Ronnie Drew's 'Last Session' turns to jazz


Late folk legend Ronnie Drew looked to jazz to fulfill his final musical ambition on the last album he recorded before his death.

The former Dubliner’s final collection of songs, entitled The Last Session: A Fond Farewell, draws on traditional jazz influences - a genre Drew believed had eluded him during his long career.

His son, Phelim Drew, said the album, which features duets with some of the country’s best-known musicians, gave his father a purpose during the months before his death last August.

“When Dad recorded this album he still had hopes of recovery so he didn’t regard it as his last,” he said. “At the time he was very sick so the album gave him a reason to get up and out and work.

“He felt that jazz was a style he hadn’t really investigated so he got to get rid of that regret.”

He was joined in the studio by a host of musicians including Shane McGowan, Emmanuel Lawler, Mary Coughlan and Mike Hanrahan, whom he also counted as friends. The collection includes old favourites such as Molly Malone, along with McGowan’s A Rainy Night In Sohoand The Auld Triangle.

The album, which goes on release on Friday, was recorded from last November to May this year - just three months before Drew lost his battle with cancer. A donation from each CD sold will be made to a cancer charity chosen by the family.

Plans are also in the pipeline to release a book on Drew’s life that the singer had been working on during the months before his death.