"North and South of the River" - Moore, Christy, Bono and The Edge


U2 Related Content:

Full Track Listing (1995):

  • North and South of the River (with Bono and the Edge) (4:13)
  • First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
  • Viva La Quinte Brigada

Full Track Listing (1996):

  • North and South of the River (Solo)
  • The Limerick Rake

Background Information

Christy Moore, Bono and The Edge collaborated on writing the song “North and South of the River”. Moore, an Irish folk singer, song writer and guitarist was one of the founding members of Irish groups Planxty and Moving Hearts. Moore had previously worked with Larry Mullen Jr, on the single “Make it Work” for the “Live for Ireland” campaign.

Bono said of the recording, “If U2 sang that song at this point, it might be reason enough for the troubles to start up again. I’ve had enough bruises and scars not to want to take things on the head in the same way anymore. I think you’ve got to be smarter now.”

The first released version of the song was a three track single with Christy Moore singing the main parts of the song, and Bono and the Edge providing backing vocals. The single was released on cassette and CD in Ireland credited to “Christy Moore with Bono and The Edge”. The single was released with an image of water waves tinted orange, with the title of the single in white. The release was on Sony / Columbia Records. This initial version of the song would also be released on a compilation of Irish songs in the 90s by the name “Celtic Heartbeat Collection Vol. 2”.

In 1996, Christy Moore, re-recorded the song and released “North and South of the River” on his own album, “Graffiti Tongue”. This version no longer had any performance by Bono and the Edge, and is a much more stripped down acoustic version of the song. That version of the song, without Bono and The Edge was also released as a single, this time on Grapevine Records, backed by “The Limerick Rake”. (Grapevine, Ireland, CDGPS-210). This acoustic version was 3:45 in length. Another solo version of the song was released on Moores “The Box Set 1964-2004” released in 2004. That version is 4:05, and does not include any performance by Bono and the Edge.

U2 themselves would record the song, without Christy Moore, when working on the “Pop” album. In the final days as U2 rushed to finish the album, Bono even proposed the song for inclusion as a b-side to the first single, but it was felt that it was too somber to be paired with “Discotheque”. The U2 version of the song would be released as the b-side to “Staring at the Sun” when the single was released as the second single from “Pop” in 1997. It also appeared on the collection, “The Best of 1990-2000 & The B Sides” in 2002.

In the liner notes to his album On the Road, Christy Moore reflected on the song, “Started this with Colm Scullion in Bellaghy and finished it years later with Bono in Dublin. A few versions kicking about but for me it’s hard to beat the Barrowland version. I enjoyed workign with Bono and The Edge 20 years ago. It was a creative experience that I still cherish…….and I still love singing this song.”

Liner Notes

North and South of the River (1995 Version): Produced by Christy Moore, Steve Lillywhite. Recorded by Walter Samuel, Danton Supple. Remixed by Walter Samuel. Featuring Christy Moore: Vocal, guitar, bodhran. Bono: Vocal. The Edge: Guitar & Vocal. James Taylor: Hammond Organ. Mike Nolan: Flugelhorn. Paul Moore: Bass. Robert Casserly: Drums. Recorded at Windmill Lane Studios / Wool Hall Studios. Mastered at Whitfield Street Studios by Ray Staff.


Sleeve design by Alma Elvin, The Feelme Partnership.

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