To those that come to this site to hear classic Irish music well you are in for a treat. Granted it will be a little different than Planxty or Dervish, a bit different than the Ivy leaf or Chieftains, but classic Irish at it’s best.
Thin Lizzy is classic Irish.
Formed in Dublin on a wing and a prayer, fighting for traction for years and an overnight success over a decade of hard work, to, in the end, have a tragic conclusion. The Thin Lizzy fire though burned brightly and changed Rock and Roll, and Rock and Roll listeners as well.
If you research the rise and fall of the band Thin Lizzy you will find a traditional Irish song may have been their salvation. The traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey in the Jar” was released against the bands knowledge or wishes by their record label at the time Decca. The single went to number one on the Irish charts, topped the english charts and Europe as well.
There’s two lessons in this little ditty,
You never know what the listening public is thirsty for, sometimes they just want to hear a rocking version of a classic Irish traditional song.
keep on throwing spaghetti at the wall eventually it sticks.
In 1976 seven years after the core of Thin Lizzy formed their most famous album was released. This came after near hits and lots of misses occurred, guitarist fired, rehired, record labels changing, band choices criticized, and long weeks as back up bands on tour. The glorious life of a not yet discovered Rock band. Not yet discovered until “Jailbreak” was produced with the bands most iconic single.
The best thing about his album, though many don’t know what an album is, is it had great complimentary songs as well. the Albums title song Jailbreak is a rock and roll classic with that banging dual guitarist assault.
Then there are the other great tunes such as cowboy song or the Warrior and the less known song Emerald.
But when you are done listening to the whole collection from the Jailbreak album you are either exhausted or invigorated.
The sad part of this tiny snippet of the bands accomplishments really ends with the death of The voice of Thin Lizzy Phil Lynott at age 36. So to pay homage to the music of the man that was Thin Lizzy (though the band continues) we’ll end with one of my favorite Thin Lizzy tunes and a little light hearted and hopeful.
Dancing in the Moonlight.
I have no idea if the writing on this little post is good bad or awful as I’ve spent all my time listening, I miss Phil Lynott.
January is almost done, and many can’t wait till a nice april breeze blows a bit of spring their way. In lieu of a spring breeze maybe a tune will help the winter blues. We all know it’s a long long way to spring and Clare as well.
I always loved this Irish song, reminds me of many of my friends originally from Ireland. It especially reminds me of a mighty Clare man Alphie Crow a real character and friend who left the earth too soon.
The next Irish tune is a beautiful air by Finbar Furey.
I remember the time in Mister Dooley’s in Boston when there was a mystery guest showing up and a free trip to Ireland on the line with a Guinness promotion. The buzz was that U2 was in town and maybe Bono was coming in. It was Finbar Furey instead, I couldn’t have been more pleased.
I’m a sucker for a slow air.
Sometimes you just need to hear a modern classic, and growing up in Boston none could be more classic than Tommy Makem. So the next song will be his classic tune that most probably think was written ages ago.
If you listen to Christy Moore singing the rambling classic lisdoonvarna there is a great line in there about Brook Shields singing Four Green Fields, would have liked to have heard that, but then again there are songs only Makem can sing.
And why Not?
Every time I hear this song I want to pack my bags and jump on a plane and make my way to Clare.
I would like to end this little bit of song and tunes with a song from Seamus Moore, usually Seamus sings funny little ditties but I kind of like this little tune about life slipping away
The Boston Celtic Music festival was the place to be last weekend the 8 th and 9 th of January 2016 for witnessing a wide variety of great Celtic music.
I managed to attend the Saturday afternoon shows held at the club Passim and across the street in the three floors of First Church. Having attended these shows it makes me wonder what I missed at the other events held at the Atrium venue.
A Few hours of sampling The Boston Celtic Music Festival ,
I managed to catch an Irish Folk sing along in the attic room of the Church hosted by the Kelly Girls Folk group. It was a pleasure to listen and join in with this talented group of women. Their vocal talent and love of the music and enthusiasm to perform shown thru brightly. Check out their website thekellygirls.com
Next I ducked in to the main room at the Church and caught some of Boston’s best piper Joey Arbata, but honestly the room was packed so I headed into the Parlor stage, I like that name. In the Parlor were two older women playing Scottish style fiddle music, they were excellent performers of their craft and the Scottish trad was a joy to listen to. For all my time at sessions and sing alongs how could I have not gone to more Scottish trad events? Well I’m making it a point now.
More Boston Celtic musicians took over the Parlor and proceed to give their versions of “A Celtic Dylan”, Bob Dylan that is, really enjoyable. Folk singers interposed with flutists whistlers fiddlers and funk, go figure.
My day ended with a nice dose of Kerry trad performed first by Dan Arcardi on box and Sasha Hsuczyk playing fiddle, They are The Rushy Mountaineers. There are many sides to Irish music and these two highlighted a very specific style,
” The Rushy Mountaineers bring you traditional Irish music in the regional style of Sliabh Luachra, specifically focusing on the repertoire of the legendary Julia Clifford. The music is played in the old fashioned way with a fresh appreciation for Clifford’s unique versions of tunes.”
Sharing the stage with The Rushy Mountaineers were Caroline O’Shea and fellow flutist Tim Buckley again two of the most talented Irish wind players in the Boston area. A nice set of reels and pure flute playing just fantastic. the hour ended with a collaboration of these talented Irish musicians with a celtic trad free for all which ended in thunderous applause.
All in all a great take and one that takes place annually, so when you are thinking about New years resolutions next year, why not resolve to head to the BCM fest in Cambridge Ma. Better yet Check out the artist listed on the Boston Celtic Music Fest schedule and see them this year.
It was on an occasion to the famous Johnny Foxes on the Dublin Wicklow border that I had a fantastic serving of sea scallops and to wash it down of course a beautifully poured pint of Guinness. Now this was a great combination, the Irish venue, fresh sea scallops, and of course the pint of joy, but as I found myself back in Boston it lost just a little bit in translation.
The solution? Guinness of course.
The original dish consisted of some huge sea scallops broiled with a touch of butter, but being that I don’t own a commercial broiler I proceeded as follows.
Sea scallops in Guinness sauce.
This Guinness recipe is easy as pie to make and delicious
1/2 a small onion or shallot
4 to 5 large sea scallops
1 nice glob of butter
dash of Guinness (about 2 ounces)
1 medium frying pan
2 16 ounce cans of Guinness
dice the onion into very small pieces
add half the butter to pan then add onion until clear and soft 2-3 minutes on a medium high heat.
add more butter, then add the scallops adjusting heat so the scallop browns without burning, scallops cook quickly about 2 minutes a side and I like to brown the edges of the scallop as well. Once scallops are browned and are slightly hard in feel remove from the pan onto a plate, then add the Guinness to the pan and stir like crazy for a minute or so, scraping all the browny bits from the pan. add one more bit of butter a bit of salt and pepper to taste and pour over scallops. Pour 10 ounces of Guinness into a 1/2 imperial pint glass to sip while dressing plate with a side of potatoes of your choice and reserve remaining 4 ounces of Guinness.
The nicest thing about this Guinness recipe is that it requires you to use 2 ounces or so of a 16 ounce can of Guinness, which following the principles of conservation really needs to be put to a good purpose. I like to pour another 16 ounce widget can of Guinness into a properly sized 20 ounce tulip glass and top it off with the aforementioned extra from the recipe. I mean the math is perfect 2ounces for recipe, 1/2 imperial pint to sip while cooking scallops or 10 ounces which leaves 4 ounces to add to a proper imperial pint glass to enjoy with dinner.
As the New Year starts it seems many Irish Americans and Americans of all stripes seem to forget their History. The American experience is rooted in a people that escaped the tyranny of the royal English crown, where we felt free enough to state the freedoms of man.
The Freedoms seem to be less important to some and of the utmost importance to others. I intend to remind all Irish Americans and Americans of all stripes of these rights of man that set America apart and indeed make it a place people wish to emigrate to.
The first Ammendment to the Constitution, known as the first of the Bill of rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It says the government can’t make you join a government religion and can’t stop you from following your own religion. It says nothing of separation of Church and State, It says nothing of being non religious, it states nothing of voting with your personal religious beliefs. It does stop the government from forcing you to join the state sponsored religion, it does stop the government from imposing penalties on the electorate for not joining the government sponsored religion. It stops the government from imposing it’s opinion on you.
This amendment stops the government from imprisoning you if you disagree with the government. Which under the current administration is slightly re assuring, though if our representatives don’t have the guts to stop tyrannical leaders what good are words on a piece of paper.
The second Amendment
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
It does not say the rights might not be infringed, or shouldn’t be infringed it states
“the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Why is this so cut and dried? Well remember our forefathers freedoms were wrestled from the tyrannical monarchy, fought for in the American revolution. Many lost all so that we now can live fat and happy and willing to give these hard fought rights away to our current tyrant of the week.
Many say that the gun is the problem, that if the gun is outlawed all will be utopia. This logic is comforting to some but is the most dangerous attitude to attack self government. In the words of George Washington, He was the first president of the United States, in case you did not know.
“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
Which brings me to the current resident of the presidency, He wishes to find an executive order to limit the right of citizens to bear arms. I conclude that this tyrant wishes to issue an edict to outlaw our bill of rights. What is next, will he issue an edict that all speech be monitored? religions be screened? it’s a very slippery slope.
It would serve all to think why they came to America, it would serve all to remember why this experiment in self government was successful? It would serve all to read their US Constitution and their Bill of rights. Do not let people con you out of your inherited freedom. Do not be afraid to speak out, it is the most important of our bill of rights and what the tyrants are most fearful of.
The Irish drum or Bodhran is a handy way to give some backing to an Irish tune. There are really just 2 things you need to remember about playing a Bodhran.
1. Don’t take over the tune.
The Bodhran is a backing instrument, it should not drive the beat as you are not buying a stairway to heaven. the bodhran follows the rhythm of the melody players, they set the beat. In the end the Irish drum is a musical instrument and needs to be practiced and honed. It is advisable to take lessons from someone who actually plays Irish music and knows it’s place in the session. Now you have a little more leeway when playing Irish folk tunes as many are changed to fit the musicians style. Needless to say you don’t want to be that player who picks up that neat looking Irish drum and bangs and whacks the hell out of it. You know the guy every other player hates and will politely or not so politely avoid.
2. Know how to pronounce the Irish drum, it’ a bodhran.
I was buying some Bodhrans from Waltons music. Beginner skins, good to start out on, When I told the representative I heard different pronunciations of the Bodhran.
So, In the famous words of Leo Doherty of Waltons Music, Dublin,
“It’s a Boorahn you Moron”.
I had to laugh and why I love Leo, he got to explain the pronunciation and give me the needle at the same time. That explanation has stayed with me for twenty years and it is still the best way for newbies to remember hoe to pronounce it. You will hear a multitude of Irish variations. but you will never go wrong if you use your inner moron to pronounce bodhran.
The best Irish Christmas songs are the ones that make you remember the goodness of Christmas, So I’ll start with three very different Irish Christmas songs
My favorite Irish Christmas songs.
Frank Kelly’s Christmas countdown
2. No More beautiful a sound than Fionna Kennedy singing Na Hu O Ho.
This can be found on the “Celtic heartbeat Christmas”.
Na hù o hi, na hù o hò
Hu o ù o eile
Na hù o hi, na hù o hò
Nach truagh leat mi ‘s tu ‘n Èirinn
‘S ann their iad rium on chaidh thu null
Gum bi thu tric aig fèilltean
‘S gum bi thu cuspaireachd le mùirn
Ri Màili ruadh an Èirinn
Ged sheòladh tu air feadh a’ chuain
‘S ged ruigeadh tu an Èiphit
Cha thrèiginn thu air sgàth do chliù
‘S cha toirinn gèill do bhreugan
O nach robh agam sgiathan caol
Gun siùbhlainn thar na slèibhtean
Gu seinninn-sa mo dhuanag gaoil
Ri fear tha tàmh an Èirinn.
I have found only one translation into english and where it was on a sketchy website I don’t want to spread any falsehoods, but the story seems to be of love lost to Ireland love lamented, hoping for love to return again to the place of their birth in Scotland.
If you love different music and songs for the season this is a beautiful cd, a nice change of pace from the more recognizable Christmas tunes.
3. The most popular modern Irish song for Christmas time? The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”
And if you don’t love this song, then you don’t understand what it means to be Irish, and of couse Shane is a musical genius. It’s one of the rare songs that trad players can’t wait to hear sung and Folk singers take off their hats for.
Merry Christmas and more Irish Christmas songs to follow, if you have a favorite Christmas song leave a comment.
You go to a nice session or maybe listen to an Irish folk singer belt out a good Irish song, nice. Under extreme social pressure you order a perfect pint of Guinness. Now many would say this first sip is the the best Guinness of the night. I’ve found this to be untrue. In fact research shows it’s the second Guinness.
Granted you first need to be sure you are getting the best pint of Guinness available. The Guinness needs to be poured properly. The Guinness needs to be at the right temperature. It should be poured using the proper ratio of C02 and Nitrogen gases. I could go on and on about the glass, as it needs to be served in a proper imperial pint Glass. The glass could be the now established Guinness gravity pint glass or the good old tulip glass. But even with all the conditions met, the first sip of the first pint, still isn’t the best pint of Guinness.
Indeed, I have found that the second Guinness is the best tasting, most rewarding and most pleasing to the palate. After exhaustive research in pub after pub, ordering and tasting perfectly poured pints of guinness, and only for the benefit of the readers of this humble blog, I have come to this monumental conclusion:
Your second Guinness tastes the best
But don’t take my word for it.
According to Yahoo Health and a 2013 study in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology there’s a reason the second Guinness tastes better.
“Well, there’s a reason having a drink feels so relaxing — a 2013 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that, even before you feel buzzed, sipping beer releases the famous feel-good hormone dopamine. This lights up the reward centers in the brain, which in some people, can increase the desire to have another …”
So it’s that dopamine that knows the second Guinness tastes the best, sounds more like something my wife would say. As in that dope of mine is out back herding cats. But I’ll go with those Neuroscientists. They’re wicked smart.
So, This combination of Arthur Guinness’s creation, pour correctly from the tap. Served at the correct temperature of between 42.5 to 44.5 F (6 to 7 celsius). Using the correct gas mixture of 75% nitrogen 25% C02. Poured in a proper imperial pint glass, and combined with the physical affects of the pleasing neurological characteristics of consuming the first pint combine to make Your second Guinness taste the best.
Now I’m off to the Brendan Behan for a really nice session and to figure out the reason that pint number Three might not be the best.