Gavin, Guggi, Dave-id record ‘Bully in the Alley’

Gavin Friday talks to us about the Chanteys and Sea Songs tribute album and its all star line-up.

Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Antony and the Johnsons, Bono and yourselves… that’s quite an impressive roll call.

‘It’s very ‘who’s in town’, very impromptu. Hal (Willner) has been doing workshops in different cities, Seattle and London and New York. No time to rehearse, just go in and learn your part and sing it.’

Fresh from Willner’s Dublin workshop, Gavin Friday is still a little hyper as he rattles off details of the sessions in Westland Studios which brought the Funky Trinity (Friday, Guggi and Bono) together on record at last. He serves up the lyrics of one of his songs with gusto, characterising the sessions as very ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’.

‘I did a song called “The Baltimore Whores” (lyrics), probably the dirtiest of them all. It goes: “Roly poly, tickle my holey, smell of of my slimey flue, then drag your nuts across my guts…”

He laughs:

‘And that’s probably the most commercial of them all!’

Gavin also recorded a lament called “Tommy’s gone to Hilo” (lyrics) with Andrea Corr. It is the odd couple’s second duet since 2003’s “Time Enough For Tears” from the In America soundtrack.

‘It’s not really a duet, though. They’re all chanteys, which are call and response songs. Except Andrea’s “Caroline and her young sailor bold” (lyrics) and Bono’s song, which are both sea songs or seamen’s songs.’

Bono was only able to get involved because of the postponement of U2’s antipodean tour.

‘He did “The dying sailor to his shipmates”, quite a dark song and very intense it is, but the heaviest of them all would probably be the song I did with Guggi and Dave-id, “Bully in the alley” (lyrics).’

The song reunites the three ex-Virgin Prunes vocalists for the first time since the mid-Eighties.

‘It was Dave-id as head pirate on lead vocals, and myself and Guggi as his shipmates on backing vocals. Hal said it was probably closest to what pirates really would have sounded like.’

Musicians at the Dublin session include Maurice Seezer on piano and accordion, Zo