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Thanks Da for introducing me to Freddie White

August 18, 2010

MY da gave me the second greatest gift of them all: the first album I ever treasured: Freddie White Live On Tour (1978).
I still play parts of it at least once a week such is my deep affection for it.
I went to the primary school that da taught in 10 miles away and every day the car was filled with great music.
Pa H was never what you could have called a trendy – illustrated by the fact that the journey to school was always Mike Murphy’s breakfast show on RTE Radio 1.
But on the way home it was always his home made tapes of Beatles/ Stones/ Dubliners/ Van/ Chieftans/ Paul Brady/ The Johnsons/ Planxty/ Moving Hearts/ David McWilliams albums.
It really was a great, unspoken education into my own culture in the midst of the Troubles.
And while all those albums were fabulous, the one album that got me into music when I was about nine or ten was Freddie White’s live covers album.
It was the perfect gateway drug to the history of modern music – he did songs by Hoagy Carmichael, Tom Waits, Guy Clarke, Frank Zappa, Randy Newman and Joan Armatrading.
His guitar playing was beguiling, his voice gorgeous and soulful and his version of Guy Clarke’s ‘Desperados Waiting for a Train’ was so brilliant that it haunts me to this day – in a good way.
After 25 years, I still have the thread worn TDK C90 with it on one side with Paul Brady’s Hard Station on the other. (Don’t start me on what Brady’s song Nothing but the Same Old Story means to me, there’ll be tears before the looming bedtime. See Gobshites passim.)
Freddie never achieved big success and moved to Boston for years making money in the clubs of the eastern seaboard. He returned to Ireland a few years back.
He remains a kind of underground national treasure, but I hope some of you here get something from the clip below and if you do, raise a glass to Freddie and to my da too. I’ll always treasure the music the oul fella introduced me to.

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