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Brian Byrne

From: Sheffield, UK

Active: 60s/70s

Style: Folk / Folkrock


Brian Byrne played in a folk duo with his brother Michael called The Spicelanders in the late 60s. This duo from Sheffield then teamed up with Donal Lunny and Brian Bolger, late of the Emmet Folk, to form the Emmet Spiceland in 1968. Hugely successful in Ireland, the Emmet Spiceland had run it's course by 1970, though a short-lived reformed line-up with Honor Heffernan and Brian Byrne emerged in 1973.

Brian's solo debut was a single on Pye in 1970 which I have not heard. In 1971 he performed "An Sean Seanchai" (The Old Storyteller) in the National Song Contest, finishing fourth. This was not released on vinyl. His solo LP was recorded in November 1972 and released the following year. It's a pleasant if minor effort, not too far removed from the Spiceland. It's marred by production problems and some of the material is over familiar. Even so there are excellent versions of 'Carnloch Bay' and 'Lakes of Coolfin'. It features Donal Lunny on most instruments including moog (used most obviously on 'Handsome Sally') and Jolyon Jackson of Supply Demand & Curve on cello and organ.

The LP was issued on Hawk Records in 1973, but some labels carry a (p) 1976 date. These may be later pressings, or it may simply be a typo. As far as I am aware, there was no delay with the actual release which went ahead in 1973 as planned. 1973 was the year of the brief Emmet Spiceland reunion in which Brian was involved.

Brian appeared in the stage musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in the UK and Ireland. He is featured on the Irish recording of songs from the latter (as "The Prisoner"), released on Ram Records in 1974. This appears to have been the end of his recording career.


• Bantry Bay / When Sunny Gets Blue
7" - Pye Records - 7n45023 - 1970

Emmet Spiceland & Brian Byrne - Mary From Dungloe
7" - Outlet Records - OUT.047 - UK - 1973
Credit unclear, but this was released around the time of the reunion.

• This Town Is Not Their Own (Shay Healy) / Rauckey Breezes
7" - Hawk Records - HASP 323 - IRL 1973
produced by Donal Lunny

• s/t
LP - Hawk Records - HALP 105 - IRL - 1973
• Sweet Carnloch Bay
LP - Harp Records - HPE 652 - IRL - ca 1982 - also on cassette

Notes: Credits:
Donal Lunny - guitars, bouzouki, tin whistle, moog synthesizer, organ
John Curran - flute
Jolyon Jackson - cello, organ
Martin Walsh - bass
Brian Masterson - tambourine

Traditional Arrangements Donal Lunny and Brian Byrne. Recorded at Eamonn Andrews Studios, November 1972. Produced by Donal Lunny.
The Hawk edition is a poor quality pressing. The track listing on the cover does not match the vinyl. The 1982 budget reissue on Harp features a new title ('Sweet Carnloch Bay') and new cover artwork (up to Pickwick's usual standards) which misspells Brian's name as 'Bryan Byrne'. This is rectified on the label.

• various artists - Songs from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
LP - Ram Records - RMLP 1010 - IRL 1974
Recorded at Trend Studios Dublin in 1974
The cast includes Brian Byrne as The Prisoner

• various artists - 20 Stars Of Ireland Vol.2
LP - Hawk Records - HALP 118 - IRL - 1973
track: Bantry Bay

• various artists - Stars and Songs of Ireland
LP - Hawk Records - HALP139 - IRL 1975
Also includes an Emmet Spiceland (1973) track.

See also: Emmet Spiceland

Help!: We need your help to complete this entry. If you can tell us more about this band then please do! We welcome any corrections, missing details, connections to other bands, where are they now, etc. We also need photos, scans, copies of releases or live or demo recordings, and any other memorabilia gathering dust in the attic. If you can help, then please get in touch.

thanks to TP McLoughlin & The Failed Bohemian

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