Stockton's Wing for 40th O'Carolan Festival

Longford Leader Reporter

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Stockton's Wing for 40th O'Carolan Festival

Following the critical success of their reunion tour to celebrate forty years of Stocktons Wing the band will continue to perform throughout 2018 and beyond. In October 2017 the band were the proud recipients of a prestigious civic reception presented by the Clare County Council at their headquarters in Ennis. It was a momentous occasion and the memory is cherished by band members and their families. 

A new song written by Mike Hanrahan “We Had it all” was released in May 2018, the first Stocktons Wing release for many years and plans are in place to record a new CD before the end of the year. Meanwhile a series of shows have been added around Ireland for the coming months.

The line up includes: Mike Hanrahan (vocals & guitar), Paul Roche (flute & tin whistle), Tommy Hayes (percussion, bodhran, spoons), Tara Breen (fiddle), Karol Lynch on (banjo & mandolin) and Paul McSherry (guitar).

Stockton’s Wing began their career in Ennis sometime in 1977 with Kieran Hanrahan on banjo, mandolin and harmonica, Paul Roche on Flute and whistle, Maurice Lennon on fiddle, Tommy Hayes on Bodhran, spoons and bones and Tony Callinan on guitar and vocals. The name Stockton’s Wing came from a Bruce Springsteen song, “Backstreets” from the a “Born
to Run”. “ Slow dancing on a moonlit street at Stockton’s Wing, where desperate lovers park to meet the last of the Duke Street Kings.”

The band signed a deal with Tara records after winning the Trad section of a music contestin Limerick. A group called U2 won the rock section.

Stockton’s Wing first album, produced by Clareman PJ Curtis received rave reviews from national and international press. Singer/songwriter Mike Hanrahan replaced Tony Callinan in 1979. Mike had spent the previous few years with singer Maura O’Connell in Tumbleweed. In 1980 Stocktons Wing released their second album on Tara “Take a Chance”. The album featured some original music and marked the arrival of a progressive, creative and original force into the world of Irish music. Following the success of the album, they toured extensively, creating a storm of enthusiasm at major Folk Festivals across Europe.

In 1982, the Band released their third album "Light in the Western Sky" - a highly polished album, which represented a significant shift in their musical direction, focusing more on the band's creative original material. The album featured two hit singles, written by Mike Hanrahan, "Beautiful Affair" and "Walk Away." It also featured a haunting composition "The
Golden Stud", a combination of Aboriginal and Irish music. The album was produced by PJ Curtis. It is regarded by many as one of the great innovative recordings in Irish music.

They signed to an American agency and toured extensively throughout the states playing theatres and major music festivals. After listening to the band, a critic for the New York Times wrote: “they were eclectic, electric, passionate, personal, innovative and powerful.” In 1985, a live album “Stockton’s Wing Live-Take One” was recorded in Galway and Dublin.

Produced by Bill Whelan and it certainly captured that ‘eclectic, electric’ sound. Tours of America, Canada, Europe and Australia kept the band away from recording studios until the autumn of 1986 when they recorded their fifth album “Full Flight”. The album contained no less than four hit singles “Why Wait Until Tomorrow”, “Avondale”, “New Clare Revival” and “So many Miles”. Their sixth album, “ Celtic Roots Revival” produced by Steve Cooney received critical acclaim in America where the group continued to headline major music festivals.

In the summer of 1988 they shared the stage for both nights with Michael Jackson in Cork. The following year they made a guest appearance with Sammy Davis Jnr. in Dublin as part of his world tour with Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli. In 1990 Stockton’s Wing went on location to take part in the Noel Pearson/Jim Sheridan film production of the John B. Keane play “The Field” which featured Oscar nominee Richard Harris and John Hurt. Beautiful Affair was voted into the top 75 songs in the history of RTE radio, and Today FM voted the song no 7 in a top 20 all time poll of Irish songs.

In November 2003 Stockton’s Wing held their first reunion concert in their hometown of Ennis, Co. Clare, which was a huge success with over 1200 people packed into the West County Hotel. In the words of the band’s producer PJ Curtis “what an extraordinary, amazing, mind-blowing concert the Wing delivered last night. I’m still spinning from it. It was TRIUMPHANT! No other word for it. Such an incredible turn out… and the music and the vibe, Ronnie Drew too who was pure magic as usual, made it a NIGTH TO REMEMBER!!! It rates as one of the top gigs of the decade for me…”

Following their sell-out concert in 2016, Stocktons Wing return to St. Ronan’s Hall in Keadue on Sunday, 5 th August, 2018 at 9.00p.m. Tickets available online from the festival website or by ringing 087 2559269.