Captain Ed on “real” Irish music

Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey (the guy who beat me for "Blogger of the Year" in 2005) and the Michelle Malkin-founded site Hot Air are usually good sources for right-wing political commentary — not Irish music nerdery. And yet Irish music nerdery is exactly what I found there, to my great delight, thanks to my Google News Alert for "’barra macneils’ | ‘liam clancy’ | ‘tommy makem’ | ‘clancy brothers’." Here what Ed wrote on the topic, they day before St. Paddy’s Day*:

“Danny Boy” is a beautiful, haunting song … the first thousand times you hear
After that, it gets pretty tiresome, and even more so to those in the Old
Country who tire of supplying renditions of it for American tourists. Irish
music consists of much more than “the pipes, the pipes are calling” and “I’ll
take you home again, Kathleen” — which owe more to America than Ireland. …

The Irish tolerate Danny Boy and the other “Irish songs” of America, but only
just. When my uncle visited Ireland almost 30 years ago, he asked one publican
where he could hear authentic Irish music. The Irishman asked, “Oh, you mean
like Danny Boy and I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen?” “Yes,” my uncle said.
“Nearest place I know is Boston,” came the reply. …

If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some authentic Irish music, try
listening to The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Lunasa, The
Corrs, or even U2.

Hear, hear! (Morrissey later added the Pogues and The Dubliners to his list. I’d add the
Wolfe Tones, the Irish Rovers and, for a rather different but still related style,
Flogging Molly. And then you can branch out into Irish-inspired Atlantic Canadian bands like Great Big Sea, the Barra MacNeils, etc.)

I have to make a confession, though. For all my nodding in agreement with Captain Ed and making fun of the "sort of maudlin stuff that Bing Crosby sang," yesterday I totally cued up "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" on my iPod and, in unison with ol’ Bing, sang it to my shamrock-clad baby girl, in honor of St. Paddy’s Day. I feel so… dirty. :) But hey: she does have really beautiful Irish eyes. And when they’re smiling, they’ll steal your heart away!

Hey, sometimes it’s okay to be maudlin. :)

(Relevant background for those who haven’t read it: "Tommy Makem, 1932-2007 … and what he means to me." More here.)

*Or the day after St. Paddy’s Day, depending on your perspective.

3 Responses to “Captain Ed on “real” Irish music”

  1. dcl says:

    I’ll certainly take the Old Dun Cow, The Foggy Dew, etc. over Danny boy… Ack I hate Danny Boy… Don’t forget Silly Wizard though…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did you catch the Colbert Report segment about the banning of “Danny Boy” in an Irish bar on St. P’s Day?

    Good stuff.

  3. Joe Loy says:

    “Hey, sometimes it’s okay to be maudlin. :)”

    Ah! Well then, with your Permission… :} [Sniff. / Oh, boo hoo! ;]

    And now for a wee change of Pace…

    “…I’d add the Wolfe Tones…”

    Ah, HA! Hard core, are yez. ;> Begob and isn’t it the official travelling entertainment corps of the Provisional Óglaigh na hÉireann. And here I thought Politically Controversial merely meant the Reverend Wright :>. [Of course the lads are all nicely Decommissioned now. Turned in their tin whistles and everything. / Well. Might’ve kept the odd bodhrán in the thatch. For emergencies y’know. ;]

    But in conclusion, don’t forget the younger generation.