on 'Arthur MacBride', a song the Tyrone man made his own. “I always remember the first time I heard it in a Donegal pub. I was blown away as everybody has been since!” Irvine says now.
"I think I can speak for both Paul and myself, when I say that we are very proud of this album," says Andy. "It takes a long time to be at a distance from something you recorded and listen to it dispassionately. When I hear that album, I can say it's good without fear of being thought of as conceited. I now hear it objectively, almost as if it was someone else. That was a great time and I look back at those days as being among my best musical experiences. Nobody who was at those Festivals, like say, on Sherkin Island in '76 and '77 will ever forget them.”