Cherry Red (label)
26 January 2024 (released)
02 February 2024
Mama’s Boys were the pride of Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh in the eighties, through to the early 90’s. Part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Three brothers from a musical family, Pat McManus on guitar, John on bass and vocals and Tommy on drums.
Inevitably, there are comparisons to Thin Lizzy and Horslips, but they are definitely more in the metal groove than those two luminaries.
They were working in a Northern Ireland scene without its own record labels, so their first few singles and their first album ‘Official Bootleg’ were self-produced and self-financed. Decidedly raw, there are a lot of influences apparent, but they make a great noise with a lot of passion and intensity. They basically recorded their live set and it has some grand energy about it.
‘Plug It In’ was also self-financed but you can definitely hear the development of their sound. Production is cleaner, their drum sound properly miked and Pat’s guitar developing past the simple riffs of the first album. By this time they were touring regularly and playing support to Hawkwind & Thin Lizzy as well as Wishbone Ash. The metal magazines were beginning to pick up on them and they were definitely a band on the rise.
The third CD, ‘Turn It Up’ was still independently released and sees the sound gaining more polish. John’s vocals are clear and double tracking Pat’s guitar gave them a more ‘American’ feel. The magazines were still giving the band all the plaudits and after this release they finally attracted some label interest, signing for Jive Records and having some success through the eighties.
‘Relativity’, their last album, was released in 1992. They had brought Mike Wilson in on vocals and the sound of the band had gotten heavier and more metal than before It is also the most satisfying musically.
Unfortunately, Tommy had a re-occurrence of leukaemia and although he had a bone marrow transplant, he died in 1993.
The package includes a CD of their early singles, B-sides, live numbers etc and a good booklet.
Well worth the investigation.