Scullion’s self-titled 1979 debut album included abstractions from James Joyce – ‘The Fruit Smelling Shop’. In celebration of Bloomsday next week, 16th June 2022, the band shares a reimagined version of the song, which features on their upcoming album, “Time Has Made a Change in Me”, due for release in September 2022.
Scullion member Sonny Condell reflects on how ‘The Fruit Smelling Shop’ first arrived, back in the late ’70s:
“I think songs come out of the blue, either very quickly or after a long and painful period of trial and error, it seems to depend very much on one’s mood. But it is very exciting when things go well and you find you have given birth to something new.
Sometimes when I’m trying to write a song, I get quite tired of my lyrical ideas and this was the case when I opened at random a page in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Unusually for me, I was playing around with a few piano cords at the time, (normally I use the guitar) I propped open my copy on the piano and started to try to fit the words to a developing melody.
The Fruit Smelling shop came into being very quickly, it just happened, the cord sequence worked, and the words pushed and pulled me; into a chorus where “Blazes Boylan at the counter….” Seemed to call for a strong C major, then the serving girl’s submissive “yes sir I will sir” felt like an E minor, A minor sequence.
The hard part was done, the atmosphere was all in the wonderful writing of Mr. Joyce, then I began to wonder, what right do I have to do this? I still don’t have the answer to that. But having been asked by the James Joyce Centre to do a new version of the song, has in some way legitimised the creation of the song. I’m very grateful to the James Joyce Centre for their interest and their support.”
This reimagining of ‘The Fruit Smelling Shop’ came about because of an invitation to Scullion member Sonny Condell from Darina Gallagher, the Director of The James Joyce Centre in Dublin.
Scullion had asked for and received permission to use the segment when they first recorded the tune in the late seventies. They have now recorded it for the second time, as part of the Bloomsday festivities in this centenary year of the publication of Ulysses, and for their new Scullion album.
This special recording was commissioned by the James Centre Director Darina Gallagher and captured at The Clinic Recording Studios Dublin by David Anthony Curley, and produced by Leon O’ Neill. It features performances by Scullion – band members Sonny Condell, Robbie Overson and Philip King, with strings arranged by Gemma Doherty (Saint Sister) and performed by Crash Ensemble – Cora Venus Lunny on violin, Maria Ryan on violin, Lisa Dowdall on viola, and Kate Ellis on cello.
A specially James Joyce Centre commissioned film for “The Fruit Smelling Shop” created by Myles O’Reilly (Arbutus Yarns) is available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6axKYxT0KBY
Formed in the mid-1970s, Scullion is revered and feted as one of Ireland’s most innovative, original and brilliant live bands. Their upcoming new record emphasises the band’s musical curiosity and like all of the band records, it breaks new ground. The announcement of the record came last month, as Scullion shared the first taster, a cover of The National’s “I Need My Girl”, featuring strings by Crash Ensemble, and backing vocals by Gemma Doherty (Saint Sister). Listen: https://linktr.ee/scullionband
Scullion’s new album “Time Has Made A Change in Me” is due out September 22nd.
For 2022 live show dates and tickets visit: https://www.scullion.com/tour