Explore Your Archive: Document of the Day

Moving Hearts: A Sample from Hutchinson’s Record Collection

By Darren Sturdy, Library Assistant, MU Library

The archive of distinguished multilingual poet Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012), was deposited in Maynooth University in 2014. This large and eclectic archive contains many fascinating unique documents, but also an extensive library and music collection on both vinyl and audio cassette. Among the collection is an album on vinyl, familiar to most of a certain age, the self-titled debut from Moving Hearts.

Pearse Hutchinson

Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny formed Moving Hearts in 1981 out of the Baggot Inn in Dublin and released their debut album the same year on the WEA (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) label. It is a mixture of traditional music and the contemporary sound of a rhythm section.

The band on this album consists of Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Declan Sinnott, Eoghan O’Neill, Brian Calnan, Davy Spillane and Keith Donald.

The year is 1981 and there is a lot going on in Ireland and around the world. The songs on this album are a commentary of how the musicians on this record felt about things at the time.

The album opens with ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette’ written by Jim Page which is about the nuclear threat at the time and the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Heavy opener indeed. The track also seems to play with the musicians themselves by introducing the line up with instrumental breaks between the verses.

The second track is ‘Irish Ways and Irish Laws’ is written by John Gibbs. While the opening song belts along, this following track is brought right down to a slower pace. The way Ireland was, what happened to her over time and wondering about the future.

Third track ‘McBrides’ is an instrumental written by Lunny/Sinnott. On this piece Spillane really shines on uileann pipes with backing from the rest of the band. This kicks in nicely after the more sombre tone of the previous song.

The penultimate track on side one in the old vinyl days is ‘Before the Deluge’ written by Jackson Browne. Bringing it back down again, this is a tale of idealism overtaken the realities of industry. Keith Donald has a great sax solo for the outro.

Side one closes with ‘Landlord’ written by Jim Page. An upbeat groove to a song about the evils of the landlord class and the treatment of tenants. Short and sweet at under three minutes.

Side Two kicks off with ‘Category’, an instrumental written by Lunny/Sinnott. Plays like a jam between the band and the second half of the album kicks into gear. No hanging about here.

Side Two, Track 2 and for me the best song on the album, ‘Faithful Departed’ by Philip Chevron. Chevron had no problem doing this as he did it twice with The Pogues (sorry Shane…). This has a nice guitar intro by Declan Sinnott. There seems to be so much talent on show for this album and finding a place to accommodate everyone.

Penultimate track on the album is the third and final instrumental ‘Lake of Shadows’ by Lunny/Sinnott/O’Neill. A downbeat tempo showcasing the band again. It really is lovely this one like a waltz.

The album closer and longest song on the record is ‘No Time for Love’ by Jack Warshaw. Injustices in the world.  

The album was produced by Dónal Lunny and with all the talent on show the star for me is bassist Eoghan O’Neill. His podcast is worth a listen.