Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Minnows back and hoping to make a splash

Cathal Hayden, one of the world's leading fiddle and banjo players, rehearses Free Man Freeman with Michael Rafferty of the Minnows

Some of Ulster's best known bands from the '80s and '90s have reunited and are relaunching their music careers.

While Snow Patrol and Ash have enjoyed huge commercial success, bands like St Vitus Dance and Tiberius Minnows were blazing a trail across Northern Ireland around 20 years ago.

The newly reformed Minnows - Michael Rafferty, Kevin Carson, Stephen O'Sullivan and Paul Maynes - are set to team up with leading fiddle player Cathal Hayden to release a new single Free Man Freeman next month.

And the single release will also mark the resurrection of the iconic Good Vibrations record label.

The single, described by lead singer Michael Rafferty as 'Neil Young Meets War of the Worlds' represents a long-awaited return for The Minnows, who were best known for their '90s pop anthem Time Flies and critically acclaimed Holyland album.

Good Vibrations supremo Terri Hooley, credited with launching the career of the Undertones, said he was looking forward to the release.

"The Minnows and Good Vibes have enjoyed a lot of success together in the past so it's really exciting to see the band and the label make a joint return.

"To be honest, I had no intention of starting the label again until I sat down with the lads and listened to the new songs they were working on. The new single Free Man Freeman, featuring Cathal Hayden, is like nothing I've heard before and it just blew me away."

Michael Rafferty said the band was thrilled to work alongside Tyrone musician Hayden.

"The Minnows were born out of Co Tyrone and two of us still hail from that part of the country so we've always been well aware of Cathal and his music.

"He was naturally our first choice when we decided we'd like some fiddle on a couple of our album tracks and we were over the moon when he agreed to play with us.

"We're also delighted to be reunited with Terri and Good Vibes. Terri is a legend in Irish music circles from the punk era and it's as big a thrill for us to be releasing our new material on Good Vibes as it was when we did our first single."

Another well-known local band from the 1980s, St Vitus Dance, will also release their new album Glypotheque with a live performance at the Black Box on Saturday, December 8.

The Belfast/Liverpool band got together in 1981 and stood out from other bands on the scene at the time with their own brand of sixties-tinged pop.

Another band enjoying success second time around is No Sweat, led by Clive Culbertson.

The band were surprised to discover that their singles were changing hands for up to £150 on eBay recently.

They even more shocked to hear that they have a huge fan base in Japan, where several of their songs have made the top 10.

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