Ireland has been responsible for spawning a multitude of fabulous rock musicians; U2, Phil Lynott and the remarkably underrated Horslips to name just a few, but guitar heroes seem to be the Emerald Isle’s absolute forte. Rory Gallagher from Ballyshannon, Gary Moore from Belfast, and smack in the middle (in geographical terms) Pat McManus. Moore and Gallagher both went on to worldwide fame but Pat seemed to have missed the boat somewhere on the line to total stardom, a combination of bad luck and the traitorous nature of the music business contributing to this outcome.
Pat had two siblings, Tommy and John, and all three brothers came from a very musical family so it was only natural for the trio to pick up the instruments their parents had lying around the house and start to learn their craft (by the age of seven Pat had already appeared on national television). When the three brothers saw the Irish rock band Horslips it was love at first sight and they started following them all over the country, finally becoming friends with the members of the band.
This naturally progressed to the three McManus brothers forming their own band, with Pat on guitar and electric violin, Tommy on drums and John on bass. During a radio interview in Ireland a disc jockey made a comment on how young they all looked and called them “mama’s boys”. The name stuck and Mama’s Boys toured everywhere and anywhere, supporting such diverse acts as Thin Lizzy, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Rush and Wishbone Ash, as well as playing Reading Festival and supporting Deep Purple on their comeback concert at Knebworth.
Despite being constantly tipped for stardom and with seven powerful studio albums and numerous live and compilation discs produced between 1980 and 1992, the call for fame never quite came. In 1992, Mama’s Boys transformed into The Government, but this lasted only for one single before a halt was called. Tragedy then took over as brother Tommy finally succumbed to leukemia, which he had first been diagnosed with at the tender age of nine.
Pat McManus turned to session work for a few years after this but was finally coaxed out of retirement and formed the Pat McManus Band. Playing constantly in America and Europe since 2008, Pat has released five solo albums plus two live offerings, including this showcase set.
The studio efforts are good but it’s the live albums that really catch fire, playing a selection of songs from throughout his career, including five songs from Mama’s Boys days, a cover of Slade’s “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” as well as more recent solo stuff. Pat switches easily from playing the Blues to shredding his guitar, to ripping up things on his electric violin. He is nicknamed ‘The Professor’ and that track on this album is possibly the standout.
Looking every inch the rock star at 56, there is still a huge future for this incredibly talented musician. Now backed by long time drummer Paul Faloon and Marty McDermott on bass (Gordon Sheridan took the honors on bass on this album), Pat and his band are a true force to be reckoned with and a must see if they come to a hall near you. Better still, buy this album.
Pat McManus Band:
Pat McManus – lead vocals, guitars and electric violin
Gordon Sheridan – bass guitar and backing vocals
Paul Faloon – drums
Low Down Dirty Blues
I Take What I Want
Got The Right
Back in the Saddle
Same Old Story
Return of the G Men
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Needle in the Groove
Note: Written by Mott The Dog and Hells Bells. Mott The Dog and cronies are often to be found supping a few ales amongst frivolous conversation in Jameson’s Bar Nova Park Hotel, Soi AR, North Pattaya.