The Liberty Belles

The Liberty Belles were formed in 1969, out of the Francis Street Parish Club in Dublin. The area is known as The Liberties – hence the name of the girls’ singing group. Originally a dozen members, the numbers had swelled to 30 singers and a total membership of over 60 by the time that this album was released. Their mentor was local priest Father Foley who enlisted the support of Tom Gregory (guitar), Shay O’Donoghue (piano and organ) and Frank McCarthy. The LP was recorded in the Eamonn Andrews Studios in Dublin and released by Dolphin Records in 1971; Dolphin Discs being the name of a long-running record shop located in Talbot Street.

The album has been compared to The Langley Schools Music Project which is not too far off the mark. Given the era there is the inevitable Hair connection. Two tracks from the hit musical are featured – a serene Good Morning Starshine and a groovy Aquarius.

Hurry Home and Snowbird (made famous by Anne Murray) are plaintively performed with a maturity that belies the girls’ tender years – their ages ranged between 11 and 15.  A haunting version of Brahms Lullaby concludes a most entertaining first half.

There’s a spiritual vibe on side two with righteous versions of Oh Happy Day and Amazing Grace. After competent takes of the catchy Scarlet Ribbons and harmonious Yellow Bird, the LP finishes on an apt note – the togetherness anthem of positivity known as United We Stand.

However my favourite track on this charming LP is their version of the Cuban classic Guantanamera. I love hearing the spoken word section being delivered in a Dublin accent.

Full tracklist.

Side 1
01 Good Morning Starshine
02 Hurry Home
03 Snowbird
04 Guantanamera
05 I Made So Many Friends
06 The Lullaby

Side 2
07 Oh Happy Day
08 Scarlet Ribbons
09 Aquarius
10 Amazing Grace
11 Yellow Bird
12 United We Stand

(by nlgbbbblth)

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11 thoughts on “The Liberty Belles

  1. fústar says:

    Already on my 5th listen to Aquarius. Oh man, it’s solid gold. Also, RE: Guantanamera, it’s pretty hard to resist the sound of 60 Dublin girls singing “Yo soy un hombre sincero”.

  2. nlgbbbblth says:

    Cheers John, glad you like it. For those of you who want more from Hair here’s Good Morning Starshine from the same LP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX1k7ZFnC_w

  3. Nam Citsale says:

    Many thanks for the opportunity to hear selections from this. Any idea whether it charted at the time? The fate of the participants would make an interesting subject for a documentary. For all that, aging grouch that i am, the results sounded too polished and conventional for me. My favourite in this vein remains the version of ‘I am the Walrus’ on Lol Coxhill’s album ‘Ear of Beholder’.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Unsure of whether it charted. Irishcharts.ie only has a singles chart archive. At a guess it probably made it in somewhere although second hand copies of the LP don’t turn up very often. I like the Don Alfonso on that Coxhill LP.

  4. My Aunt helped run this group. I would love a copy of the album, do you know where I could get one? Thank you for sharing.

  5. Mary mc donagh says:

    I always wondered what ever happened to ” the liberty belles”…… as I used to go to talent contests in swords around the early 70’s …….and they were so good they used to win everything!!!
    I remember every one of those songs and there was a young blondy girl that used to sing solo and she was brilliant!
    It brings me back!!!

    • elaineedmonds says:

      Her name was lily shannahan. she went pro and is now called lily black and sings backing vocals A lot.

      • Mary mc donagh says:

        Ah thanks for that info.
        Delighted she is doing well ……as she was brilliant back then …. as well as the rest of the group. Loved listening to them!

  6. Lisa Murray says:

    My mam and aunties where part if this group the 2 smallest girls in the front one is mam the other is aunt cant find the other aunt

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