I was lunching with two of Horslips – originators of Celtic rock – yesterday and much badinage was exchanged, with the conversation turning to things ‘that Donovan invented’ (i.e. things he didn’t). ‘Obviously, he invented Celtic rock,’ I said, to chortles all round. And then I vaguely remembered something. ‘Hang on… y’know, I think he *did’ record a track called ‘Celtic Rock’… Jim locked it up on his gadget – sure enough, in 1970, a year before Horslips began, Donovan recorded ‘Celtic Rock’. Gobsmackery all round. Situations in which one realises that, yes, the Don *really did* invent something must be rare indeed! 😀
There have been at least three Ali MacKenzies in the pantheon of rock, and I come here to celebrate and introduce the most obscure of this trio…
First, there was Ali MacKenzie of London cult 60s freakbeat act The Birds, then there was lanky pianist Ali MacKenzie, stalwart of the hits-era Suzu Quatro band in the 70s. Coincidentally, the latter was – like the Ali MacKenzie I’m about to introduce – from Northern Ireland, and at a point in the early 2000s both of these Ali MacKenzies (‘MacKenzi’?) could be found in the infamously scuzzy, spit and sawdust pub-rockers the Flange Band, a version of which can still be found beneath the spilt beer and gutters of Bangor, County Down.
The Ali MacKenzie I come to praise is a world-class bass player I’ve known since the mid-90s, a man who has seemed strait-jacketed or at least implausibly confined within blues bands and cover bands when, in my view, he should be a member of the post-Entwistle Who or Jeff Beck’s band, or the like, bestriding the stadiums of the world like a colossus. Partly, living in NI is an impediment to any musician having wider opportunities, partly, Ali’s very humble, » Continue Reading.