The idea to put together this collection came as a result of being asked many times over the years… what are my own favourites out of all that I’ve done? I’ve always found it hard to answer. I’ve gone through so many musical shapes over my 45 year career that I’m never sure which incarnation the question relates to. Sometimes I feel compelled to name those songs or recordings that are the best known, imagining that if I mention one less familiar or from a different genre to where the questioner is coming from.. then there won’t be a lot more to say… or maybe too much to say.
Since I went solo in the late 70’s I’ve released 15 albums, 140 songs or so, most of them new compositions. In the late 90’s I put out a best-of-to-date, ‘Nobody Knows’ featuring 14 of the most popular recordings from the previous two decades. Undoubtedly a lot of those were favourites of mine too.
But like many artists I know, I don’t always feel the most popular songs or the most successful recordings are necessarily the best things I’ve done. Sometimes you write a song you think is really good but when it comes to recording it you just don’t get it quite the way you heard it inside. Sometimes too, you find yourself neglecting songs you absolutely loved when you wrote and recorded them… simply because they never really seemed to connect with the listener at the time… or maybe I just thought they didn’t. It’s complicated and a mystery to me.
In any case, with this record I decided to focus on songs and recordings of mine I’m personally fond of…mostly those that might not have got a lot of attention or been all that well known. Perhaps a b-side of a single or a different mix that was never released…or even a demo. With a couple of exceptions they’re songs that rarely featured on radio. Some recordings have been out of circulation for years. In a couple of cases I’ve remixed a well known song. The only area I’ve left alone is my most recent album ‘Hooba Dooba’ and those recordings already on the best-of ‘Nobody Knows’.
To anyone coming to my music for the first time this will seem an eclectic collection…and then some. I’ve grown up in the rich musical environment of Ireland from the 1950s to the present day…a unique and heady mixture. I feel very lucky to have formed my musical identity before the rigid categorisation introduced by marketing and the media in the 70s. The stylistic diversity of this record bears witness to that fertile ground.
Paul Brady, Dublin January 2012.
In memory of my parents, Seán and Mollie …who danced the Tango…
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