Celtic Legacy have been around since 1997 and split in 2009 – a victim of illegal downloading which wiped out any opportunity to recover costs on their self-financed final album.
I first met Dave Morrissey around 1998 when I offered to play some piano on their demos and helped them with some mastering. I recommended a nearby studio which resulted in some good recordings. In 2000 the band did some overdubs and mixing in my home project studio. During those sessions we recorded tracks for the Phil Lynott tribute CD “Spirit Of The Black Rose” which included a session with Philomena Lynott (Philip’s mother) who recited some of her son’s poetry.
I’ll let Dave take over the story of this demo which is a great story as it involves missing multitrack tapes, a missing sound engineer and a cassette…
Bit of history… We had a new line-up (as usual) and came up with some cracking new tunes, so we booked Mick’s place (ed. note a local studio)to record them. Mick couldn’t do the session so he left some guy to do the work. Big mistake as it turned out, the guy made a complete bags of it and not only did we not get a finished mix, but one rough cassette copy which he somehow conspired to balls up too by erasing a couple of seconds of the second track. When I went out to do a proper mix a week later the guy had vanished along with my multi track reel so we never got to mix or hear the finished article and that single flawed cassette copy is the only one ever to survive.
Celtic Legacy fans will recognise the voice on this. Mel Shields sang the original versions of 3 songs that wound up on the Resurrection album… Live By The Sword, Children Of The Sky and the title track itself. This demo showed great potential as did the line-up, but a possible record label contract came to nought when the label demanded we fire Mel and get a male singer in. Not surprisingly we had a tough decision to make and quickly told the record label to go and fuck off with themselves. In the event, the line-up lasted just one gig anyway, a shame as it could have been great.
Here is Mel Shields , one-time vocalist in Celtic Legacy during a later recording session
Aside from the obvious difference in vocals, there is a massive fiddle presence on this version that was never emulated on the album version. Ciara Roe played a blinder here as usual and the session player we got in for the album later on never had her touch or skill. Her playing on the demo version of Resurrection was crucial and was definitely missed on the official 2003 version. Phil McEvoys drumming was fantastic. Steve Shields and myself formed a great partnership but he was restless from the start and jumped ship a couple of months later. Both Steve and Mel had great voices and added a massive choral backing vocal presence to all the tracks making them sound huge. I can remember getting goosebumps in the control room thinking about the final mix.
If we could have mixed these songs properly they would, in my opinion have been vastly superior to the versions that ended up on the Resurrection album 3 years later. A great pity. We rounded out the session with an awesome version of Thin Lizzy’s Massacre.
Line up for this demo:
Mel Shields (Vocals), Dave Morrissey (Guitar), Dave Boylan (Bass), Steve Shields (Guitar), Ciara Roe (Violin/Fiddle), Phil McEvoy (Drums)
I strongly recommend you visit the Celtic Legacy website for two reasons: there is a great archive of information about the band, a forum and links to two albums for sale which would go some way to restoring faith by buying a copy or two (the blog-master here appears on the compilation CD which has some bonus demo tracks).
Here’s ‘Live By The Sword’
Here is the 2003 line-up of Celtic Legacy which recorded the official released version of ‘Live By The Sword’