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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Erin Go Bragh!



I can't believe it's been over a month since my last compilation. As some of you may know, I've started coaching a local high school tennis team this Spring, and that is taking a lot of my spare time. Great fun though. Speaking of fun, is there a song that is more fun than House of Pain's "Jump Around"? How 'bout the Gaelic version in the video above? Very cool and apt for the current holiday. Here's a comp you can drink some green beer to:

Kiss Me I'm Irish:

01. The Pogues, "Streams of Whiskey" (2:33) This is probably my favorite Pogues' track from their debut long player, Red Roses for Me (1984).

02. Them, "My Lonely Sad Eyes" (2:31) Ireland's answer to the Rolling Stones, the Van Morrison led Them, are often written off as novelty band with a couple of hits (most notably "Gloria" of course), but one listen to the two disc compilation The Story of Them featuring Van Morrison: The Anthology, 1964-1966 (1997) proves they were a formidable R&B combo. This is a Morrison original from the 1966 LP, Them Again.

03. The Undertones, "Wrong Way" (1:24) This gem of a song has the unenviable position of following John Peel's favorite single. It does follow "Teenage Kicks", but this track, written by Billy Doherty, the Undertones' drummer, is nearly as good. From their eponymous debut, 1979.

04. Kirsty MacColl, "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" (3:07) Okay, this one's a stretch. Kirsty was born in England and her parents were Scottish. But she was very good friends with the Pogues and collaborated with them on numerous occasions. This was from her 1981 LP, Desperate Character.

05. Ash, "Girl From Mars" (3:30) Second appearance at Burn and Shine for these pop-punkers from Northern Ireland (see Candy Apples & Razor Blades from October 30, 2008). From their second album, 1977 (1996).

06. Xdreamysts, "Dance Away Lover" (1:58) Don't know much about these guys other than that this is the b-side of a single called "Right Way Home" which came out in 1978, and they were from Northern Ireland.

07. Dexy's Midnight Runners, "Tell Me When My Light Turns Green" (3:46) Although Dexy's formed in Birmingham, England, Kevin Rowland was ethnically Irish and spent some his early years in Ireland. This is from DMR's first album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)-- just a couple of years before they'd make a huge splash across the pond with "Come on Eileen".

08. Bap Kennedy, "Long Time a Comin'" (2:38) If this sounds a little like Steve Earle, it might be because he produced it for his (now defunct?)E Squared record label. This was Kennedy's first album, and still my favorite. From Domestic Blues, 1998.

09. Adrian Crowley, "Only Daughter/Sweet Sorrow" (3:14) I picked this up in the cheap bin at McKay's in Knoxville merely because of the cool cover:





Great song, and the album, When You Are Here You Are Family (2002), is produced by Steve Albini.




10. The Divine Comedy, "Something for the Weekend" (4:20) Another band I'm not really too familiar. I got this track from that fabulous Brit Pop Box Set that came out on Rhino in 2007. It is originally from the album Casanova (1996), definitely a band I need to check out a little further.

11. U2, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" [Martin Hannett version] (4:01) Until I got the compilation Zero: A Martin Hannett Story (2006), I had never heard a studio version of this song. I only knew it from the live Under A Blood Red Sky EP. I was blown away by this version, which actually pre-dates U2's first album Boy, but was released as a single the same year, 1980.

12. My Bloody Valentine, "(When You Wake) You're Still In A Dream" (3:18) Loveless is often considered MBV's magnum opus, but I'm convinced that the album that preceded it, Isn't Anything (1988) is just as good, and, perhaps, was even more influential.

13. Virgin Prunes, "Sandpaper Lullabye" (3:08) One of the more adventurous bands to come out of the post-punk scene-- certainly the most adventurous to come out of Dublin. This track is positively tame, almost pretty, by their standards. From their debut album, A New Form of Beauty, 1981.

14. Rollerskate Skinny, "Swingboat Yawning" (3:49) Considering the amount of adulation the likes of Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, the Flaming Lips, even Mercury Rev has received, I've always wondered why Rollerskate Skinny never got their due (terrible name? raw deal from Warner Brothers? who knows?). Seriously, Horsedrawn Wishes (1996) is criminally under-appreciated album-- find it in a cheap bin near you.

15. Stiff Little Fingers, "Barbed Wire Love" (3:32) These punks from Belfast might have been just out of step with the times. Their debut, Inflammable Material, came out in 1979, and they sounded a little closer in spirit to the original 1977 punks than the Joy Divisions and Gangs of Four who were all the rage at the time.

16. The Boomtown Rats, "Lookin' After No. 1" (3:10) Speaking of 1977, that's just when this single was released by Bob Geldof & Co. It sounds just as powerful today.

17. Snow Patrol, "Tiny Little Fractures" (2:29) According to AMG: "Although Snow Patrol was formed in Dundee, Scotland, vocalist/guitarist Gary Lightbody and bassist/keyboardist Mark McClelland were both originally from Northern Ireland." From the album Final Staw, 2004.

18. Elvis Costello, "Less Than Zero" (3:19) Sure Elvis was born in England, but as a friend of mine explained, "Costello (Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus) was born in England. His paternal grandfather, Patrick, was the son of Irish-born parents, but Patrick was born in Mersey, meaning Elvis was third-generation English. But Elvis has always worn his Irish heritage on his sleeve, which pissed off the Pogues back in the day, who felt he was an English Johnny-Come-Lately to the Irish party." Probably my favorite artist represented on this comp, and, coincidentally I chose another track from 1977, from My Aim is True.

19. That Petrol Emotion, "It's a Good Thing" (2:34) After the demise of the Undertones, the O'Neill brothers (the main songwriters for the Undertones, though neither of them sang lead for that band) formed TPE and had some minor success, especially in the UK. This is from their first and best album, Manic Pop Thrill (1986).

20. The Waterboys, "World Party" (4:01) Fisherman's Blues (1988) was my introduction to the Waterboys, though they had been releasing records for about five years by that time. If I were to rank my favorite Irish albums, this would be top 5 for sure.

21. Sinéad O'Connor, "Mandinka" (3:46) O'Connor made quite a splash with her debut, The Lion and the Cobra (1987). Though she's had a commendable career, she never quite fulfilled the promise of this one.

22. The High Llamas, "Put Yourself Down" (4:22) Another Irish ex-Pat who moved to England, Sean O'Hagan's High Llamas have made quite a career out stealing elements of Steely Dan and the Beach Boys. On this track they even cop the mandolin sound of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion". From the first High Llamas album, Santa Barbara (1992).

23. Thin Lizzy, "Running Back" (3:17) Essentially a rewrite of "The Boys are Back in Town", but forgivable since it's from the same album, Jailbreak (1976).

24. Van Morrison, "The Way Young Lovers Do" (3:18) Astral Weeks (1968) is generally considered at or near the top of the list of greatest albums in the history of pop music. It's an album that reveals itself to me a little more every time I listen to it. It's quite complex, and "pop" might not be the best word to describe it as this track, with it's fabulous brass arrangements, clearly demonstrates.

25. Jonathan Richman & Julia Sweeney, "Just Because I'm Irish" (1:54) I would imagine anyone born in Boston is at least part Irish, even if it's just spiritually. This is a great little track featuring an SNL alum who really is Irish. From You Must Ask the Heart, 1995.


Total Time: 1:18:49

Download it here: Kiss Me I'm Irish!

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