My world was West Belfast. I lived with my family of five brothers and four sisters. The Troubles was raging and the British army was on the streets. Day in and day out there were incidents of killing and bombing, and all sorts of minor stuff that went unreported. My world was both brutal and full of love and support.
It was 1979. I was a 17 year-old corner boy but I was also a bass player in a new wave band called 'The Bankrobbers'. A fledgling song writer, a particular piece of melody had taken up residence in my brain and every time I was alone it came to visit.. On my way home one night from my girl friend's I passed a riot which had just been dispersed and the smoke of sulphur from rubber bullets fire was still hanging in the air. Still elevated by the feeling of young love I thought, Belfast you are like heaven, you are like hell. When I got home I sat down and wrote 'Belfast', 10 years later it got to number 48 in the British charts and number 1 in Ireland with my band, Energy Orchard.
Reaching back to 17 year-old Joby Fox and reflecting on my own journey and that of my city I recall meeting the son of a reverend from the Shankill Road through the local music scene. We formed a friendship that has lasted till this day. Belfast was a polarised city; you were either or in those days. Today thankfully, most people that I know have transcended the labels that they were given or had taken on.
'We have come a long way together”, I thought when writing a 3rd verse for a new revised and rerecorded version of 'Belfast' - 33 years later. The 'flag issue' had just kicked off and it seemed that we needed to be reminded, that although we have come a long way, we still have some way to go. “Hold my hand so we both can be free from the trouble and the darkness”, I wrote. The only way we are going to find peace is together. We have shared the same dark space for so long and only we know the blinding truth of what it takes to move on...
ALL PROFITS GO TO MY FAVOURITE CHARITIES - ClicSargent and Wave Trauma Centre
released September 24, 2013
Written, arranged and produced by Joby Fox
Recorded and mixed by Cormac O'Kane
Featuring Ria Maguire, Nick Scott on bass, Peter McKinney on drums, John Fitzpatrick on viola, Liam Carville on piano and Mark Kane on guitar
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