The first time I saw Pecker Dunne was in the basement at the Jug of Punch pub in Kilkenny. This awesome man looked like a cross between Zorba the Greek and Cochise.
He still looks the same. He sings much better now. Pecker is a tinker. He has travelled the length and breadth of Ireland for years, playing his banjo and singing his songs. Tinkers are a restless breed and Pecker is no exception.
Since that day in Kilkenny fourteen years ago, our paths have crossed many times. As no more than a tender youth, I produced Pecker in his first real stage show at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. On closing night, he upstaged my curtain speech and stole all the thunder. He looked so fearsome, I was afraid to complain.
Surprisingly, nobody bothered to put Pecker in a recording studio until now. The results are extremely pleasant. He has a warm voice, that has the character one would expect of a man who has spent his life travelling.
Some of the songs are Pecker's own compositions. We have tried to concentrate them on one side. His lyrics are as strong as the resentment he has met with in his days on the road. Tinkers have never been the most popular breed of men. These songs are evocative of the times and the places that have scarred and inspired Pecker.
The lighter side of Pecker comes out in the touching recitation "The Maximatosis Rabbit" and in some popular Irish ballads. We had good fun making this album. I swore three years ago that I would never write sleeve notes again. But I had another look at Pecker and this time I wasn't afraid to complain. I was happy to do it.
Shay Healy © 1976, Emerald Records Ltd.