The Johnstons


Colours of the Dawn


Wooded Hill HILLCD 9; 35 minutes; 1996 CD reissue of 1971 LP


Perhaps no Irish band from the 1960s has dated as much as The Johnstons who recorded six albums for the Transatlantic label between 1968 and 1972. Colours of the Dawn was the fifth of these and it is not just Paul Bradyís horn-rimmed spectacles which gives away its age, but both the choice of material (Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot) and its subjects/titles (Angela Davis, the title track itself, Brightness, She Came) as well as the tinny sound and often twee arrangements.


Indeed, only one track of the nine present here, Ian Campbellís Old Manís Tale, specifically written to sound like a traditional song and played traditional style, does not sound of its time.


Nobodyís to blame, of course, but the albumís really only of interest to anyone wanting to catch an aural glimpse of Mick Moloneyís mandolin technique, keen to trace the development of Paul Bradyís voice and career or smile happily at Lucy Johnstonís somewhat fey harmonies.


Geoff Wallis


16th March, 2004




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