On meeting Paddy McGuigan, outside the distracting ballad scene which first brought him to our notice, one gets the impression of intensity and sensitivity totally subdued and ignored by the scene the original Barleycorn hit, and overcame, with Paddy's original song success "The Men behind the Wire".
Paddy is no longer a member of this successful group, but his parting has been in continuing friendship, a friendship which might well be stronger now than at any time in their active past. Paddy's leaving was prompted by his desire to write songs, to chart the course of Irish life, in song and in poetry, and to do some little good for the suffering children in his native Belfast.
The first solo LP from Paddy, through the good will of Dolphin Records, has offered him a platform from which to preach the many gospels which offend or please the sensitivities of the Belfast balladeer.
The pressures on a successful entertainment group or solo artiste, at this time, can quickly destroy all motivation and spirit of a creative person and this distruction can be readily seen on the pop scene throughout the world which is littered with the broken bodies and minds of talented people. Few creative or sensitive people can survive the scene intact and they so often destroy themselves or others. For Paddy to leave the financially secure group was a difficult decision but he made the break and this LP is the first to be released which contains his own songs or those re-written or arranged by him.
The LP title — My Country, My Songs and Me — does give a guide line to the priorities which motivates Paddy McGuigan. He could well have capitalised on the world wide success of the "Men" by using it as the record title but he has hidden the song away on side one track four. Some of the titles will be well known from the recordings of the Barleycorn and other groups or solo artistes, others will be known to the ballad followers who heard Paddy and other Barleycorn members perform in ballad sessions throughout the country while some others are new to all of us. The titles listed, as composed by Paddy, are: Boys of the Old Brigade; The Irish Soldier Laddie; Freedom Walk; Green Green Valleys; I was only Dreaming; Behind the Barricades; The Songs of Ireland; Bring them Home; and It Happens Every Day.
His regard for other material is to be seen in the inclusion of the Payne Canada original "Sing Irishmen Sing" which he has re-written and the traditional "Glen of Aherloe" which he has arranged and adapted
This is just the first column from Paddy McGuigan. Paddy is still a young man of poetic potential, though the "terrible beauty" of the past six years have left their scars on his impressionable mind. Persevering in his present line, and continuing in poetry, song and record, to document our history, his thoughts and impressions and comments, we must with interest, look forward to the developing talents and productions of…Paddy McGuigan.
Have a taste now of this first compilation and keep an ear to the words and the pointed interpretation which Paddy brings to the songs.