Twenty Five years is a long time. When you think about it, it's a very long long time, a quarter of a century. They say a week is a long time in politics, but twenty five years in the fine craft of the Ballad Makers and Musicians is almost a lifetime. When a couple stay together for 25 years, they call it their Silver Anniversary and congratulations, good wishes, parties and celebrations are the order of the day. So, let us, one and all, from the streets of New York, to the Liberties of Dublin, from Dollymount Strand to the German "U" Banh, from the highways of Boston to the Scottish Highlands, from the English midlands and the London Irish Centre to the Valleys of Wales and back again to the Kerry mountains and the blue hills of Antrim and over the sea again to our friends in the French Republic all around the Bastille, let us say together in one voice, "CONGRATULATIONS, WELL DONE, LADS." and in the words of the Dublin chiselers of today "YOU ARE BRILL, YOU ARE COOL, YOU ARE FAB" and in the words of the Dubs of yesteryear, "MORE POWER TO YOUR ELBOW". Oh, boys, oh boys, oh girls, oh girls. Wait a minute, I must be getting respectable, that should read;
"Mots and Lads, youngwans and youngfellas, auld fellas, like myself and auld wans as well" can anything beat the elbows of the WOLFE TONES when they pile on the power strumming their musical instruments during a session or a gig. You know what I mean, that magical atmosphere when the air is sparkling with electricity, when everyone is in good humour, all holding hands and all in the one spirit of unity which is more like a large family gathering and a private celebration. "Let the People Sing" "Irish Eyes" "My Heart is in Ireland" and that masterpiece written by Thomas Davis, "A Nation Once Again". It was Davis who said that 'a Nation without its language is only half a Nation'. Keeping the words of Davis in mind, the WOLFE TONES hit the charts as Gaedhilge, with a wide selection of songs in the Irish Language. But its not just Davis and the Gaelic songs, it is songs of every description from every part of Ireland and the world, and when the songs are not already in print, the WOLFE TONES write the songs themselves. From Little Jimmy Murphy, to Argentina and from Padraig Pearse to Joe McDonnell. When the people of the city of Edinburgh wanted to honour James Connolly, their favourite son, they choose the title from one of Connolly's songs "Sing a Rebel Song" and who sings more rebel songs than the WOLFE TONES? The songs our fathers sung, and the songs our mothers sung as well. The first song I ever heard, the first song I ever learned was Peadar Kearney's "Tri Coloured Ribbon O" and the WOLFE TONES have recorded it. Every Friday night I listened to the street singer singing Kevin Barry and every Saturday night we all listened to Radio Eireann and the Ballad Makers telling us about the Boys of Wexford and the Felons of Our Land. After some shows the musicians or the singers disappear, but not so with the WOLFE TONES. They stick around among their fans giving another show, a talk show, answering questions, giving advice, signing autographs and posing for family photographs until all hours of the morning. In the words of Jonathan Swift, the great Dean of St. Patricks Cathedral in the
Liberties of Dublin, "FOLLOW THAT IF YOU CAN"
Éamonn Mac Thomáis June 1989.
A very special thank you to all our friends, supporters, DJ's and Press who have made the Twenty Five Years possible and to Oliver and Maeve for all their help.
Over the years we have met many people all over the world, too numerous to mention, who have helped the Group in many ways.
We dedicate this album to you all.
The Wolfe Tones
This the last Wolfe Tones album (to date) with founding member Derek Warfield. The group did not release another album for 12 years. Apparently Derek made a deal giving Shanachie full US distribution—according to an interview with Brian Warfield (posted on the Wolfe Tones official site)—"The group consisted of four very talented people all pulling together and contributing to what was the Wolfe Tones. This was the way it was for many years until Oliver Barry went into Radio and ceased managing our group. Derek unfortunately saw this as on opportunity to gain control and comitted the group to a contract in America which gave the rights of our recordings to a record company in perpetuity. He signed the contract and misrepresented its contents to us. He refused to co-operate with the rest of the group in reversing the contract and relationships went down hill. This action prevented the group recording for twelve years."