The Emmet Spiceland was a band formed when brothers Brian and Michael Byrne of The Spiceland Folk Group joined forces with Donal Lunny, Brian Bolger and Mick Moloney's Emmet Folk Group around 1968.
The Emmet Spiceland hold a special place in Irish music history as the first of their kind, bringing what was, at the time, a modern sound, to the previously stiff and conservative national airwaves. They were known for beautiful harmonies, pin-up good looks, mod dress sense and previously unheard of contemporary arrangements of Irish classics.
|Reissue From 1977|
Brian went on to further fame in London's west end with Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph, amongst other successes. Michael's interests took him toward the visual arts, following up an unfulfilled desire to attend art school in his teens. Donal Lunny moved on to now legendary projects such as Planxty, Moving Hearts and The Bothy Band. He's produced, played and arranged for the likes of Kate Bush, Paul Brady, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Indigo Girls, Clannad, The Waterboys and Baaba Maal.
Michael and Brian Byrne are from a family of musical and performing talent- their father, Tommy Byrne won the Feis Ceoil three years in a row in the 1930s. In 1967, Michael and Brian Byrne had won the Wexford Ballad Contest, in which the Emmet's had taken second place the year before. Relations Clannad have credited the brothers' success with inspiring their interest in performing. Younger sisters, Maire, Paula, Louise and Anne spent a lot of time on UK television in the 1970s, making appearances on many of the biggest entertainment and variety shows of the day.
Emmet Spiceland was not a man, but a 1960s Irish folk group with several members who went on to more famous bands and projects, though not all of them were in the group at the same time. They grew out of the Emmet Folk Group, formed by Dónal Lunny, Brian Bolger, and Mick Moloney. The lineup changed, however, when Moloney left to join the Johnstons, one of the few Irish folk vocal groups of the time to make some impact on the pop scene abroad. Lunny and Bolger then joined with brothers Michael Byrne and Brian Byrne of Sheffield's Spiceland Folk, naming the new aggregation Emmet Spiceland.
When Bolger left, Emmet Spiceland continued as a trio, in which guise they recorded their sole album, 1968's The First.Emmet Spiceland's recordings, which also included a string of non-LP singles, usually leaned toward the tame acoustic side of harmonized folk-pop. To listeners from the U.S. and U.K., their late-'60s records might sound a few years out of date, as if they're refugees from the slightly more commercial side of the early- to mid-'60s folk revival.
The Folk boom in Ireland began in the early 1960's. Starting in the Folk Clubs, it spread to the pubs and finally wound up in respectability on the concert stage.
One of the" groups that gave folk music a 'showbizzy' image, without losing anything in musical quality, was an amalgam of two of the most successful groups of the Club era, The Emmet Folk and Spiceland. The Emmet Folk were Donal Lunny, Brian Bolger and Mick Molony. Spiceland were Brian and Mick Byrne, born in England to an Irish father, Tommy Byrne, who was once part of the Four Ramblers with Val Doonican.
What the Emmet Folk offered in gritty musical terms, was matched by the sweetness of Spiceland and so The Emmet Spiceland were united as a four piece group, with Donal Lunny, Brian Bolger, Brian Byrne and Mick Byrne.
Like a beautiful butterfly, the Emmet Spiceland seemed to dance in a ray of permanent sunshine. Brian Bolger eventually left, but as a trio the group were causing young ladies to scream and young gentlemen to sit up and take notice of the music. It was a whole new era in Irish Folk.
Today Donal Lunny is the leader of the Bothy Band, via Planxty. His musical influence runs right through most of the good new Irish traditional groups.
Brian Byrne is directing 'Jacques Brel is Alive and Well'… in London, having sung in Jesus Christ Superstar and on the million selling album 'Evita'.
Mick Byrne is still a troubadour. The last we heard of him he was somewhere in Germany, still singing and playing.
In their butterfly existence, The Emmet Spiceland made only one album. This is the album that captured the youthful sparkle and enthusiasm of a group that was unique in its time. The Emmet Spiceland Information
♫♪♪ Brian Byrne
♫♪♪ Mick Byrne
♫♪♪ Dónal Lunny
01. Reynard The Fox
02. My Lagan Love
03. Stor Stor A Ghra
04. The Lover´s Ghost
05. A Couple O'Jigs
07. Mary From Dungloe
08. Autumn Has Come
09. Pretty Susan
10. Slieve Gallion Braes
11. O'Carolan´s Concerto
12. The Curragh Of Kildare