Christy Moore -A Saint And his songs
The crowds outside the state theatre had gathered ten deep outside
the front door . I went for a hamburger before the concert started
The chimes rang out telling everybody it was time to take your seat
I sat in the audience and watched Christy Moore live in concert .
It was a Friday night in Sydney and audience were well charged .
Christy Moore took to the stage wearing a black t-shirt . There was
white towel over his shoulder . He burst out in song and rattled his
guitar strings like a true master at times adding some finger plucking
and hammering. The audience went wild . Christy had to tell them to
settle down .
I saw how he wiped the sweat from his face after each song . When the
concert was over he threw the towel soaked in sweat into the crowd
I remember how somebody had once said there was healing properties in
Christy Moore's sweat . God knows we all need to be healed of
Christy Moore's one and only show in Sydney was at the State
and it was a sell out .Because of the huge demand for tickets the
promoter extended the Sydney gig to three shows which were also sold
out and then another at the York theatre .
On this tour in Australia I had the good fortune to meet and speak with
Christy Moore . This interview is a rare one because he retired shortly
after the Australian tour . The interview was special ,not only did we
talk but we sang together a favourite number of mine "Ride On" which
was written by Irish songwriter Jimmy McCarthy.
I met up with Christy Moore at the State Theatre back stage after the
Christy's sound man that evening John Mc Neil from Tyrone and the
promoter for the tour was Jon Nicholls .
For the benefit of my listeners on my three Irish radio programmes in
Australia I recorded the interview we had and that was broadcast on
2WKT in country New South Wales and 2NBC in the Inner West of Sydney
and finally in Canberra , the Nations capital on RAI Community radio
Meeting Christy in person was a very special moment for me .
As I looked into his face I could sense a genuine serenity that almost
shone out from his heart . Christy has the ability to touch you deep
down in the shackles where the heart is held captive by the forces of
the conscious mind .
Christy is a man full of wit and wonder with Irishness always on the
The interview lasted over an hour and he made it easy for me to talk to
him about poetry, stories, music and songs . During the time we spoke
my mind was invaded with his warmth and at times we both burst out with
We shared a mystical presence that created a friendship . I was a
stranger to him but he had made me a friend . I will never forget that
I would like to share again that interview .
"Christy you grew up in Moorefield Terrace in Newbridge . Tell me a
little about the surroundings there ".
" Its about thirty miles from Dublin on the main Cork Road on the banks
of the river Liffey beside the plains of Kildare near to the bog of
Allen and you could see the hill of Allen from the back window of my
house and you could hear the Dublin to Cork trains going at night .
It's a beautiful part of Ireland "
" Your Mother played the piano and your Dad loved to sing . Your
grandparents Bridie and Frank Moore played a big role with your life .
Did they have any musical gift at all ?"
" Well I would have to say that Bridie and Frank were on the Dowling
side and the Dowling side were farming people who worked hard from dawn
to dusk and didn't really have the time for any music at all but the
other side ,
was the Power side . My Mother was Nancy Power from Navan in County
Meath and she God rest her was a wonderful singer and her Father,
my Grandfather Jack Power was a fine singer .The music came from the
Meath side rather from the Kildare side ."
"Who would have been some of your early influences with music"?
" I grew up in an atmosphere of music not necessarily traditional music
There was no traditional music in Newbridge when I was growing up
I started listening to rock-and-roll when I was a young kid . When I
was about fifteen I started to hear Irish music through his master
voice and the music of the Clancy brothers . When I heard that music I
turned my head away from rock-and-roll and I focused really on Irish
music with as passion. "
" I heard you once describe yourself as a lounge boy in a ballad lounge
. Would that expression still be true of you ?"
"Ha Ha ! No probably not . I've come out of the lounge now and I'm
probably somewhere on the mountain now Paul ."
"I'd like to talk to you about the evolution of Christy Moore that has
taken you to the place where you are today . Back in 1965 you were
discovered at your first gig in Slatterys Bar . What sort of an
audience had you that night ?
" Well those gigs at Slatterys were a very exciting time for me . I was
twenty years old . I was playing the guitar and I was singing and I was
starting to get gigs . You know , the profile of the audience then
would have been I suppose
if you can imagine a room full of Dubliners and Clancy Brothers and
Maggie Barry's and I don't know what . Its what thirty two years ago
now and my memory of it is just kind of beards and pints and joints and
jeans and clogs .
The Craic was Ninety in the Isle of Man I suppose you know .".
" I come from Ardoyne in North Belfast ."
" Sure I was there "
"You have many fans there Christy as well as in other districts around
like The Markets, The Falls, and in the Short Strand . The people from
the Nationalist areas appreciated your empathy with their situation and
in particular with the songs you had recorded like Joe McCann ,
Guiseppe and Back Home In Derry . You moved many hearts all over
Northern Ireland "
" Well you know I've known myself since I was a young lad the power of
this medium to give comfort and inspiration because I have been
comforted and I have been inspired by songs and I suppose I feel very
privileged to have been given a voice that I can in turn pass this on .
I can express these emotions and other people can lift them and take
them away . It's a great gift to be part of this process ."
"Back in 1969 when my home town of Ardoyne had erupted in violence
There were running battles with the police and security forces and the
riots continued each day and night . We had a couple of pirate radio
stations operating from homes in the district's . Meanwhile Christy
Moore was playing at a session in the Glasgow Folk Centre and that's
where you had heard for the first time a song called "Black Is The
" And it was 1968 when when your band Planxty hit the right note and
had begun a progressive move towards achieving an accomplished Irish
"Well the amazing thing I suppose about Planxty I think Paul is that
here we are twenty five years later and the four of us are still deeply
involved in our own music and we've all kind of taken our own different
roads . Liam's music is so beautiful now and Andy is still doing most
definitely only what Andy Irvine can do. Donal is producing wonderful
music now as well and he has a band now that is so powerful ."
" In 1973 Christy Moore was playing a regular spot at the Baggot Inn
and it was then that the Christy Moore Band made way for a new band
called Moving Hearts that had formed in 1980 . Branching out on your
own you had found a way to express yourself in a unique soulful
expression with so many new and great songs."
" Well songs are very much I suppose in a kind of way like my family
the centre of my life .I think it can be very difficult for my family
sometimes because I am so involved with my songs .They are the central
things running through my life since I was a small boy . You know I can
still remember the songs that affected me when I was very very young
and today I'm still obsessed by them . I'm still seeking new songs
though , that's the way life is Paul ."
" I think there is an endless voice and you seen to be able to capture
a message for the right time . You've touched the heart of the
travelling people with songs like Jimmy Connors and you addressed the
issue of drug trafficking on the track Wacker Humphries "
"I suppose that's what I want to do."
"Over the years it has been more of a ministry . I think you are doing
the work of a saint with making people aware through your songs . I
also feel that recently you have discovered a new depth of performing
through the medium of playing the Bodhran . There seems to be a new
found spirituality in your music today and it comes through when you
" I would agree with you completely. That's what I feel . "
" There is a great versatility in your talents now with the new
contemporary works and in songs like Ride On, Green Island, El
Salvador, Burning Times, and on the other hand there is so much soul in
other works like Welcome To The Cabaret and Michael Hatton and Patrick
Was A Gentleman . One thing is very clear Christy and that is that your
passion stays the same it never changes . "
"I'm quite astounded by this conversation we are having because I do
quite a lot of interviews and conversations like this but I don't think
I've ever encountered anybody with the sane knowledge of my life over
the past twenty five years than you hathat have really knocked me
sideways .Things that I didn't realise anybody knew, so it's very
interesting to hear what you're saying."
"Well Christy thanks for that . just one more thing before we end off ,
if there was one achievement that you would like to make before you
take your final bow , what would that be ?"
" I'll tell you what I'd really like . Sometime when I'm long dead and
gone someone would be singing one of my songs and nobody would be
caring who wrote it ."
" Thanks Christy and God bless you ."
"Ok Paul and God bless you too man. "