|When I lived in Ireland we used to play a gig every two months or so at Sean Lucy's pub, 'An Crois', in the village of
Kilnamartyra, high up in the West Cork Mountains, not too far from the Co. Kerry border.
'Twas always a good night; always a late one. Hardest thing there was trying to get out of the place, sure they locked the doors
at closing time alright, but with most of the people on the inside.
Mikey was one of the regulars who got people going, his love of music often overflowing as often as his pint would be emptyin'.
Mikey had a great hat, Aussie made, a real ol' beat up Akubra from Kempsey in NSW, and we joked about each others hats
often, for I wore a cap a lot in those days too. Anyway the point of the bit about the hat is that one night we turned up to play and
Mikey was hatless. I asked what had happened but he was reluctant to elucidate at the time. It was near a year later e're I got a
story about a wild and windy night, lads burning gorse, and Mikey staggering home from the pub. I gather the hat flew off in the
wind and appeared to be consumed by the flames or such like. Some weeks later I had a notion that it would make a good
song, so I put a few bits and pieces together and before the next gig played a verse and chorus for Mikey and discussed it with
Mikey over a Whiskey an' a pint. He was happy with the words I had put together and my thoughts went to the recording I would
do when I went home. At the end of the night he added a crucial bit of information which was to alter the song substantially. The
hat had re-appeared. A man had gone walking with his dog and gun, through Mikey's farm, and found the hat, leaving it on the
doorstep, along with a case of beer in thanks for the walk he'd enjoyed.
During the next two months I put the song together, in the form it is now. I was so looking forward to playing it live for Mikey, or
as he called himself, Loony Cooney. Shortly before we were to leave for the gig a phone call informed us that the gig was off,
due to a death of someone in the area. It happens from time to time in Ireland and we never mind, I was just disappointed as I
was unable to play the song for Mikey.
A month and a half later, we played the song in a pub at Durrus in West Cork; a girl from Kilnamartyra was there that night. She
told us, at the end of the song that Mikey had died, it was his passing away that had caused the previous gig to be cancelled.
What a shock! By that stage I had recorded the song, albeit roughly enough, but I indeed stopped playing it for a while. During
the next gig at Kilnamartyra I mentioned to Ellen that I had recorded a song for Mikey and word got around. The following gig,
loads of Mikeys relatives were there and wanted to hear the song, so we played it and I gave them all copies of the recording.
We'd a great night, for they were a lot like Mikey too.
Mikey helped us through ever so many nights and though he never got to hear his song in full, I've decided to publish it here for
free download. I've no picture of his hat so I'll put in a photo of the one I used to wear at Kilnamartyra. It's the link to 'Mikey's Hat'
For Mikey, a big man with an even bigger heart. A man with the Music in him!
|Mikey's Hat - The Song & its Origins - Gar Song