Revisiting Heartworm from Whipping boy

Let’s take a walk back in time to what we believe is one of the greatest and sometimes often overlooked Irish albums of all time from Whipping boy. The band consisted of Myles McDonnell – bass, backing vocals Fearghal McKee – vocals Colm Hassett – drums and Paul Page – guitar

I was 16 the first time i heard Heartworm, it came out around the same as Smashing Pumpkins “Mellon Collie and the infinite Sadness” on November 1995.

It was a Friday evening and i remember finishing up school and running up to Mix Master record store on the market square in Castlebar to pick a copy each of two of my favourite albums on tape.

I remember hearing the album for the first time, man it was gloomy but for me it hit all the right notes. The opening track, “Twinkle”, right through to “Morning Rise”.

It felt as though something very special was going and Whipping boy knew exactly the state of the world at the time.

If you were Irish growing up in a strict catholic background this was a love letter to the rest of the country. Fearghal McKee’s haunting vocal always left a shiver down our spine especially on tracks such as “When We Were Young” . The lyrics read

The first time you got drunk
You drank pernod and dry cider
Smashed a window in as the police came round the corner
You didn’t have no time to run
And your dad stood up for you
As the judge said you’re a fool

If you were in your youth in the mid nineties those lyrics rang a bell to every young lad who either wanted to get stoned, drunk or make love to their loved one. Even now i am sure most of you reading will understand that feeling. The album had everything, emotion, desire, lust everything an Irish teenager wanted in their teenage angst.

Of course this album you should never be forgotten, it raised so many emotions and topics back in the nineties. If you find yourself reading this piece i recommend you take a time capsule and go back in time, find this album, play it loud and try to remember a more innocent Ireland.

Luckily years later i had the chance to work with Whipping boy at a venue in Castlebar called Bar Ritz and what a memorable show that was, but that is a story for another day.

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