The year was 1966. While the Beatles were wasting their time making Revolver, my grandfather, Joe Moore, was hiking his family all over ireland, playing gigs in any concert hall or pub they could find. They opened for the Dubliners in the Ulster Hall, a venue where just a couple of years later, Led Zeppelin would take to the same stage and make history by performing “stairway to heaven” live for the very first time. Joe’s band were far from led zeppelin. It was a traditional Irish folk band made up of him and his children, each of whom he taught to play music before they could crawl. Tommy was the time keeper on rhythm, Bobby was the guitar man. Cathal and Michael played fiddle and mandolin while Liam, kieran, Eugene, Breidge, and my mother Liz, played tin whistle and sang. Joe himself played Accordion and whatever else was within arms reach. Uncle Ray wasn’t able to tour with them as he had his own career, recording and playing all over the country on the showband scene with the famous Plattermen.
I recall hundreds of cassette tapes from my childhood. Various home recordings from the Moore household. Joe’s tape recorder was always close at hand. On a recent trip to mountfield to visit my friend coylo, his mother ran upstairs and came back down with a banjo. She handed it to me and said I should have it. She explained that forty years prior, when granda joe was on his runs as a postman, he would often bring along a musical instrument or two and play for his customers while dropping off letters. On one such occasion he left his banjo behind and it had been in her possession ever since. Now she was finally returning it, to me. I use it regularly on my own home recordings. Also on cassette.