Performing with a lengthy list of bands, Kavana has blended the musical traditions of the British Isles with blues, country, Cajun, rock and other influences. His collaborations have brought him together with influential musicians from the worlds of British soul, blues, rhythm & blues, rock, Irish folk and folk-rock, and worldbeat music. A talented songwriter, Kavana has written songs exploring history and politics, as well as drinking, dancing, and playing music. The Village Voice has called him a “hard-hitting, no-nonsense realist”.
1.1 Early career
1.2 Solo career
1.3 Academics and current career
2 Discography (partial)
2.2 with The Bucks
2.3 with LILT
2.4 with Juice on the Loose
3 In film
5 External links
After cutting his early musical teeth in a R&B band, the Wizards, Kavana moved to London in the late 1970s. He got a job at Rock On Records, replacing Philip Chevron, who was leaving to work full time with his band, The Radiators From Space. In 1977, Kavana put together Kavana’s Krisis Band, playing regularly at Islington’s Hope & Anchor, a hot spot of the 1970s London soul scene. This band evolved into Juice on the Loose, who became something of a house band for Ace Records, with Kavana as band leader and producer. During this era, Kavana and members of the band toured and recorded with many legendary American acts, including Big Jay McNeely, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Willie Egan, Dr. John, Dough Sahm, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jiminez, Wallace Davenport, Gatemouth Brown, Memphis Slim, Champion Jack Dupree, and Slim Gaillard. Kavana appears on Juice on the Loose’s self-titled album, released on Line Records in 1981. Other Juice on the Loose recordings would surface on Kavana’s first solo album, Rollin’ & Coastin’ (In Search of America).
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Kavana also played with Panama Red, The Thunderbirds, The Balham Alligators, and The Alexis Korner Band. Following a European R & B package tour backing Korner, Kavana played an anniversary show for the Boogie Woogie Band’s anniversary at Dingwalls, with an all-star band that included Charlie Watts on drums and Jack Bruce on bass.
Kavana released his first solo album, Rollin’ & Coastin’ (In Search of America) in 1985, on the Italian record label, Appaloosa. The album was a compilation of solo tracks and Juice on The Loose recordings.
In the mid/late 1980s, Kavana opened several tours for The Pogues, whose management considered him as a replacement for departing bass player/singer Cait O’Riordan. The band chose road crew member Darryl Hunt for the job, but Kavana makes several appearances on The Pogues’ album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, and co-wrote two songs with Pogue Terry Woods: “Every Man Is A King (In The U.S. of A.)” and “Young Ned Of the Hill”, the former released originally as a B-side and the later included on The Pogues album Peace and Love.
In 1990, Kavana produced the album For The Children. Featuring 29 guests (including several members of The Pogues), the album was a fundraiser for LILT (London Irish Live Trust), a charity organization working for peace in Northern Ireland.
By the late 1980s, Kavana had formed the eclectic group Alias Ron Kavana. The group was subsequently named “Best Live Act in the World” by Folk Roots Magazine in 1989, 1990, and 1991. The Alias Band’s first album, Think Like a Hero, was released in 1989. Alias Ron Kavana’s second album, Coming Days, followed in 1991.
Terry Woods joined forces with Ron Kavana and recorded the album Home Fire, released as Kavana’s second solo effort in 1991. The two appear together in the 1990 Ken Loach film, Hidden Agenda, performing the Wolftones’ song “The Ballad Of Joe McDonnell”.
After quitting The Pogues, Woods joined with Kavana and formed a new band, The Bucks. This lineup recorded the album Dancing to the Ceili Band, released in 1994 on WEA. The album and the band’s live shows were well received by fans and critics, but disbanded after a short time. Kavana cites lack of label support as a reason, and claims he “never got a penny” for the album.
Returning to the Alias Band, Kavana recorded Galway to Graceland (ARK 002) in 2005. The album was self-financed and produced independently. Due to financial difficulties it was deleted before getting a full release.
Kavana again entered Pogues territory, this time playing guitar in an early version of Shane MacGowan’s band The Popes. Kavana’s guitar work can be heard on “Haunted”, a duet featuring Sinead O’Connor. He also came up with the tune for “Snake With Eyes of Garnet” from MacGowan’s first solo album, The Snake, although he received no credit for this work.
Academics and current career
In 1995, frustrated by problems with record labels and the music business generally, and finding himself in the hole financially, Kavana took a three year break from the industry, enrolling in a full time Humanities course, graduating with first-class honours in Irish Studies and Film Studies.
Working on and off for several years, Kavana released a two-disc set Irish Songs of Rebellion, Resistance and Reconciliation in 2006. This was followed by the 2007 four disc set Irish Ways: Story of Ireland in Song, Music & Poetry. The albums followed Irish history through songs and poems from 1796 to the present day. The albums are credited to The Alias Acoustic Band.
Rollin’ & Coastin’ (In Search of America) - 1985, Appaloosa
Think Like a Hero - 1989,1995 Chiswick
Coming Days - 1991,1995 Chiswick
Home Fire (with Terry Woods) - 1991, Green Linnet
Galway to Graceland- 1995, Alias Recordings
Alien Alert (with The Resident Aliens) [live] - Proper Records, 1999
Irish Songs of Rebellion, Resistance and Reconciliation - 2006, Primo Records
Irish Ways: Story of Ireland in Song, Music & Poetry - 2007, Proper Records
with The Bucks
Dancin’ To The Ceili Band - 1994, WEA
For the Children - 1990, Alias Records
with Juice on the Loose
Juice on the Loose - 1981
(see also “Rollin’ & Coastin’ (In Search of America)”)
Kavana has appeared in and/or composed music for the soundtracks of such films as Sid and Nancy, Ryan’s Daughter, and Hidden Agenda (1990).
^ Philip Chevron, 15 January 2010, writing on the Pogues’ on line forum: http://www.pogues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2808&start=15
^ All Music Guide entry; also Ron Kavana, interview printed in liner notes of Kavana’s 1999 live album “Alien Alert”, published by Proper Records.
^ All Music Guide; also Ron Kavana, interview printed in liner notes of Kavana’s 1999 live album “Alien Alert”, published by Proper Records.
^ Pogue Mahone Kiss My Arse: The Story of the Pogues, by Carol Clerk, published 2009
^ a b Ron Kavana, interview printed in liner notes of Kavana’s 1999 live album “Alien Alert”, published by Proper Records.
“Ron Kavana Page”. Proper Records. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
“1998 Interview/Article: The philosophies behind Ron’s Songs: Ron Kavana - great songwriter and sometimes philosopher”. FolkWorld. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
Edited by BenMcNevis on 20 Dec 2010, 15:41
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