For those wishing to obtain a copy of the album artwork and sleeve notes, you can download a copy here.
This mix was the first version of Hard Station released on vinyl in Ireland in 1981. It has lain dormant for nearly 30 years. Many fans of the album say they prefer it. So we recently re-mastered it from a virgin vinyl copy and are making it available again as a download only. The album was completely remixed for US release in late ’81 in Startling Studios in England (former home of John Lennon and then the home of Ringo Starr). The remixed version is the one generally available now and the only one on CD.
I had been working for a decade in traditional Irish music forms – working into an already built structure and just basically learning how to do it. It was a lot of fun but I wanted to find something else. ‘Hard Station’ was my first attempt at writing and arranging my own music and getting other people to play it as I heard it. The record itself was started in early 1981 in the old Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin and we recorded it over a few months.
I was equally excited and apprehensive. As a solo performer, I had been introducing these songs acoustically from about 1979, but this was a whole new thing. It was produced by Hugh Murphy and myself….and the band in studio was really my first electric band – largely the same outfit I had been touring Ireland with the previous year…Jimmy Faulkner and Arty McGlynn on electric guitars, Fran Breen on drums, Tommy Moore on bass. Betsy Cook, married to Hugh Murphy at the time, was a new and exciting ingredient on keyboards and vocals.
Jimmy Faulkner’s solo guitar and Betsy’s piano on ‘Nothing but the same old Story’ still thrill me after all this time. By now I had already released a single version of ‘Crazy Dreams’ (a different recording) and it had been a hit in Ireland. So with the tour the previous year and the fact that basically all the songs were already known, people were waiting for this record and it was very well received. This was a whole new beginning for me.