Tír Na NÓg was a mellow hippy folk duo formed in Dublin by Sonny Condell and Leo O'Kelly in late 1969 or early 1970. They took their name from an island in pre-christian Irish mythology where people remained forever young. "Tír na nÓg" literally translates as "Land of the Young".
They met in the highly active folk club scene in Dublin in 1969. Sonny Condell, from Wicklow, had previously been in folky duo Tramcarr 88 who scored a minor Irish hit in 1968. In 1964, at the age of 14, Leo O'Kelly from Carlow began playing in a local showband called The Tropical Showband, before graduating in 1967 to psychedelic band The Word. In 1969 he began playing the folk clubs in Dublin and replaced Donal Lunny in the Emmet Spiceland with whom he toured in Britain, Europe and North America.
Although influenced by traditional music, the duo played modern acoustic folk music, becoming more rock-oriented over time. Both Condell and O'Kelly were strong songwriters and their songs (written separately) complemented each other well. While not obviously as touched by otherness as more adventurous Dublin contemporaries Dr. Strangely Strange, the songs are offbeat and unusual, always melodic but with playful deviations and an element of whimsy. They developed a unique, immediately recognisible approach in their early days, with judicious use of exotic instruments supplementing the basic two acoustic guitar format.
They travelled to London to try to secure a record deal and succeeded within 2 weeks, signing with Chrysalis Records, even though they'd already been turned down by parent label Island!
On their third album Strong in the Sun (1973), the band took even bigger steps towards the mainstream. Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum produced, giving the duo a fuller, cleaner sound.
It opens with a cover of Nick Drake's "Free Ride", surely one of the earliest Nick Drake covers and a bold step for 1973. Even so this is the most conventional of their three albums and apart from some beautiful songs it is sometimes their most mundane. In any event it did not bring the hoped for commerical breakthrough and Chrysalis lost interest in the band.
by Irish Rock
1. Free Ride (Nick Drake) - 3:08
2. Whitestone Bridge (Condell) - 4:14
3. Teesside (Condell) - 3:55
4. Cinema (O'Kelly) - 4:41
5. Strong In The Sun (O'Kelly) - 3:40
6. The Wind Was High (O'Kelly) - 3:22
7. In The Morning (Condell) - 3:23
8. Love Lost (O'Kelly) - 3:19
9. Most magical (Condell) - 3:47
10.Fall Of Day (Condell) - 2:36
*Brian Odgers - Bass
*Dave Markee - Bass
*Jim Ryan - Bass
*Larry Steele - Bass
*Ace Follington - Drums
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Jeff Jones - Drums
*Matthew Fisher - Keyboards
*Leo O'Kelly - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar [Lead], Dulcimer, Violin
*Sonny Condell - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums [Pottery], Jew's Harp, Clavinet, Percussion
[ Thank you MIF for sending this post]