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1970s folk rock group who heavily influenced by the likes of Sweeney's Men, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span

About Spud

Spud released 2 albums on the Philips record label - their 1975 debut 'A Silk Purse' and 'The Happy Handful' (also in 1975). With these two albums already under their belt, the band brought in Paul McGuinness (an old Trinity friend of Don Knox) to manage the band. Paul McGuinness (who later went on to wealth and fame as U2's manager) did his first record deal with Sonet which resulted in the release of Spud's third album, 'Smoking on The Bog', in 1978. The band toured for over 8 years and all the ex-members still play.

Their line-up consisting of Dermot O’Connor (guitars, vocals), Don Knox (fiddle), Austin Kenny (mandolin, 5-string banjo, recorders) and Michael Smith aka 'Smithy' (bass guitar).

Additional information from
Though Horslips still evoke fond memories, few now remember their contemporaries Spud. Indeed, glance at any of the reference books and it’s almost as though the quartet never existed nor has any of their albums been reissued on CD and original vinyl copies are highly valued. The best of these was their 1975 debut A Silk Purse, produced by Dónal Lunny who also added a touch of bodhrán and the then fashionable Moog synthesiser. Spud’s material drew heavily from both the English and Irish folk traditions, the former including the traditional Blackleg Miner and Crow on the Cradle (written by Sydney ‘Lord of the Dance’ Carter). Irish tunes and songs included Brian Boru’s March (very reminiscent of Horslips) and Newry Highwayman. Spud’s sound was light, cheery, riff-ridden and entirely string-driven, their line-up consisting of Dermot O’Connor (guitars), Don Knox (fiddle), Austin Kenny (mandolin, 5-string banjo, recorders) and Michael Smith aka ‘Smithy’ (bass guitar) with vocals shared. Two more albums followed (1975's A Happy Handful and, two years later, Smoking in the Bog, by which time O’Connor had been replaced by drummer Dave Gaynor and multi-instrumentalist Ken Wilson), but folk-rock’s popularity was on the decline and Spud finally had their chips soon afterwards.


Mary McGetrick wrote on 2022-12-04 00:00:00:
I knew Smithy when he was in a group called the Theme which was a, very long time ago.
Eugene Burns wrote on 2020-04-19 00:00:00:
Don and Smithy went on to join The Rye River Band nearly 10 years ago. Smithy stayed a few years but then emigrated to the Banagher area. Don remains with the band.
Jimoleary wrote on 2019-02-15 00:00:00:
Spud regularly played Belfield in the mid-70s. 10 years later Don was with the One-Eyed Rattlers - I often heard them in the Wexford Inn(?) Not many people know that they headlined at Slane Castle in 1988. OK, it was a wedding, but it was a great gig.
Martin Byrne wrote on 2018-06-10 00:00:00:
Play regularly with Mike Smith (Smithy)now living in Banagher Co Offaly he also plays with the Merry Ploughboys anyone wanting more info can contact me
sandra dixon wrote on 2014-08-25 00:00:00:
i shared a flat with Ken Wilson in Dublin. Would love his contact information if Lena or Sara have it. thanks go Spud
tom hayes wrote on 2014-05-15 00:00:00:
Saw Spud a few times in the early 70s in Limerick,always enjoyed them.Their 2nd and 3rd Albums have been released on cd some years ago but strangley still no release of their 1st on cd.They were released on Kissing Spell Label in 2008.
Jimmy Farrell wrote on 2014-03-10 00:00:00:
We used to go hear Spud every time they played either Rakish Paddy or The Rustic Inn. Some of the best times of my life!
Nicola Kerr wrote on 2014-02-15 00:00:00:
I am an old friend of Ken Wilson. Does Lena and Sara know where he is now and what hes up to?
albert mills wrote on 2012-10-01 00:00:00:
played in creative mind with ken woul love a contct adress
Max (Tino) Tinsley wrote on 2012-09-30 00:00:00:
Lena (Bergsten), I am trying to contact Ken Wilson who was a close friend of mine in the late 60s when we played music together in N. Ireland. I am hoping you can give me a current contact location wrote on 2012-03-07 00:00:00:
my children and grandchildren love listening thanks for the memories hope to here you in 2013
Lena Bergsten wrote on 2012-01-15 00:00:00:
Hi there, I remember you guys well!!Especially Ken ofcourse,since we have a daughter,Sara. Ken and I are still in contact!!
Lawrence McCann - son of - Lawrence McCann wrote on 2011-08-16 00:00:00:
Hello Don! Do you still have that exquisite JB Collin Mezzin
robert wrote on 2011-01-08 00:00:00:
hi don, big fan, many"s a brillant night in dan loureys, cant believe its so long ago. is it true spud are reforming???
tomtum wrote on 2011-01-05 00:00:00:
Pat Hussey wrote on 2010-11-25 00:00:00:
The memories of Spud will live with me for ever. The best group of my youth, the nights of fun in the Rustic Inn Co.Longford Thanks for the Menories
Austin Kenny wrote on 2010-10-17 00:00:00:
Patrick, I remember Henning well - the man for whom we named Finders Favourites. I would love to hear from you.
Austin Kenny wrote on 2010-10-17 00:00:00:
Sara I would love to hear from you
Sara wrote on 2010-10-11 00:00:00:
I have to say that i like this page! Ken Wilson who played in the band is my father!
Marek wrote on 2010-09-18 00:00:00:
In mid 70 I was working in Stockholm in Engelen and met SPUD there. It was fun, Smithy offered me a jeans jacket wich is on the cover of Happy Handfull (still there). I have 3 records, so if somebody is interested :
terry from derry wrote on 2010-09-16 00:00:00:
met and still married to the lady i met at a gig spud done at the point great band that brought all the best people to
Patrik Unge wrote on 2010-05-30 00:00:00:
I used to have a tape of live recordings from "Engelen" so I still remember many of your songs. Wish I had the albums.
Patrik Unge wrote on 2010-05-30 00:00:00:
Hello Don! Spud used to play at a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden called "Engelen" in the mid 70s. My step father, Henning Finder, was the manager there for a few years. I was like seven years old at the time and you guys were one of my favourite bands.
Dee and Fergal wrote on 2010-05-07 00:00:00:
Most rocking landlord ever! : )
Dee and Fergal wrote on 2010-05-07 00:00:00:
Most rocking landlord ever! : )
Aidan wrote on 2010-02-12 00:00:00:
I should have said they were a truly great band! Please re-release the albums, better still reform.
Aidan wrote on 2010-02-12 00:00:00:
Saw them many times in Point Inn Donegal from 73 to 74. I worked, and still do, in Altnagelvin Hodpital. A large contingent of staff made the trip every time they played, great days. Met them when they played the nurses home, Altnagelvin.
Mark Rafferty wrote on 2009-12-09 00:00:00:
Where can i get a hold of your music, my father was a massive fan and i want to get the albums to him for christmas if possible. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks wrote on 2009-11-12 00:00:00:
where can I buy the 2 albums
steve duggan sports center ballroom cavan wrote on 2009-10-09 00:00:00:
one of the best bands to play at my venue
Dave McGloughlin wrote on 2009-05-07 00:00:00:
I loved Spud too and had great fun in 1981 when I managed to get Sonnet in Sweeden to send me both Silk Purse and Smoking. Don and Smithy played at my wedding in Skerries as the One Eyed Rattlers in 1992 and I hve great shots of us all jamming that night.
Tony Fisher wrote on 2009-03-20 00:00:00:
I am a huge Horslips fan, but I also love Spud - I have Smoking on the Bog and A Silk Purse and they are very fine albums. I definitely recommend them, if you can find them.
Patty Dayton wrote on 2009-02-22 00:00:00:
Do you guys still play? I have a great, hairbrained idea ..Would love to get you over to California to play at a great new Irish pub in Sacramento. Used to LOVE seeing you at the Baggott Inn in 1975-1976
Roy Condon wrote on 2008-12-14 00:00:00:
Don I wonder if you remember me I was Dermot OConnors friend and was wondering where he was
Andie (Andreena) wrote on 2008-10-25 00:00:00:
Hi Don, Just found this web site,brought back many happy memories from the "Waverley" days and still have old cassette of songs from "Spud" which you copied for me. x
pam wrote on 2008-10-23 00:00:00:
Does Don remember touring Sweden many years ago. I was on the same boat
Santry wrote on 2008-09-04 00:00:00:
I knew Austin Kenny - His Dad was the standup comedian Tony Kenny and some days in his house in Donnycarney you would have The Bachelors + Spud + Paul McGuiness while right across the road Barney McKenna would be making a call from the local phone box.
Brendan O'Connell wrote on 2008-08-05 00:00:00:
I had the pleasure of seeing Spud play at the scouting Jambora at Mount Melleray in 1977, Horslips and the Chieftains also played.
john ahern from cork city wrote on 2008-07-24 00:00:00:
me again i seen them back in the good old 1970s when smoking on the bog was out in the metrapole hotel in cork city i am a drummer myself into bands like 80s magnum etc but i liked spud a great bass player smithy and don knox very good fiddle player
john ahern from cork city wrote on 2008-07-24 00:00:00:
they are better than whats around today
Barney wrote on 2008-06-16 00:00:00:
How can I get my hands on the album "Smoking in the Bog? wrote on 2008-04-04 00:00:00:
Thanks for clearing that up Don
Don Knox wrote on 2008-04-04 00:00:00:
Spud discovered Paul McGuinness not the other way around.We had already released 2 albums before I asked Paul{an old Trinity friend} to manage the Band.
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