This album was conceived when I met Bill Leader for a pint in Mooney's in the Strand. We decided to make the album in Ireland and use some of the fine musicians that still worked and played there. The album materialised some six months later in the vaulted cellars of Rynne's stately Georgian house at Prosperous in my native Kildare countryside. We were lucky enough to find Clive Collins doing his busking in Grafton Street. Dave Bland had come across with Bill Leader to record Tim Lyons in Clare. Kevin Conneff turned up during the recording too. Andy Irvine, Liam Og O'Flynn and Dónal Lunny were all ready to go, so hardly pausing at Dowling's dartboard and drink boutique for more than an hour or so, we made our way to my sister Anne's splendid sandwiches in her splendid kitchen in her splendid house at prosperous, then down to the dungeons to make the album.
Raggle Taggle Gipsies: One of the first singers I ever encountered was the late John Reilly from Boyle. This was one of the many songs I heard him sing the time I met him. It was John to sing, a mighty session ensued. The song is followed by Liam Og, Donal and Andy tune proved a tricky point to negotiate but Donal was the one to do it.
The Dark Eyed Sailor: This is a song I learned from Andy Rynne of Prosperous, Co. Kildare. The story is yet another version of the broken token theme.
I Wish I Was In England: I got the idea for this song from an old book of Irish songs which had been poorly translated. I rewrote the song, put a new tune to it and this is the result.
Lock Hospital: There have been many British garrisons around the world down through the years and each one has had its own Lock Hospital for soldiers who caught the dreaded disease. I believe this is a Dublin song, but if not its musical origins are certainly Irish.
James Connolly: This is by far the best. I first heard it sung by Johnny Moynihan. Being unable to get his version I added bits and pieces myself and I hope I haven't offended anybody by having done so.
The Hackler From Grouse Hall: A song from Colm O'Loughlin. I can appreciate the sentiments of this song, having partaken of the poteen on many occasions. It was only on the last day of the recording that we found Kevin Conneff and his bodhràn, otherwise he would have been on many more tracks.
Tribute To Woody: This is the only Dylan song in my repertoire and I learned it from Tony Small, a very fine singer from Galway. There is very little that I can add to what has been said about Woody, except that for me he was the man. This song is for Owa, Josh, Tony, Andy, Ralph and all who loved him.
Ludlow Massacre: My favourite Woody song. Woody wrote this song in the hope that such things would cease, but it looks as if this sort of intolerance and brutality will be with us for some time.
Letter To Syracuse: This was written by Dave Cartwright and Bill Caddick from Wolverhampton who play a lot of their material at their club in Halsowen each week.
Spancill Hill: This song really invokes strongly a mood which some might say sentimental but I think that a people who had to uproot their lives and cross the seas to who knew what, can be allowed a little nostalgia.
The Cliffs Of Doneen: Another song from Andy Rynne and a song I've been waiting to sing with Liam Og for many years. Clare has long been my favourite county and I appreciate anyone having strong enough sentiments to write such a beautiful song.
Rambling Robin: I learned this song from Mike Harding of Manchester just before I made this album. Most large families have at least one Rambling Robin, and like the prodigal son he always returns, but in this case the fatted calf was not to be had. Andy's mandolin playing on this track is really beautiful.
According to Alistair Banfield: "The Christy Moore LP Prosperous had all the members of Planxty so could almost be considered a Planxty LP. It was recorded by the wonderful English recording engineer Bill Leader (who was also responsible for recording the Dubliners in their early years at Transatlantic). He released the LP first in England on the Trailer label (LER 3035) and it became the first LP issued by Tara Records in Dublin. There was clearly some confusion in the run up to the release because the first copies have the catalogue number 1001 on the LP and 1000 on the Sleeve (or vice versa?). Tara then reissued it again, having licensed it from Trailer with another catalogue number 2008. Thus it has had 3 different releases."