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
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!
Q Radiothon is on all this weekend, raising funds for 4 great charities including Marie Curie. I will be talking to presenter Ryan A about Bap & our experience at Marie Curie.
This is taken from the interview.
From the album Let's Start Again
"Strange Kid" is a bit of a strange song, or so it seems to me!
I remember well the day Bap finished writing Strange Kid. He played it over to me on his acoustic guitar, and I loved it - it was really cool and quirky. But there was something strange about it too. I could tell from the lyrics that it was about his Asperger Syndrome, which seemed weird because at that time Bap's diagnosis was still being kept private. He used to say he wanted to talk about it publicly one day - but not till the time was right.
When I told him what I was thinking, he seemed pleased that I "got it" so quickly, which puzzled me even more. "But I thought you were keeping your Asperger secret for now?" I asked, and his answer was an interesting one.
"Don't worry. If it's that obvious, nobody will get it" he laughed.
And as it turned out, he was right!
I was delighted at the great response to last week’s Featured Song idea - Thanks for all your support & encouragement! So I'll post a different song every week via Facebook & Twitter.
And a few people said they'd appreciate a wee bit of information/background etc, which seems like a good idea, so I’ll try and do that as well.
Under My Wing is from Bap's 2014 album Let's Start Again.
Bap wrote this beautiful song for Christine & Kenneth, his step children. He was very protective about them both, and the close bond is clear from this song. Then later (in 2016) he dedicated Under My Wing to Christine’s newborn son, Ethan as well.
For me Under My Wing is a beautiful expression of a very protective kind of love, which we can all can relate to.
Last week I got one of those Facebook Memory notifications - you know the ones which remind you what was happening some years ago “On This Day”
I’ve often thought about turning this off, because memories can be painful sometimes, but I’ve never got around to it.
Usually I give “On This Day” a quick glance and just ignore it. But this one really jumped out at me - It was such a graphic flashback to where we were in 2016.
It was exactly 3 years ago today that life changed so suddenly for Bap & me. We were all rehearsed and packed and looking forward to this festival - but of course we never made it because Bap suddenly took ill.
But maybe Facebook did me a favour, because it's made me all the more determined to keep sharing Bap’s music. So from now on I’m going to post a different song from Bap’s brilliant catalogue every week.
My idea is to do this on Facebook and Twitter and possibly send a newsletter monthly as well. But if anyone has any other thoughts or feedback please let me know!
The song link has an Audio Player where you can freely listen & enjoy the music (and if you would share too that would be great!)
Also, for anyone who is interested, you can also download the song for £1 which will be donated to Marie Curie.
Thanks for appreciating Bap’s music and for all your support,
“LET’S START AGAIN” feels like a good thought for Easter time, so I’ve made this song by Bap available to download direct from Bap’s website, with every penny going to Marie Curie.
The cost to download is just £1 so if you would take a few moments to listen, download & share that would be brilliant!
Many thanks everybody
The total raised by Love Hurts for Marie Curie is now nearly £3400 - and rising daily!
Thanks everyone for all the fantastic support - including all the people in the media who've really got behind Love Hurts, and are still doing so much to help get the word out about the EP - and about Bap Kennedy & his music, including
BBC Radio Ulster
Northern Visions nvtv Belfast
103.2 Dublin City FM
Radio Nova 100
Eve Blair Auterson
Diversity Mark NI
Stephen Marian Bunton
Marie Curie - Northern Ireland
and many more xx