Long Lost Musical Treasure Found
Cork's own musical Legend, Johnny 'One Man Band' Barrett who sadly passed away in December 2008, recorded a vynil LP in 1977 titled 'Johnny Barrett Sings and Plays'.
Johnny missplaced the last known copy of this album more than 20 years ago. Although he often searched, he was never able to find it. However, the mystery has recently been solved!
Mary Malone and husband Malcolm were visiting Anne Barrett to attend Johnny's Months Mind Mass. During their stay they, along with Anne's neighbour Jim Pitman, offered to lend a hand tidying Johnny's garage.
Imagine their surprise, when moving a workbench, the long lost album fell to the floor at their feet!
Having been trapped between the bench and a wall, both the album and it's sleeve were unbelievably in almost pristine condition. Anne in particular was delighted that the mystery was finally solved and the album could be played again.
Above: Jim Pitman amd Mary Malone after finding the
long lost album.
After listening to the album once more, Malcolm mentioned that he has a contact in the USA who specialises in the restoration of old vynil treasures such as this, and transferring them to CD. Malcolm and Mary were due to fly to the USA a few weeks later, so it was decided that they should take the treasured album with them. This would allow copies of it to be made available once more as a restored, digitally re-mastered CD and allow Johnny's fans to enjoy the music once more.
Upon hearing track 6, 'Down by the Barnakyle' Mary fondly remembered times spent in mid-fifties dance and music halls in the Bronx and Manhattan. In particular she remembers this song then known as 'Mary Doyle' being performed in the Yeager House Dance Hall during her time in New York from 1955 to 1960. The Yeager House was run by Harry and Rosie McGurk who Johnny also remembered meeting in the late sixties when he was touring New York and Chicago.
Above: The 'Lost LP' outside the 'Wild Goose Steakhouse', Mallow,
Co Cork on the first
leg of it's journey to
In the photo are
Anne Barrett, Mary Malone and Cork's prolific
Mary Desmond, who is still writing great songs from
her home in Ballincolig,Co. Cork. Among her works are Johnny's song
Mary Malone, 'A Visionary and Healer' which features on
one of Johnny's DVD's. It was also featured by RTE TV's 'Citizens of
Ireland' filmed at the 'Ballingary House Hotel', Tralee, Co. Kerry a few
Another very moving song for Mary was track 11, 'My Own Galway Bay'. This brought a tear to her eye as she had not heard it for a number of years, and in fact had never heard Johnny's rendition before.
The anouncement of this lost musical treasure has caused quite a buzz within the music industry of Munster, and further afield, and friends and fans will be delighted to know that copies of the CD from this lost LP will be sent to many local radio stations including
- Dermot Lyons of Tipp Mid West Radio, Tipperary
- Mert Downs of New Castle West Community Radio
- and local DJ's at 103 County Sounds, Mallow
Many of these tracks have not been heard since 1977, this being the year that Johnny's hero Elvis Presley passed away, Apple Inc was incorporated, snow fell in Florida for the only time in it's history, Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the USA, Star Wars opened in cinemas and David Berkowitz was arrested for the 'Son of Sam' murders in New York. It's difficult to believe how long ago all of this was happening!
Mary has always believed that Johnny's music had rejuvenating properties; the number of folks who would shuffle into the room to listen to him, but would soon be on their feet jumping and jiving to his renditions of 'The Siege of Ennis' or 'Mickey the Monk' surely proved that!
About the Album
This album was released on the Dolphin Records label and titled 'Johnny Barrett Sings and Plays'. It was produced by Dermot O'Brien at Lombard Sound Studios, Dublin in 1977.
The cover photography was by Brendan Ryan with design by Diana O'Donnell.
Dermot gives a glowing revue on the back cover of this album which, with Johnny and his professional backing group, is very reminiscent of the Big Band era.
The album has been wonderfully and totally transformed into a great CD by a master craftsman in the art of digital restoration and enhancement. The listener is treated to a much enhanced sound as the various instruments become almost chrystal clear without the imperfections inherent in the old vynil technnology and become a joy to listen to without losing any of the original ambience and unique flavour of Johnny Barrett in fantastic form.
Above:Mary Malone (centre) presents a copy of the
to David Davis and Kirsten Cusato
of KUSI TV.
Mary is a regular special guest on this station
- Our Whole Life
- Today's Teardrops
- The Isle of Innisfree
- Down by the Barnakyle
- I'm Going to Be a Country Boy Again
- Dora My Darling
- I'll Be There Before the Next Teardrop Falls
- My Own Galway Bay
- Lttle Town in Ireland
Above: America's flamboyant Piano King of Jazz
receives a copy of the CD
Above: Irish music lover 'Jack the Cop' receives a copy of
the CD from Mary.
Ex-policeman Jack Strumsky has been reporting the
crime updates on FOX CH5 TV for many years and has
travelled to Ireland on a number of occasions to watch
his favourite group, The Corrs, perform.