Comeback kings Fair Exchange prove a big hit on YouTube

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A pop band that was formed 35 years ago, took “a short break” for 23 years and reformed two years ago is preparing to release its debut album later this year.

A pop band that was formed 35 years ago, took “a short break” for 23 years and reformed two years ago is preparing to release its debut album later this year.

Fair Exchange are building momentum towards that landmark release with a series of CD singles, the latest of which, ‘Grafton Street’, appeared in the last couple of months.

‘Grafton Street’, another slice of goodtime pop over a ska beat, was written by guitarist Johnny Casey and recorded and produced by Joe Gallagher at Gaff Studios in New Inn. It features the additional talents of Clonmel musician Peter Taylor on trumpets and Joe Gallagher on guitars.

“The album will be all original material and we’ve already recorded five songs”, says Johnny Casey. Videos for two of those tracks, ‘Just Like Jamaica’ and ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’, have been uploaded onto YouTube, where they’ve received hundreds of hits.

The plan now is to keep writing songs and release the album towards the end of the year, with a date of October/November a likely option. In the meantime the band will perform the occasional gig locally, including an appearance at Clonmel’s Junction Festival in July.

Fair Exchange were formed in Cahir in 1979 by Charlie O’Neill, Johnny Casey, Joe Shine and Anthony Fitzpatrick and played extensively in clubs and pubs around the south east.

They decided to take a short break in 1983, which lasted for 23 years. They reformed in 2006 to write, record and release a double A-sided CD single to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Despite receiving little or no airplay, ‘Hope/Beach Party’ spent three weeks in the IRMA Irish Top 50, peaking at number 43.

They took another break in 2008 but three years later the founding members - Casey, Shine and O’Neill - were joined by Tom Grace, and once again Fair Exchange were back in the game. Encouraged by the favourable reaction to their comeback they released the singles ‘Bob Marley On My MP3’ and ‘Beetle Camper Van’.