This must be an extremely rare LP. Released in 1974 on the Aran label (Ireland) it is notable for two reasons. First, it features the great Paddy Keenan in his pre-Bothy days, and he’s in pretty good form too. Second, The Blacksmiths had a singer I’ve never come across apart from here: Seamus McArdle. He has a fantastic voice, one of the best I’ve heard. So what happened to him?
The band itself were pretty much a cut-price Planxty clone (look at the track listing), and if it weren’t for messrs Keenan and McArdle wouldn’t be worth a second listen.
It is indeed a very rare album. Seamus ended up in Berlin or rather West Berlin as it was when I met him there in October 1977. I was supposed to be studying at the university, but spent most of the academic year playing gigs around the city with him and his band “Diddly Dory”. I last saw Seamus when I visited Berlin in June 1981. He was still in very good singing form. Since then I heard he had spent some time in the US and was last seen in London.
I wonder if I even met him myself LongNote, cause I was in West Berlin around that time. I played there, around the session pubs, for about a year with ‘Anna Liffey Folk’ & I remember the name Diddly Dory, also guys like Max, John Shanahan.
Seems like a long time ago now though!
The Blacksmiths had an Austrian guitarist, Max Rinder.
That’s the bucko Gords. Aye, if it’s the same Max, he had a bit of a limp & a penchant for Austrian hats, with feathers in them!
That’s Max alright. Haven’t seen him since Milltown 1989, but believe he is still in Berlin. He once had the distinction of having attended Milltown 20 years in succession or something close to that . From April to July of 1978, I even shared an apartment in Kreuzberg with Max and Shanahan. Ptarm, you must have run into Seamus as some point. It looks as if you were arriving as I was departing West Berlin. I was there Oct 1977-July 1978 “studying”. But apart from brief visits in 1980/81/83, I haven’t been back. Other names to float from 1977-78 are Ken Davison, Whiskey Joe and Mandolin John, Poitin, the Banana pub, Folk Pub, Go-In, Steve Club, Quartier Latin. At that time there was only one Irish pub in Eisenacherstrasse. Had a good bit of crack there with the Dubliners one night.
Aye the pubs we played in were the Harp, The Irish Pub, Celtic Cottage, The Scotsman & The Shamrock.
The other guys in Anna Liffey were Robbie, And & Tiny. I also remember talk of an Eddie, an Accordion player, who I just missed.
Did Diddly Dory also have a Paddy & a Seamus, nick-named the two Paddys, young & old?
Oh & wasn’t there a piper by the name of Murphy?
Another musician I just missed was a Flute player, Paddy O’Neil.
I understand that, since the wall came down there are dozens of music pubs there now?
seamus mcardle the blacksmiths,diddley dory
I am an ex member of diddley and would dearly love a recording of that album when they called themselves the blacksmiths.I know the whole tale of this album if anyone is interested.Contact me.