Forever a Rock ‘N’ Roll Kid
If the past is a foreign country, then Charlie McGettigan is the best of tour guides. His book takes us back to Ballyshannon in the 1950s, avoiding the clichéd golden summers where sweetness and light prevailed. Instead he takes us around the back of the set to show us a ‘warts and all’ view of Irish life in what are laughingly called ‘the good old days,’ where poverty and deprivation were made worse by a dominant clerical presence and an often brutal schooling system that together succeeded in driving many young people away from both religion and education. Charlie pulls no punches but nevertheless manages to avoid being bitter, mixing the hard stories with heart-warming tales of childish fun from the pre-electronic days when you had to make your own. His stories of the hard work and dedication that brought him musical success give a snapshot of the heady days of the folk scene in Ireland in the 1970s and the 1980s, when the country seemed to be full of folk and ballad groups vying for a slice of the action. If ever the old adage of achieving overnight success after thirty years of hard graft applied to anybody, it surely applies to Charlie.
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