More (Mostly) Folk Music

Gemma Hasson   •   Introducing Ireland's Gemma Hasson

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  • Introducing Ireland's Gemma Hasson
    • 1974 - Dolphin DOLM 5009 LP (IRL)
  • Side One
    1. Fincairn Flax (Gemma Hasson)
    2. Geordie (Trad. Arr. G. Hasson)
    3. Wildwood Flower (Trad. Arr. G. Hasson)
    4. The Last Thing on My Mind (T. Paxton)
    5. The Winding River Roe (Cop. Con.)
    6. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Cop. Con.)
  • Side Two
    1. Slieve Gallion Braes (Trad. Arr. G. Hasson)
    2. Mary Dear (Gene Autry)
    3. The Half-Door (Cop. Con.)
    4. Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You (Smith)
    5. The Butcher Boy (Trad. Arr. G. Hasson)
    6. Frankie and Johnny (Trad. Arr. G. Hasson)

  • Musicians
    • Damian Fannan: Bass Gutiar
    • Patrick Finney: Acoustic Guitar, Whistle, Recorder
    • John Keogh : Piano
    • Dónal Lunny: Bouzouki
  • Credits
    • Sleeve Design: Diana O'Donnell
    • Photography: Michael Collins
    • Produced by Michael O'Donnell at Eamonn Andrews Studios, Dublin, 1974

Sleeve Notes

Fincairn Flax — The linen industry of Northern Ireland is justly famous throughout the world, but the gleaming white tablecloths and finely worked 'hankies' reveal little of the drudgery that went into their making. Flax or lint — the raw material of linen — had to be steeped in water for a time, and anyone who has ever walked near a flax dam will recall the powerful stench. Those who worked in them will recall that stench even more vividly. Fincairn was only one of the many mills dotted around the North of Ireland, and this is a light-hearted but sympathetic account of the life of those who worked there.

Geordie — A haunting melody and a tragic story. This type of ballad calls for delicate handling and nowhere does Gemma show her talent more clearly.

Wildwood Flower — Expert guitar-picking from Gemma on this well known American ballad.

The Last Thing on My Mind — No folk song is better known — which makes a good performance all the more difficult I but who will deny that it takes a completely new dimension with this interpretation.

The Winding River Roe — This is one of the many ballads that Gemma picked up from her parents. The Roe flows through the town of Dungiven in Co. Derry, an area that has always had a strong musical tradition and where even today you will find a great love and appreciation for the old songs and ballads.

Will the Circle be Unbroken — Death is not the ultimate tragedy — at least not in a country where you can find a jazz band at a funeral. The 'better home awaiting in the sky' does away with all the gloom, and lets the full energy and vigour of this song break loose.

Slieve Galllon Braes — A mountain on the borders of Tyrone and Derry, it was an enduring symbol of home for many people. There were good times and bad times, but the hills and fields became such an intimate part of daily life that to leave was an error and to have to leave was a tragedy.

Mary Dear — Sentimental ? perhaps, but then who doesn't love a bit of sentiment?

The Half-Door — In the days of 78 rpm. records The McNulty family had their own version of this lively song — "Vocal with Tap-Dance" according to the label. Gemma omits the tap-dance but the song has lost none of its verve.

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You — At times almost a threat, but underneath a passionate lament. A gripping solo interpretation of this enduring American song.

Butcher Boy — One of the best known Irish ballads — but a new talent breathes life into its ageing bones. Gemma adds her own second guitar to this song.

Frankie and Johnny — Fast or slow, lively or sad, this long standing blues favourite can be sung in any way you choose. This is a fast and lively version.

GEMMA HASSON is from Park, in Co. Derry.
SHE is young, pretty and very talented.
HER life is her music …

Her musical career began three years ago with a successful appearance on the RTE programme "THE YOUNG ENTERTAINERS." This, she followed up by winning many talent competitions in the coming months. In 1972, she was outright winner of the TRADITIONAL SECTION of the Bellaghy folk festival, at which Tony McAuley, the BBC producer, was adjudicating. Her talent was recognised at once and since then she has frequently been seen and heard on BBC television and radio. Earlier this year, she featured with Planxty in "THEY MAKE MUSIC" on BBC TV, and she has also appeared in GALLERY and POWER TO MOVE. These, together with her appearance in UTV's VIEWFINDER and her own half hour programme, heard recently in the LIAM NOLAN HOUR on RTE radio, have helped to increase her already wide popularity — gained through her concert performances throughout Ireland.

Warm and enthusiastic receptions have greeted her appearances with the Chieftains and Planxty in Belfast and Dublin during the past two years. Recently, her tour with Paddy Reilly, the Dublin folk singer, took her to the Free Hall Trade, in Manchester and the Rainbow Theatre in London, with Irish performances in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

So, after three years of hard work, comes her first album. A pleasant selection, showing her versatility as a singer and guitarist. Some of the songs are well known, but the arrangements, all her own, are new.

A talented singer …
Twelve great songs …
— A perfect combination!


It's only in recent months that I've got to know Gemma Hasson. Her name was being 'tossed' around enthusiastically in conversation, so much so that I immediately got in touch and arranged a recording for my traditional music spot on R.T.É's radio programme "Here and Now" The response was amazing and clearly demonstrated that I wasn't the only one to think that Gemma was an excellent artist. This record answers all the enquiries I've had since then and should also please anyone who, though to whom the name Gemma Hasson may mean nothing, likes a good song tunefully sung … and there's still a few of us left.

Michael O'Donnell
R.T.É. Producer