Mudcat Café message #1477069 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80805   Message #1477069
Posted By: Mick O'Farrell
03-May-05 - 11:30 AM
Thread Name: Grehan Sisters Recordings
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
Thanks to everyone who replied to my original message. Firstly some background info - there were, and indeed still are three Grehan Sisters, in order of age Marie, Fracie and Helen (the record sleeves refer to Helen as Bernie, for reasons unknown!) Their parents owned a pub in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, called Grehan's bar which is where the girls started their folk career, entertaining the customers.(The pub still exists, but is now called 'The Moving Stairs' having been sold by the family in the late 1990's). Francie played the mandolin and ukelele banjo (she won the All Ireland Fleadth award on a number of occasions). Helen played the guitar and spoons and Marie played the spoons and was the main vocalist of the group, although all three sisters sang. For about two years in the mis 60's they lived/played around Dublin, often at O'Donaghue's. Early in 1967 they moved to Manchester and became well known on the English folk scene. I believe they finally split up in the early 1970's, with Marie settling in Manchester, Francie in Dublin and Helen returning to Boyle.

The following is what I believe to be a complete list of their studio recordings. Most of this information comes from Helen Grehan her goodself, so it's a pretty authoritive.

1964:- Two tracks on an LP called Flea Ceoil (Gael-Linn)

-THE NIGHTINGALE (with Fergal Cahill) -THE HIGH REEL (the sisters play spoons only (prob. Helen),on this Fergal Cahill track, but do not sing) (My thanks to Bill Kennedy for providing this info, as I knew the album existed but I did not know the details).

1966:- A single on the Rex (Decca) label - details unknown.

1966:- An four track EP on the Rex (Decca) label.

-THE HALF DOOR -THE GOOD MAN(AS I CAME HOME) -OULD BALLYMOE -MEDLEY - THE OLD BUSH/THE CONGRESS (Track 2 is a variation of 'Seven Drunken Nights')

1967:- An LP on the Transatlantic label, which had the following tracks. -VICTORIA -ON THE GALTYMORE MOUNTAINS -JIGS : GALLAGHER'S FROLICS/LEITRIM JIG -THE LAKES OF COOLFIN -THE FAIRY BOY -THE BLACK VELVET BAND -LONELY BANNA STRAND -MY UNCLE'S IN THE DAIL -TOMMY MCDONAGH -THE DONEGAL REEL -THE WEXFORD MASSACRE

1968:- Two tracks listed as 'unreleased' appeared on the Transatlantic compilation -'Here's To The Irish', they have since been include on numerous compilations.

-HENRY JOY -THE ORANGE & THE GREEN

1967-1968:- Two singles were released on the Transatlantic label - TRASP-14 and TRASP-20.

-SAVE THE OLD HOME/VICTORIA -Details of the second single unknown.

1969:- At least one song, (perhaps more ?) appeared on Transatlantic TRA-SAM-11 (Does SAM stand for sampler ?)

-CRICKLEWOOD

That's the compete list as far as I'm aware. They also were filmed performing one song for the Irish Folk film 'O'Donoghue's Opera' in 1965.

-OFF TO DUBLIN IN THE GREEN

As the sisters performed live, so many times, I can only imagine that a few live recordings/bootlegs do exist, gathering dust in somebodies loft, but I do not personally know of any. My knowledge of their subsequent (solo) careers is a bit more patchy, I know that Helen contributed tracks to an Lp called 'Sligo Ceili'. In the early 80's and 90's she recorded for national and local radio and a programme for RTE tv in Ireland that went out over three nights. Francie performs with two Dublin based groups, one a spiritual group which have released a number of tapes and also a folk group, which have also released a tape unfortunately I don't know the name of either group or any of their releases. I do not know if Marie still performs, although I know the three of them still occasionally perform an impromtu session at the 'Moving Stairs' pub, when they are all in Boyle for a family gathering.

So there we have it, what a pity all these songs haven't been gathered together - a Grehan Sister's box set, now there's a thought!

If anyone has any Grehan Sister's rarities, live recordigs, solo stuff etc. I'd love to hear from them, especially if anyone knows where I can get a copy of O'Donoghue's Opera. Also if anyone knows the name of Francie Grehan's two Dublin based groups and where I can get copies of there recordings, please let me know.

Bill I would definately love a copy of the Flea Ceoil LP, I can burn you a copy of the few rarities I do have in exchange. If you sign up to Mudcat you can drop me a personal message and we can exchange details.

Also Snuffy, if you're out there and can add to or correct my discography would love to hear from you.

Cheers Mick