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More Ryan’s Fancy songs on CD

“What a Time: Volume 2” will be released on Tuesday at a show at O’Reilly’s Pub.
“What a Time: Volume 2” will be released on Tuesday at a show at O’Reilly’s Pub.

In 2011 Fergus O’Byrne and Denis Ryan released a double CD collection of Ryan’s Fancy’s music titled “What a Time: A Forty Year Celebration,” and on Tuesday night O’Byrne is releasing a second volume.

“What a Time! Volume 2” will feature 22 more Ryan’s Fancy tracks, but the idea behind the release is to have the music easily accessible to their fans.

Most of the original releases have been on vinyl and 8-track, says O’Byrne, and they can be hard to find these days.

“There had been a lot of demand. People had the vinyl and people had it on tape, but I was always getting asked, ‘Well, how come it’s not on CD?’” O’Byrne said. “So I eventually took the original project back in 2011 to Spencer Crewe, who works at Music, Media and Place, and he had the ability to clean up the vinyl, which we did and it turned out great and that two-disc volume was a really big seller. It was on the Top 100 chart in Canada for several weeks.”

After the success of the initial Ryan’s Fancy compilation, there has been a demand for even more music from the band’s now 46-year history, O’Byrne says.

“So finally I got around to going at it again. It’s a single disc this time with 22 tracks on it, and it’s on Jim Payne’s Singsong Inc. label,” he said. “But with this one I went back to Spencer with it and I wanted him to do the same job. So that was great.”

With this new CD came an unexpected opportunity for O’Byrne and Ryan’s Fancy.

“Where (Crewe) works with Music, Media and Place and they’re affiliated with the folklore department at Memorial (University), they got wind of the project and said, ‘We’d like to be involved if we could and approach it from an academic look at what the band was,’” O’Byrne said. “So between the jigs and reels of it we ended up with two folklorists at Memorial writing academic notes, both on the band and our influence, you might say, on the Newfoundland music scene and the cultural scene at the time.”

With help from Memorial’s folklore department, this collection of Ryan’s Fancy songs will be more than just a CD. It will also include a brief history of the band, says O’Byrne.

“When you open it up there’s a lot of information inside, and there’s also the 14-page booklet with very extensive notes.”

A CD release show will be held at O’Reilly’s Pub on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m., with performances of Ryan’s Fancy material by special guests Chris Andrews, Colleen Power, Michael Hanrahan and The Freels.

“It’ll be a meet and greet. I think it will be somewhat of a, sort of, old friends seeing each other who haven’t seen each other for a long, long time. It’s an appreciation of the public support I’ve had over the years.”

“What a Time! Volume 2” will be available at Fred’s Records, O’Brien’s Music Store and online at singsonginc.ca.

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