“The Pogues were actually from London but there was never any denying the Irish blood in their veins. Not to mention Guinness, Jamesons, all manner of other substances, particularly front man, Shane McGowan. But they made it all work, found the raw punk heart of all those jigs and reels and shanties and faerie stories, set them on fire and unleashed an Irish folk revival that none us realized we needed until we heard it and then f*** yeah! How had we ever lived without it?” (Philip Random)
“I discovered Summertime in England in springtime in Ireland, care of a cassette I’d randomly picked up because it was on sale in a kiosk at a bus station, and Van Morrison was Irish, of course, and it made sense to have some of his music with me as I wandered his homeland in my rent-a-car, drank Guinness, wondered what the hell I was actually doing there, which I eventually realized had something to do with finding myself at a place known as the Bloody Foreland, extreme north west of Donegal, so called because every now and then, at sunset, everything turned a fiery, almost unearthly red. And I caught one of those sunsets, with Summertime In England playing, of course, the last half in particular, where ole Van has to just go to Church, spill his soul out to the entirety of everything everywhere forever. One of those magical mystical moments that makes you shut up and not think about it anymore, you just know. God is real, God does exist, and she’s a Van Morrison fan.” (Philip Random)
Fisherman’s Blues is the album where main Waterboy Mike Scott went to Ireland for a few days, ended up getting lost on the west coast somewhere, not returning for years (or so the legend goes, and goes, and goes). We Will Not Be Lovers feels like the result of a powerhouse jam session wherein rock and folk attitudes piled into each other in a sustained and brilliant collision. “The words are pretty sharp as well, concerning the opposite of a love. Not hate so much as … well, you know the feeling. You look that other in the eye and all you can see is carnage. And yet you are compelled.” (Philip Random)
“It’s true. St. Dominic’s Preview (the song) should probably be way higher on this list. I guess I was just feeling a little allergic when I was compiling things – the danger inherent in loving any particular song too much, playing it too many times. Which is definitely the case here. You hear people talk about Celtic Soul – well, this is it, magical, mystical yet entirely grounded, even as it yearns and it reaches and … well, what the hell’s it about anyway? It’s about many things, it’s about everything, I suspect, it’s about cross-cutting country corners and every Hank Williams railroad train that cried, and Belfast being a hell of lot farther away than f***ing Buffalo. And the rest of the album‘s pretty damned strong as well.” (Philip Random)
Taste, straight outa Cork, are one of those bands that genuinely should’ve conquered the world way back when. They had the songs, the presence, the power, even the likes of John Lennon and Eric Clapton singing their praises. But for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. We got two albums of taught, tough blues based r’n’r and then it was breakup time. Main man Rory Gallagher took off on a prolonged and committed solo career that only really stopped when his liver finally failed. And of the other two, not much more was ever heard.
In which that band from Ireland (still not quite a household name), make it very clear what they believe in: the atomic bomb, the powers that be and the halls of Christ’s Church. All worth celebrating apparently.
“A Thin Lizzy rocker that neither boogies nor woogies. It’s just heavy and strong and full of threat, though of what I’m not quite sure, maybe something lurking in the deep Irish night. Found on 1976’s Johnny The Fox, which is one of those albums that nails its place in time. Not punk, not metal, just rock, good and hard.” (Philip Random)