Fight for workers’ rights inspires unique album

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, whose latest album was inspired by the 1913 Lockout. They are taking part in this year's Galway Sessions Festival.
The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, whose latest album was inspired by the 1913 Lockout. They are taking part in this year's Galway Sessions Festival.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@gmail.com

The Spook of The Thirteenth Lock come to the Róisín Dubh next Wednesday, June 13, as part of this year’s Galway Sessions festival. This is a band whose music draws on Irish folk but combines it with banks of guitars. The Dublin quintet recently released their third album Lockout, for which they expanded to an 18-piece electric guitar orchestra. The album is inspired by the Great Lockout of 1913, the landmark workers’ protest led by Big Jim Larkin. Singer and guitarist Allen Blighe explains why the band decided to make an album around this event.

“Around the time of the 100th anniversary, we were finishing work on our last album The Brutal Here and Now,” he says.  “I went along to a commemoration of the Lockout in August of 2013. And it really just struck me that it was a very relevant story to Ireland today. In the Lockout you have a story of workers organising for rights. In dreadful conditions, living in terrible tenement accommodation, trying to better their lot. Struggling against a very unkind employer, or organisation, led by William Martin Murphy – who very much saw it as their right to work the workers hard. Six-day weeks, twelve-hour shifts, no security of tenure. You can see a sense of things going back that way now,” Allen feels. “Rising rents, unemployment and emigration. Right now, although there is a recovery – at least on paper – there’s a sense that things are getting worse.  That’s very much been the way since 2008 and the recession. There’s a sense that there’s a need for organised protest, for people to stand up for their rights, for accommodation and employment.”

Are the lyrics on the album taken from actual speeches, or did the band write their own?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.