Listen again here
Many thanks to Ralph McLean for featuring Bap’s Howl On album in his recent show. The show opens with Bap’s Revelation Blues, and the Howl On feature is mostly in the last half hour - Great show throughout of course!
Listen again here
Check out this super radio show broadcast from The International Americana Music Show, focusing on the very topical subject of the moon! Featuring Bap Kennedy plus Van Morrison (Official) , Billy Bragg & more.
Click here for the streaming edition:
Thank you to Kerry McLean who has chosen Bap Kennedy as her Artist Of The Week on BBC Radio Ulster.
No better week to remember HOWL ON - Bap's concept album based on the Apollo Missions & 1969 moon landings.
This time 10 years ago Bap performed at Glastonbury - What a fantastic, memorable summer! Bap was promoting his album “Howl On” and it was my first time on stage with him at a major festival - Such happy memories.
And I’ve great memories of our time recording Howl On as well - We were actually on honeymoon at the time, believe it or not, staying at a hotel nearby and going in to Pete's studio each day to work on the songs. It's what we loved to do!
And here is Bap's country rock version of Hey Joe, which was always a favourite in his live set. I think this ties it all together perfectly!
And if you’re wondering about the connection between Glastonbury, Woodstock, Men on the Moon and "Howl On" why not read about the cosmic coincidences in Bap’s own words?
If you’re wondering what the connection is, here's the explanation as explained in some of Bap's Album Notes that came to light recently:
Howl On - Bap's Album Notes
I was a seven year old Belfast cowboy trying to stay awake in the early hours of July 20 1969 for the first footsteps on the moon. When I woke up they were on their way home. One month later it was already old news as Jimi Hendrix brought Woodstock to a close with Hey Joe - and the freaky decade so full of promise staggered into a troubled 1970 with a massive hangover. Nearly forty years later I began to write some songs that grew into the lunar voyages / 1969 inspired album that has come to be known as ‘Howl On’. And all because of a book called Moon Dust, that I devoured by the light of a log fire DVD at the start of a strange lonesome year in London. The Apollo missions and the 60’s were suddenly fresh, wonderful, insane and large as life to me, a man now in his forties - slightly older than the crew of Apollo 11 when they landed on the Sea of Tranquility.
What had become of these men and what had they experienced? How could such a momentous event be reduced to an MTV logo? I was lonely and crazy for love and becoming obsessed by the whole saga. I watched every documentary I could find on the subject and inevitably there was Jimi somewhere in the soundtrack to signify the far out counter culture backdrop of the space race and the Cold War. And so it was that I immersed myself in the lives of the chosen few who went up there and didn’t care if they never came back.
I was in love with America as a child and when I finally got to New York in 1989 as a professional musician I wasn’t disappointed. I’d forgotten all about cowboy suits and spacemen by then, enthralled by the 24 hour bars beside Port Authority. Gradually America wore me down and I fell out of love with the best and worst of everything. But now maybe things are changing. As a new spirit began to filter over in early 2009 I recorded my own take on Hey Joe during the ‘Howl On’ sessions. Furthermore in a cosmic coincidence I managed to get the legendary Henry McCullough, the only Irishman who actually performed at Woodstock, to play guitar on my version of the Hendrix classic. And so now I’m starting to feel that good times are ahead and inspiration is flowing again, not just in me but in the world. The feeling that anything is possible if we just put our minds to it. We went to the moon didn’t we? All of us.
Bap Kennedy 2009
I've also come across some notes that Bap wrote at the time about each of the individual songs. In a document which he called "Howl On - the inspiration" he wrote a few lines about each of the songs. So for the next while the Featured Songs I'll be posting will be from Howl On, and I'll include what Bap himself had to say about each song.
Thanks for listening to and sharing the Featured Songs that I’ve posted recently.
Here’s a link to the songs I’ve posted since the last newsletter (7 May) - I've been trying to include a bit of info with each post, so I hope that will give some background or context to the songs.
Bap's birthday is on 17 June, so please keep listening to & sharing Bap's music - especially this week!
Once again, thanks for remembering and appreciating Bap’s music.
Bap often performed The Right Stuff at gigs, and audiences loved it! He generally left it till near the end of the night, which always felt right in view of the lyrics, especially in the chorus.
An unusual thing about The Right Stuff is that it appears on two of Bap’s albums (Howl On and The Sailor’s Revenge). Originally it was recorded for Howl On, but it was later re-recorded for The Sailor’s Revenge on the request of Mark Knopfler, who produced & played on it.
I have countless happy memories of performing The Right Stuff with Bap. The groove was cool for bass playing, and it lent itself well to vocal harmony, so it was one of my gig favourites. And I’ve great memories of both recording sessions as well, but my fondest memories are of the original recording, which took place at the studio of the great Irish guitarist Peter O’ Hanlon.
Feel free to listen and enjoy but if you like you can download the mp3 here for £1 which will be donated to Marie Curie.
Check out Q Radio all day today and tomorrow. Q Radiothon is raising funds for 4 great charities including Marie Curie. I will be talking about Bap & our experience at Marie Curie at different times during the Radiothon.
Celtic Sea is the final track from The Sailor’s Revenge (2013), which was produced by Mark Knopfler, and I have very fond memories of being with Bap in Mark’s British Grove Studio in London while it was being recorded.
It was fascinating to watch the two of them working so closely together, both so intensely absorbed and enjoying doing the thing they loved most. Celtic Sea was Mark’s favourite song from the album, and you can hear his distinctive guitar and backing vocals on it.
Upon its release, The Sailor’s Revenge received widespread critical acclaim internationally. No Depression described it as "truly a masterpiece from a man who is finally comfortable in his place in the world - The Celtic Blood On The Tracks”
Quite an accolade!
Feel free to listen and enjoy, but if you like you can download the mp3 here for £1 which will be donated to Marie Curie.