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“Wolfe Tones 55 - The Ramblings of an Irish Ballad Singer”

is the new 350 page autobiography by Brian Warfield, the main singer-songwriter of Ireland’s iconic ballad group, The Wolfetones, who have been part of the Irish music scene for over six decades. In his new book, Brian narrates the rise from a two-up, two-down council house in Inchicore to emigration and subsequent signing by international label Fontana Records as fresh-faced teenagers, as he and his friends navigate the rise of the ballad and folk boom in the UK and Ireland through the tense-ridden 60s and early 70s. The book opens with some acutely personal stories about each band member, along with rare photos of their early childhoods. It also includes a chapter on the role of the balladeer through Ireland’s turbulent past. This balladic raison d'etre, (i.e. to document and build a picture, much like the role of a movie director) inspired Brian and became the foundation stone for his fifty-six year songwriting career, through the waves of media dissension and Section 31, where a blanket ban was placed on every Wolfe Tones song, for the best part of thirty years and, still remains there to this day.

The Wolfe Tones and their role in the Irish ballad boom had oft been omitted by revisionists, whose aim is to clearly to write the band out of history, to blacken their name, wielding the pen as a noose, which ironically reflects the balladeers fate throughout the previous millennia.  Once darlings of the media and national TV from the 60s through to the 80s, as ‘the troubles’ escalated, the Wolfetones found themselves cast into musical Siberia as they continued to write and sing thought-provoking ballads, which explored the troubles and miscarriages of injustice such as “The Guildford Four,” “Joe McDonnell,” and other historic songs of previous rebellions, such as “God Save Ireland” and “A Nation Once Again,” which were now labelled as pro-IRA. 


The band, whose vast catalogue of work is mostly ignored by the media. How they became pigeonholed as a one-trick ‘rebel band’ pony is explored in the book, narrating the inspiration behind their back catalogue and its wide-ranging subject matter. The Tones catalogue is vast and varied and replete with songs of love, Shakespeare, loss of the Dublin trams, old Irish folk tales, growing old, characters of Dublin and forgotten heroes of Ireland. The reader is reminded that many of these songs are omitted by the media in a bid to paint this rebel pro-republican picture of the band. The book discusses the irony that the band are honoured throughout the world with citations, keys and freedom of cities, yet exiled to the wilderness in their native home. The events that inspired the songs are described in a humorous and light-hearted way along with the rigors of touring, the split with Derek, near-death misses, and the troubles, weaving in  dialogue from the characters they met along the way.

Brian commented: “This took over a year and a half of my life to write – it showcases my life’s work and after fifty-five years, I thought there was a book or two in me! I think it’s important to remember that our band has reflected Ireland in song for over half a century, probably more than any other band – covering subjects others feared: we’ve documented as much as we could in our ballads; the troubles, emigration, the hunger strikes, suicide, the Irish abroad, unemployment, middle age, humour and football. Anything really that affected me or inspired me to write. It has taken courage to paddle our own canoes – in the words of my song – but I wanted to remain true to the ballad tradition and I hope people read the book to understand the band and our legacy.”

Prepare yourself for a journey through Ireland, its history, its ballads and the story of an iconic and legendary Irish band from the past half a century 

"The Ramblings of an Irish Ballad Singer" - a new book by Brian Warfield is available to buy online at The Wolfetones Shop.:

* Hardback Book Only €35
* Hardback Book Boxset with 2 CD's and 2 DVDs €49.95.

You can also purchase the book at Alan Hannas bookshop in Rathmines  or Waltons music shop Blanchardstown 

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