Did you know former Fleadh headliner Paul Brady sold his electric guitar to Phil Lynott and went acoustic? That he hated 70s styles like flares and heels? But he loved Gerry Rafferty’s hit Baker Street? Those are among the relevations in an interview for the Irish Music Rights Organisation.
We all felt that bristling acoustic energy when Paul filled Newry Town Hall with his hit sounds at the 2019 Fleadh. He reckoned it was the first time he’d ever played the city centre venue. Paul went down a storm that night and it seemed he didn’t want to stop.
Now he charts his personal journey in the latest episode of the IMRO Podcast. He tells Tony Clayton-Lea about life, music and his recent memoir Crazy Dreams.
‘It was a line in the sand,’ Paul says about selling his electric guitar to Lynott, ‘although I probably didn’t realise it at the time.’ He stopped playing rock and dedicated himself to the folk world with Irish band The Johnstons.
Between 1969-72 they became one of the top acts on the British folk scene. ‘It was all trad music,’ Paul explains, ‘and I just put my pop sensibilities back on the back burner.’
He confesses to Tony he didn’t like the 70s pop scene, which seemed lightweight after the richness of the 60s. ‘I hated the dress-up, I hated the bell bottoms, I hated the high-heeled boots,’ he admits. ‘I was in the trad world, which was this polar opposite.’
Paul shares how he found the 70s hard, as an Irish artist in London. He felt the tension towards Irish people, and it annoyed him. That deep unease comes out in his classic song Nothing But The Same Old Story.
A big turning point came when he heard other folkies like Gerry Rafferty writing their own songs. ‘Baker Street just was my magic moment,’ Paul remembers. ‘When I heard the intro to Baker Street, I just thought, “What is this?” From then on I knew I had to see if I could write songs myself.’
For the full story, listen to the IMRO Podcast. It’s a goodie – and a must for Brady fans. Just click here.