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A Different View

Highlights provides insight into life’s work of rare gem

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Johnny Duhan performing.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There may never have been a more appropriately titled album than Johnny Duhan’s new release – because Highlights is just what it says on the sleeve….a stroll through the career and the music of one of the country’s most talented singer/songwriters.

Everyone knows Johnny for the Voyage – and that would be sufficient claim to fame for anyone – but Highlights paints the fuller picture; it represents a musical biography for a man who has been in the business for more than 40 years.

Based in Galway for so much of that time, he first came to fame in his native Limerick as a member of the seminal Granny’s Intentions – what is it with Limerick and Grannies? – a sixties beat group whose Honest Injun was the first big hit Irish album in the UK.

Christy Moore called Johnny ‘one of our greatest songwriters’ – the late Ronnie Drew agreed – and Highlights illustrates exactly why. Even the planning of this new release shows the depth of thought that Johnny puts into everything he does.

Because it dips in and out of four earlier collections that effectively constitute his life’s work – and thus it’s a beautiful reflection on life, from the mind of a deeply spiritual man.

Those albums demand listening in their own right, because each has a central theme that might see them described as something of concept albums in an earlier time.

Just Another Town is about growing up in Limerick in the early sixties, a world of hard living, poverty and the shadow of the docks; To the Light sees him set out on Don Quixotic adventure in search of fame and love; the Voyage – like the title track – is a reflection on marriage and love, while the Flame reflects his deep faith and humanity.

He’s had more than four albums of course – the Burning Wood also touches on spirituality, and Winter grapples with the struggles of ageing and later life – but Highlights draws from those four particular cornerstones of his foundation.

Now Johnny has re-recorded and remixed some of the songs from each of those earlier albums, so that Highlights is more than just a collection of his finest work. That’s there for sure, of course, with Just Another Town, Daredevil, Girls in My Memory, Two minds, Trying to Get the Balance Right and his song, recorded by the Dubliners, Don’t Give Up Till It’s Over.

The Voyage is there of course – a new version of a song that Christy Moore took to new heights and which now appears to be as intrinsic a part of every wedding day as the cake itself.

But for me, if he only recorded one song, Your Sure Hands would be more than enough – it might well be the best song ever written to empathise with the difficult years so many teenagers face as they come to terms with all life seems to throw at them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

What your taste in music says about your own state of mind

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As Elton John once said, sad songs say so much. But now it turns out so do Adele songs or classics by the Beatles – because surprise, surprise, the music you listen to reflects your state of mind.

That’s what a group of psychologists in Toronto spent their time discovering recently – a reality most of us could have told them for free.

The psychologists divided people into four groups with different approaches to relationships – the rejection-feeling ‘anxious’’ group; the negative and cold ‘avoidant group; the confident ‘secure’ group, and a mixed group.

The boffins then assessed the lyrics to 7,000 different songs based on their variously secure, anxious, or avoidant content, then asked a test group to pick out their favourite tracks.

And they came up with the bleedin’ obvious – song lyrics are a window into your state of mind; they discovered that people who are insecure in their relationship listen to a lot of Adele. Perhaps because you may remember she had her biggest hit, Someone Like You, about a break-up.

Other songs that inspire strong feelings, often sadness, include Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine; Neil Young’s Philadelphia, and Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind – just in case you’re looking to take it down a notch this New Year.

On the other hand, those who prefer the Beatles’ upbeat Love Me Do are more than likely to be very secure in their relationships, according to the University of Toronto study.

And just for the record, here are some of the songs for happy people, who are secure in themselves and in their loved ones around them.

At Last by Etta James – which sounds more like entrapment than true love, as does I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher – and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys, not to mention Whitney Houston’s 1999 hit I Will Always Love You, which is actually a Dolly Parton song from the early 1970’s. It’s just that Dolly doesn’t give off that same sense of security.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Viewing options ensure TV will never be the same again

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Much has been written about the downturn in newspaper sales, and in printed matter generally, on foot of the digital age – but it’s not just reading habits that are changing; because there is more than one generation now that no longer seeks its audio-visual enjoyment in the old-fashioned way.

In other words, the television sector is negotiating the same troubled waters with streaming services and free or subscription videos taking large chunks out of their traditional audience.

There was a time when the lap of luxury was a television in your bedroom, but there aren’t too many under 25s looking for that now – because everything they want to see, they can do it on their tablet or phone.

And while we were slaves to the TV guide, they demand to see their programme choices when it suits them – not when the channels think it’s best to put them out.

We might have come from a generation that waited until Sunday night to catch up with life in Leestown with the Riordans or in Wicklow with Dinny and Miley, but that ship has sailed.

If today’s consumer wants to watch the entire new box set of their favourite drama or detective series in one fell swoop, then that’s how it has to be.

You can see it already with the terrestrial stations across the water even if we cannot benefit from it here. The BBC iPlayer is at least one episode ahead of the channels themselves with any big drama, and very often the whole series of available in advance; it’s the same with ITV.

The RTÉ Player is more of a catch-up facility for programmes you’ve missed – apart from the odd straight-to-digital offering which wouldn’t really cut it on the actual schedule – but they will have to adapt to the British model if they’re to avoid sinking into a deeper abyss.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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