Interview with Patsy Watchorn, 2002

25 years of Rare Auld Times - what are your feelings?
Patsy: Joy, pride, thankfulness. It was written for me, I was the first ever to sing it, I was the first ever to record it. It's a good feeling to be in that position. It may sound bold, but it's the plain truth.

Can you remember how it all started with Dublin In The Rare Auld Times in 1976?
Patsy: I remember flipping through a huge folder of songs Pete St. John had written; there were loads and loads of song words, a lot of nice stuff. But then I caught the title Dublin In The Rare Auld Times and the lyrics caught me straight away; it was such a beautiful text. I turned around to ask Pete that I really wanted to hear the air to this one. Thatís how it began and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back then, youíve been with the Dublin City Ramblers?
Patsy: Let me settle this here as it pops up again and again: I was not with the Ramblers - I was the Ramblers. I founded them, was their lead singer for decades, I was the voice and the sound. It's not my intention to ridicule the talent of anybody that worked with me. But it was my voice that is on 99% of the tracks, itís my voice that fills all the successful Ramblers albums. Rare Auld Times, Ferryman, Flight Of Earls, Luke Kelly's Land, these are my songs, written for me, performed by me. That "The Craic & The Porter Black" CD you see everywhere, all but 2 songs are by me. I could go on, but I left them back in 1995 so I'd prefer to talk about the present.

There are three new songs on the anniversary compilation. Do you have any remarks about these?
Patsy: When the 25th anniversary of "the big one" came up, it was logical to put together a profile through the years. Still, in order to give the loyal fans (who already have everything) something really new, we went into the vaults and came up with three unreleased songs I recorded rather recently, about a year or two ago.

The Very Best Of Patsy Watchorn is not the only album available?
Patsy: That's true. Although the focus is on the celebration of the 25th anniversary, I have two more albums out. One is another compilation titled "Raised On Songs And Stories" which includes a handful of songs which are not on the Best Of, the other is "The Craic & Porter Too", my follow-up album to "The Craic & Porter Black" with twenty more pub songs.

You seem to expand your live schedule now more than in past years.
Patsy: I was anything but on retirement! I played myriads of corporate gigs, still do, which of course I canít advertise. I've been to the Netherlands recently and only last year to Austria, my first time ever, headlining their biggest Irish festival. Right now, we are opening a short engagement at The Submarine.

How do you feel about that?
Patsy: Very excited! The Whitehall Room there is absolutely beautiful. You hardly can find a nicer place to play. Needless to say the ĄSub" is fantastic, but you better check their website out at to see it all; it's worth a visit anyway, but it's best on Sunday nights now, of course! [laughing]. As you know, I was born in Crumlin, so it is nice to appear regulary close to your old backyard, you may say. And, last but not least, Frank and Johnny Smith are two very dear friends of mine so I feel even more at home here.

What more is planned for the future?
Patsy: We have a couple of things cooking, but please understand that weíll disclose details only when anything is official. Best way to stay informed is to visit my website often where we break all the news to fans and friends! And if you want to tell us something, he, we have a guestbook!

More stuff about the 25th anniversary of Dublin In The Rare Auld Times:

The Very Best Of Patsy Watchorn - CD
Patsy 2002 Postcard
Anniversary Booklet

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