Belfast Telegraph

Released after 30 years... the lost masterpiece from Good Vibrations

By Maureen Coleman

An underground album recorded in Northern Ireland for Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations label has finally been released this week — after 30 years in musical wilderness.



The Mighty Shamrocks' country and roots-tinged album was recorded at Mudd Wallace's Homestead studio in Randalstown in the early 1980s but just ahead of its release, Hooley's legendary label went bankrupt and the Portrush band split up.

Over the years, bootleg copies of the Shamrocks' album have circulated on the Irish music scene and many musicians, including Bap Kennedy, became fans.

In the 90s, Mudd Wallace transferred the analog master of the Shamrocks' album to digital and then the master was lost for many years.

But earlier this year a Portrush woman named Fran McCloskey gave Hooley a copy of the Shamrocks original and the “lost masterpiece” was finally released on Good Vibrations this week.

Terri said: “When I first heard The Mighty Shamrocks they were like nothing I'd come across before or released on Good Vibrations.

“Their alt-country sound predated American bands like Uncle Tupelo and Wilco and what made their sound different from other bands on the scene was perhaps geographical. While the punk bands of Belfast and Londonderry sang about the troubled urban environments, Shamrocks' songs like Coronation Street and When I Go channelled the pastoral peace and country style of the Antrim coast.

“Sadly, the master of the album was lost for many years so I was delighted when Fran McCloskey handed me a copy. Its release will assure the Mighty Shamrocks a pre-eminent place among the underground legends of Irish music.”

The album, entitled Paddy after the band's late drummer Paddy MacNicholl, was released this week on Good Vibrations. This month, the band will reunite with Paddy's son Sam MacNicholl on drums, to play some gigs in support of their album release.

The Shamrocks play The Portrush Playhouse today and the Belfast Barge tomorrow

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