I don’t do a hell of a lot of drinking, so that aspect of St. Patrick’s Day is lost on me. I prefer to stay clear of the pubs and the drinking thang on one of America’s three biggest amateur days (along with Cinco de Mayo and New Year’s Eve). So I’ve brought Five Songs out of cold storage (aka Winter) and will commemorate in my own way — with a band long near and dear to my half-Irish heart, Black 47. In particular, a magnificent seven of songs that have to do with Ireland or the Irish-American experience.
I was disappointed when “The Big Fellah” wasn’t used in the film Michael Collins, but surprised when it eventually turned up in, of all places, a series about a California biker gang (Sons of Anarchy).
Also here, of course, is the other big Irish martyr in Larry Kirwan’s pantheon, James Connolly, as well as the instrumental “The Reels,” a highlight of any of their shows, when girls usually come up on stage and show their stepdancing prowess; and the cheeky (is it true or not?) “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave.”
The other three songs deal with the Irish-American immigrant experience. “Funky Ceili” recounts the circumstances behind Larry leaving Wexford for New York in the mid’-’70s. “Living in America” speaks for itself. And, since Black 47 has always been against playing the traditional Irish fare (and, as such, paved the way for Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys), there’s Larry’s spin of “Danny Boy” into a tale of a young gay Irishman in the City.
Anyway, it’s time to go. Slainte!
The Big Fellah — Black 47
James Connolly — Black 47
The Reels — Black 47
Funky Ceili — Black 47
Livin’ in America — Black 47
Danny Boy — Black 47
I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave — Black 47