Tag Archives: BLACK 47

Horslips, Black 47 and me on TV

May 24, 2010

A couple of weeks back I was down in NYC to be interviewed for a
documentary series for Irish TV. The series traces the journey of an
Irish man named Micky MacGowan who emigrated  at the end of nineteenth
century and worked his way across North America before striking it
rich in the Klondike Gold Rush. This fella’s memoirs “The Hard Road to
the Klondike” were the inspiration for Horslips to make some of their
finest albums; Aliens, The Man Who Built America.
Anyway, Barry Devlin and Jim Lockhart formally members of the artists
know as Horslips wanted to speak to me about Celtic punk in the US –
where it comes from, what does it mean and why it could only come from
anywhere but Ireland. So in the back room of Paddy Reilly’s I
bullshitted away about all of the above and anything that came into my
mind, which wasn’t much – bloody hard to think when surrounded by a
camera crew and being grilled by two musical legends. I did my best!
Later in the night at Paddy Reilly’s, Jim and Barry joined Black 47 on
stage as their 20th anniversary gig was filmed by the boys from TNG
for inclusion in the documentary. Black 47 were on fire that night and
honestly in a setting like Reillys Black 47 are the best live band in
the world!

After a few pints and some reflection on the night and being really
impressed with the lads from Horslips I thought it would be great to
put together a Celtic-punk tribute to Horslips – basically these guys
started it all and wouldn’t it be great to bring it all back to where
it started

So, if your interested in contributing a track let me know I’ve a
couple of spots left to fill

Black 47: Iraq

Somewhere deep down I just know B47s main man Larry Kirwan gives thanks for GWB. I’m not saying that beneath the veneer of an East Village liberal is a gun toting red neck (and haired) Republican, but if it wasn’t for GWB and the Iraq war then B47 would still be stuck in the neutral gear they have found themselves in for the last few years. “Iraq” has again given Black 47 that purpose they had in their early albums. For those of you new to the scene and unfamiliar with Black 47 – the basic B47 sound is a familiar traditional Irish foundation built upon by horns, punk’n’pub rock (and the blues!!! in “Sadr City”) along with Kirwan’s Springsteen like lyrics that on Iraq look at the war though the eyes of the ordinary s olider, Iraqi and loved ones left behind (“The ballad of Cindy Sheehan” is touching – though still I think she is insane). Still one of the best and most original bands out there.



Seanchaí and the Unity Squad: Irish Catholic Boy

It’s amazing how many different musical styles Seanchaí and the Unity Squad can squish into one CD and weave so seamless together – Celtic, Rock’n’Punk, Hip Hop, Electronic, Reggie and even Middle Eastern. “Irish Catholic Boy” kicks off with the balls to the wall guitar and uilleann pipe title track. Then it’s off to Black 47 meets electronic territory with “Gypo” from John Fords masterpiece “The Informer” and “Ernesto Guevara Lynch.” (though you can call me a cynic but had Che’ not been executed he’d have most likely turned into a old murdering bastard of a dictator like his buddy Castro and for that matter does anyone think had Collins lived would have been any different from Dev). The temp drops on the next few tracks as Rachel Fitzgerald joins Chris Byrne on vocals then takes over and man does she have an incredible voice. The electronic “Pope John II, Jerry Springer, and me” is very clever – Chris call’s into Springer’s radio show and run’s rings around the bloviating Springer.


Review – Mustard Finnegan

Black 47: Bittersweet 16

Bittersweet 16 is not so much a best of Black 47 but instead a chronological history of B47 starting with their first recording back in 1990 (the cassette only ‘Home of the Brave’) and with one song from each subsequent year through to the present – rarities, previously unreleased and alternative versions of live favorites from their now deleted major label releases. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to B47 and this is a great reminder to me how good this band really is and how well the songs have stood the test of time (16 years later and ‘Home of the Brave’ a song about illegal immigration and George Bush seems very current) . Definitely something for both the old and new fan here.



Andrew Goodsight’s MusicHead: GloryTown

Fucking side projects, Huh? What’s the deal with these damned things? If I thought the bass player of one of my all time favorite bands should be the singer I’d tell him so! Who is Drew to go out and do this? Well after checking out his website for the band at http://www.andrewgoodsight.com I was quite surprised the kid’s accomplishments! I still see him as the kid making out with some guys girlfriend in front of the men’s room of the Half Door, as the boyfriend rushes him I step in the way grabbing the guy and turning him around telling him he didn’t want that kind of trouble. Then having to walk the guys to the van so they didn’t get jumped by the boyfriend laying in wait outside!

He’s just a chill bass player that likes to have a good time and couldn’t be mellower to talk to, who knew he had it in him to write such soulful and colorful songs. Is it really Irish music, or even punk rock, well um no, but he’s been the bass player for the most influential and commanding Irish Icon rock bands for quite some time and he deserves this recognition. Besides he covers Christmas Lullaby and does it about 8 thousand times better than Shane ever could, mainly because Drew has all his front teeth!

There are twelve tracks on this CD that take you through a nice mellow ride of sound and consciousness. My favorite tracks are by far the title track, his two covers and Riffing for a Change. As far as dedicating a song to P2 the Black 47, well wrangler/tour guy/ driver/ roadie/ guru and straight man was in keeping with even though this is a serious release he has fun with it, the song you ask? The Amazing Spider Man theme song!

Go find this CD for two reasons, one you secretly need a chill out album in your collection of Macc Ladd’s, GG Allin, Gobshites, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. And secondly it’ll impress chicks that you enjoy this deep indie music.



The Rover413

Black 47: New York Town

Granddaddies of the whole Celtic-Rock scene in the US, B47 are back with their first studio album in 5 years – since the disappointing “Trouble in the Land.” “New York Town”, is Larry Kirwin’s attempt to compose a musical picture of his adopted home town, pre and post 9-11. I know on the sleeve Larry mentions Joyce and Ulysses and asks not to be compared but I do see a strong comparison in concept to Joyce’s “Dubliners” – a collection of unrelated short stories set in the general vicinity of a city (Dublin) in and around the same period of time, touching on the lives of ordinary people. On “New York Town”, like Joyce, Kirwin paints a picture of the lives of real people – the hero’s, the villains and working stiffs that make NYC the greatest city on the earth. Musically, NYT is B47s least “Irish” sounding release. B47 have always been the sound of the Irish ghettos of Queens and the Bronx sticking its toes into the pool of ethnic sounds of the rest of the city. But on NYT, B47 have taken that plunge head first and enveloped themselves in the sounds of the city as a whole. The additions of guests like David Johansen (New York Dolls) and Christine Ohlman adds some spice to the mix but on the other hand highlight the weaknesses in Larry’s own voice.

March 2004



Who doesn’t miss Chris Byrne? Black ’47 lacks a certain toughness without the ex-cop uilleann piper, who left them to focus on his Celtic hip-hop group, Seanchai & Unity Squad. There’s a new uilleann piper, but his vocals aren’t very gruff. Still, so many of Black ’47’s songs are fun, catchy, even moving, and their horn-laden Irish-y pop rock sound is undeniably unique. As usual, if you can get past singer Larry Kirwan’s lectures and new-wave-y voice, and the fact that the drummer plays a goddamned drum machine, then you might want to pick this up. The disc does its part by accurately capturing a Black ’47 live set, complete with jigs and reggae jams; it’s up to you to fully replicate the experience by drinking Heineken, throwing cigarettes around, and whooping it up in a T-shirt that depicts a Bud Light logo within a shamrock.

February 2002

By Pat Kennedy