A true pioneer and interpreter of the Blues in Ireland, Red Peters sang as he felt it – with utter involvement, utter passion and total respect for the truth and soul of the music he made his own. Back in 1970s and 1980s Dublin, his fans knew and loved him for singing the most powerful, most fiercely intense Blues and Rhythm & Blues that could be heard in the country at that time. But he remained unsupported and unappreciated by wider audiences and undervalued by record companies and agents.
“For The Love Of A Woman” – Red Peters with The Dublin Blues Band ((Pat Farrell, Brian Harris, Noel Bridgeman, Pat Courtney) recorded for The Late Late Show on RTE.
How It All Started
excerpt from booklet essay by EJ Peters
I suppose you could say it all started when the Murphy Radiogram arrived in through the front door. It was 1963 and telly wasn’t allowed by Daid. It was later changed, as mothers will have their way (with Gaybo and The Late Late Show). So every Sunday, while waiting for the Roast, we regaled each other as a family with the great masterworks of Opera, Concertos and Symphonies.
Red became very much an opera buff, worshipping the voices of Caruso, di Stefano, Callas, Ezio Pinza and the inimitable, great Jussi Bjorling. He went on to form the Tipperary Gramophone Society in the Royal Hotel, Tipperary with Frankie Fitzpatrick – his mentor. Every Tuesday the Society met to listen to and discuss Italian Opera. Frankie knew Red had immense vocal talent and helped to tutor him with his scales.
Opera and early jazz records were a favourite with Daid as well. He encouraged us to listen to all kinds of music, from Puccini to Ellington and Count Basie, from Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall Concert 1938 to St. Louis Blues sung by the great socialist Paul Robeson. Red, at this stage, immersed himself in biographies and discographies of jazz and blues, with books from the library and some that he bought. Later Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Lemon Jefferson crept in – records bought in Savins record shop, Limerick.
Red went to London like many other 17-18 year olds, seeking work, while awaiting the results of various exams for the Civil Service etc. He managed to secure a post in “The Crown” in Cricklewood and soon became involved in what London was becoming in ‘65 and ‘66. So, naturally, he was soon partying and boogieing with the best, like Jimmy Witherspoon and John Lee Hooker.
On his return to Dublin, it wasn’t surprising that Red went on to form The Irish Blues Appreciation Society with Larry Roddy, a friend from Hollywood and Walkinstown, John Sawyer from Enniskerry, Moya Roddy and Ray Astbury, in Slattery’s (downstairs) in Capel Street…