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Celtic Collection

Irish musician Gerry O'Beirne has CD of his own after contributing to others.

January 01, 1998|JAMES E. FOWLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Celtic music artist Gerry O'Beirne, who's performing Sunday at the Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood, has made a career of working on other people's recordings--but now he's finally released a CD of his own.

"Half Moon Bay" is O'Beirne's first compilation of his original songs and guitar solos, but he has accompanied and produced CDs for other Celtic music artists, such as Maura O'Connell, Andy M. Stewart, Patrick Street, Kevin Burke and more.

So, what was it like being the featured performer for a change?

"It's different. When you produce other artists, you can see what's there," O'Beirne said. "It's the old story of not seeing the woods for the trees. But once I decided what songs [to record], I just did it."

O'Beirne hails from Ennis in County Clare. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980s and worked in the L.A.-based Irish band Train to Sligo. Nearly a decade here was enough, and O'Beirne moved his base of operations to Dublin about seven years ago.

Still, he estimates that he's touring about four months a year and spends several additional months producing records in studios around the world.

His own CD had some tunes that were recorded in studios in Nashville and in Edinburgh, Scotland, but most of the work was done back home in Dublin. "Half Moon Bay" is available through O'Beirne's Web site, www.Songs.com/Gerry, but if you don't have a computer, you'll have to sample his music the old-fashioned way. Just go hear him live.

* Gerry O'Beirne, Sunday, 3 p.m. at the Raven Playhouse, 5233 N. Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. $5-$12. (818) 727-9014.

Covers by the Scarletts: Keyboardist Alicia Morgan said it seems like only yesterday that she joined the Scarletts.

"It's about two years ago around this time of the year, around Christmastime," she said. "I'd never played in an all-girl band before, but they knocked me out.

"It's been a great musical fit."

The Scarletts are an all-female, R & B cover band that specializes in obscure classic sides by such artists as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett. The band has been holding down a regular gig every other Saturday night at Residuals for the last three years, and recently began performing Wednesdays at Cozy's in Sherman Oaks.

Besides Morgan, the Scarletts include singer Gia Ciambotti, guitarist Lauren Ellis and bassist Lynne Davis. Striking a blow for equal opportunity, the women use a rotation of several drummers--all men.

"The guys we use are so good--they're on tour most of the time--so we can't depend upon just one guy," Morgan said. The rotation includes Herman Matthews, John Molo, Steve Stevens and several others.

Morgan said the band is contemplating a CD.

"We've been thinking about it," she said. "We're looking at studios."

Until then, you'll just have to hear them live.

* The Scarletts, 9 p.m. Wednesday at Cozy's Bar & Grill, 14058 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 986-6000. Also, every other Saturday night at 9 at Residuals, 11042 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 761-8301.

*

Shuffling Dance Clubs: Another year goes by. And in the Big Valley, some things change and some things stay the same.

While the blues resurgence is still strong this side of the Santa Monica Mountains, dance clubs have been changing ownership and their musical direction.

Mancini's, a fixture on the Valley rock music scene since the mid-1980s, was sold in September. The new owners have changed the name to Casa Tequila, and they feature live reggae and Latin music.

FM Station, a longtime haven for heavy-metal acts and tribute bands, has also morphed into a Latin dance club, Salon Corona.

It's another year, and another promoter is announcing that he's going to revive the Country Club in Reseda to its former "greatness." This is taking on some attributes of urban myth.

The Country Club was created in the late 1970s to compete with the Palomino. Unfortunately, the Universal Amphitheatre came along in the 1980s and put them both out of business. The Palomino, its hallowed history notwithstanding, still stands closed and unused except for the occasional movie shoot. Oh, well, that's progress.

Bourbon Square in Van Nuys, a popular Valley nightspot since the late 1960s, closed this year, and it too still stands empty.

Pelican's Retreat, which closed in 1995 while it was still drawing huge crowds most nights of the week, reopened in early 1997 as Borage, a fancy supper club with jazz on the weekends. Then it morphed into Fusilli's, and now the club presents some of the same acts--Boogie Knights, Urban Dread--that Pelican's did two years ago.

Why mess with success?

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