Month: February 2014

Interview: Andy Irvine with Anand – 104.4FM Access Radio Taranaki



"Well, I was an actor…" Andy Irvine – Child Actor

Well, I was an actor, I played straight
I played at the Gaiety, played at the Gate
My mother in 1928
Had trod those boards before me
I was getting tired of the company
An actor’s life did not suit me
I said “Goodbye; you’ll never see me
Back here at Neary’s.” Andy Irvine – O’Donoghues

The Actor: In His Own Words

In the summer holidays of 1950, when I was eight, I landed a small but very important part in a film called A Tale of Five Cities. I’m not sure how this happened but my sister, ten years older than I, who was also on the stage may have played a part. I fell in love with acting there and then. I mean it was so easy! As a child actor, director and stars, alike, treated me like the bee’s knees and my self-confidence was probably never higher!
The film starred Bonar Colleano and Barbara Kelly, two Canadian actors of a bygone era but probably the most lastingly famous person who was in it was Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian actress of great beauty, who was, unfortunately, filmed in Italy. Alas we never met! I last saw this film in 1956 on TV and have been trying to get a video of it ever since. I was a bit of a hit when I got back to school and my life took a turn for the better.
circa 1959, playing a guitar given to
me by Peter Sellers during a west
end theater production in 1958.
A crossroads was reached in 1955. The newly-formed ITV TV station wanted me to play Nokie in a children’s weekly series called Round at the Redways. Nokie was short for Pinocchio—I had Dumbo the Elephant-like ears until an operation a couple of years later. There was much consternation and soul searching between my parents, my sister and myself at this point. I was academically on track for a pretty top quality education, which would have to give way if I undertook this new career. I forget now who was on which side but my side won. The upshot was that I left my boarding school and entered the glitzy world of Stage, Screen, TV and Radio.
Well, I was good. Acting comes easily to children. I made my Stage debut in the theatre where my mother had made her farewell appearance. I ran on to the stage at the start of the play and received a volley of applause before I had opened my mouth!
I was in a number of TV plays, including one called The Magpies — an adaptation of a Henry James story. The newspapers went into raptures about my performance in this and I landed a part, with a dramatic scene, in Room at the Top, playing opposite Laurence Harvey. He was a bit scary and we had to retake the scene two or three times. It went well eventually and he stumped off the set giving me a “Well done, Andrew”. I was in a stage play at the same time, with Peter Sellers, and kept hearing how everybody had been very impressed with my performance in the film.
My mother insisted that we should go to the première in a limousine and we got out, in front of adoring crowds, at the Leicester Square Odeon. Two thirds of the way through the film, my mother leaned over and whispered “When’s your scene?”. “Shhh!” I said.
My mind was in turmoil: they had cut my scene. We went out the back way and went home on the bus!
I’ve never really forgiven the production company for not telling us in advance.
I think that was the beginning of my demise as a good actor. Shortly after that some hormonal change came over me and I became more self-conscious. The transition from Child actor to Juvenile has defeated many a career, and though I felt duty bound to continue something for which I had sacrificed my top class education, acting would never be the same again.
“…I landed a part, with a dramatic scene, in Room at the Top, playing opposite Laurence Harvey. He was a bit scary and we had to retake the scene two or three times. It went well eventually and he stumped off the set giving me a “Well done, Andrew””.

Selected Acting Performances (1950-1964)

Title Year Show Date / Episode (TV) Role
A Tale of Five Cities 1950 Film Released 1 Mar 1951 Jimmy
Round at the Redways 1955 TV S1/Ep.4, 19 Oct 1955 Nokie
Round at the Redways 1955 TV S1/Ep.9, 23 Nov 1955 Nokie
Round at the Redways 1956 TV 08-Feb-56 Nokie
The Magpies 1957 TV 07-Feb-57 Morgan
Armchair Theatre 1957 TV Escape to Happiness 09/06/1957 Eric Brandt
A Voice in Vision 1957 TV 18-Dec-57 John Logie Baird
Run to Earth 1958 TV “Strange Neighbours” 11/02/1958 Archie Almond
Run to Earth 1958 TV “Aunt Alexa” 18/02/1958 Archie Almond
Run to Earth 1958 TV “Captain Gaunt’s Secret” 25/02/1958 Archie Almond
Run to Earth 1958 TV “Discovery At Dunoon” Archie Almond
Run to Earth 1958 TV “Ninian McHarg” 11/03/1958 Archie Almond
French Without Tears 1958 TV S1/Ep.12, 7 Jun 1958 Lord Heybrook
Brouhaha 1958 Stage 27 Aug 1958–28 Feb 1959 Pygmy
Room at the Top 1959 Film Released 22 Jan 1959 (UK) Raymond (office boy)
Judgement in Sunlight 1959 Stage 11-Jan-59 (Extra)
Ask for King Billy 1959 TV S1/Ep.4, 24 Nov 1959 Lanky Graham
A Holiday Abroad 1960 TV S5/Ep.23, 12 Feb 1960 (Schoolboy)
Sheep’s Clothing 1960 TV S1/Ep.2, 25 Sep 1960 Dan
Sheep’s Clothing 1960 TV S1/Ep.3, 2 Oct 1960 Dan
Sheep’s Clothing 1960 TV S1/Ep.4, 9 Oct 1960 Dan
The Zoo Story 1963 Stage Jerry
Moytura 1963 Stage 24 Sep–6 Oct 1963 Tethra Irish god of war
Down at Flannery’s 1963 TV Autumn 1963  ?
Tolka Row 1964 TV S1/Ep.3, 17 Jan 1964 Jim “Beardie” Toomey
Tolka Row 1964 TV S1/Ep.15, 10 Apr 1964 Jim “Beardie” Toomey
Tolka Row 1964 TV S1/Ep.16, 17 Apr 1964 Jim “Beardie” Toomey
Tolka Row 1964 TV S1/Ep.20, 15 May 1964 Jim “Beardie” Toomey
Tolka Row 1964 TV S1/Ep.22, 29 May 1964 Jim “Beardie” Toomey
Sir Buccaneer 1964 Stage 28-Sep-64 Sir Peregrine


Andrew Irvine, “Filmography” at BFI Film Forever
Andrew Irvine, “Filmography” at IMDb
Andy Irvine, “Selected early acting performances” at Wiki

Feb 20. Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC. with The Bill Jackson Trio


Andy Irvine is a true legend of the Irish music scene, and he returns to Brunswick with his new CD, PARACHILNA, for a show at The Spotted Mallard on February 20, 2014. Andy will be supported by the wonderful Bill Jackson Trio – Bill Jackson, Pete Fidler and Ruth Hazleton – in another star-studded night at the best live-music venue in town.

“Andy is one of the most creative and talented people it has ever been my privilege to work with. Great company, superb singer, genius of a musician, truly original songwriter and an inspiration to all of us – what more could anyone ask?” – Dick Gaughan

Andy Irvine is a true legend of the Irish music scene; when barely twenty one and already an ardent follower of Woody Guthrie, Andy arrived in Dublin from London in the early sixties to immerse himself in a whole new world of folk and traditional music Dublin style. By the end of the decade he had made an album with his first serious band Sweeney’s Men, travelled in Bulgaria and Romania and on returning to Dublin with three other like-minded young musicians formed the legendary band Planxty. The band’s first album was released in 1972 and is widely acknowledged one of the most important albums ever released in the genre. Planxty went on to record another six brilliant albums, the individual members on to form numerous other well-known bands, and in Andy’s case Mosaic, Patrick Street and Mozaik. Throughout his career, he has worked with many of the great names in Irish and European music, working solo and over the years with his long time friend and brilliant multi instrumentalist from Holland Rens van der Zalm. Like his hero Woody Guthrie, Andy never tires of the road, a singer of exceptional skills, brilliant instrumentalist, composer, arranger and true believer, he’s just released his latest album, PARACHILNA recorded his musical companion Rens van der Zalm.

Parachilna is the name of a tiny town between the desert and the Flinders Range mountains in South Australia where Andy recorded much of the new CD during a wonderful journey in the Australian Outback in 2012 with his musical companion Rens van der Zalm. As a frequent visitor to Australia over the last 30 years, Andy has always been very interested in Australian folk music and has wanted to make an Australian album. This is nearly it: the songs are a mixture of Irish and Australian.

Bill Jackson is one of Australia’s finest songwriters within the country folk genre. Think Dylan, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt all wrapped up in his most recent release – the critically acclaimed ‘Jerilderie’. His previous full-length release ‘Steel & Bone’ was awarded Folk Alliance Australia ‘Radio Presenters Album of the Year’ in 2008 and he was invited to tour the US alternative country hotspots later that same year with Peter Fidler & Ruth Hazleton.

Most of his songs are co-written with his brother Ross and have been described as engaging, plainspoken and articulate – songs about Hank, Morphine, High Country Lovers and our shared common experiences. His music hints at country folk fringe roots with sparse arrangements, darkly-drawn images and lyrics that cast deep impressions.

BILL JACKSON: guitar, vocals | PETE FIDLER: dobro, lap steel, mandolin, guitar | RUTH HAZLETON: banjo, guitar, vocals

“You could be sitting in your Camry, stuck on the Western Ring Road, but pop Bill Jackson’s latest into the CD player and you could be cruising the open road with nothing but time and nowhere particular to be.” – Jeff Glorfel, Melbourne Age

“Bill Jackson is not your typical Aussie folkie. He could be from Austin or Charlottesville or Nashville. He writes songs which transcend place and time and while folk in basis, step beyond.” – Frank Gutch Jnr
(Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange)



Andy Irvine Lyrics Archive Launched!

The goal is to collect the lyrics Andy has sung both as a solo artist & with the various groups he’s performed with over the years into one central location. We have made a good start but we need your help.

 Andy Irvine Lyrics Archive

If anyone has any lyrics we’re missing & would like to submit them it would be a big help!

To the best of my knowledge Andy’s contributions to Sweeney’s Men, Planxty & Mozaik are complete. Solo works, Collaborations & Patrick Street sections need some love, but they are filling out nicely.

(corrections to incorrect lyrics are also welcome!)

Irish Examiner Interview

Andy Irvine’s soundtrack to a road trip

Andy Irvine recorded his new album while camping in the Outback, says Gerry Quinn.

FOLK musician, Andy Irvine, has called his latest album Parachilna, after a country town in south Australia. It is a collaboration with Rens Van Der Zalm, of the band, Mozaik, and was recorded during a road-trip through the Outback in the bitter winter of July 2012. 

The ten tracks were recorded in historic woolsheds, shearers’ quarters and abandoned schoolhouses. 

Irvine, the founding member of seminal folk bands such as Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street and Mozaik, is touring Australia and New Zealand until March. He says of the record’s genesis. “We made a decision, Rens and myself, to travel to the Outback and make the album. And it is what it is,” he says. “I’ve been playing with Rens for about 30 years or so, and we had a repertoire and we learned a few more songs. The album is half-and-half (Irish and Australian songs) and we recorded 15 or 16 tracks. So we still have four or five out there, so maybe we’ll make another album next year. But the actual journey was more important that the recording.” 

Despite a career spanning 50 years, Irvine is not slowing down. He loves the road and the travelling. “I’ve been coming to Australia for about 30 years and I really love it, because of its size. I have this mad thing about driving long distances. I should have been a long-distance driver really,” he says. “I enjoy the travel, the journey, the change of scenery — just the whole thing of travelling is so important to me. I’m lucky I can do it. I bought a Land Cruiser some years ago, in Perth, and I drove it back to Melbourne. It took me a week and I just loved it.” 

While recording Parachilna in the wilderness, Irvine and Van Der Zalm camped, and kept warm by building fires out of old railway sleepers. 

Luxury was not an option on this trip and Irvine reveals some of the hardships. “The days were rarely warm and the nights were bitterly cold. ‘Dressing for bed’ involved putting on a thermal vest, thermal leggings, thick socks, being fully dressed with a woollen coat, woolly hat and warm gloves,” he says. 

Even so, Irvine is preparing to explore Australia’s vastness once more, in the near future. 

“We’re planning another trip later this year,” he says excitedly, in the manner of a schoolboy about to embark on a lifetime adventure. “I was just sitting here with a couple of friends, wondering where we will go. It’s such a big country that it takes you a week to get to the place you want to be and another week to get back.” 

As part of this antipodean tour, which began in December and continues until mid-March, Irvine has played to audiences big and small. 

“I’ve just done a festival in Illawarra, which is about 80km south of Sydney. It was great,” he says. 

“It’s such a lovely festival. I have a following and they come to my gigs and that’s good enough for me. If I had a few more thousand people, I’d be a bit richer,” he laughs, “but I love the people who love me.” 

When the musical troubadour returns in the spring, he has a full schedule of gigs in Ireland, the UK and the US, before returning to Australia once more. 

Andy Irvine’s new CD, Parachilna, is out now and he plays a series of solo Irish gigs in March to promote it. Further information:

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