CD Black 47 (CD 527278), Audio Other
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Black 47

  • 1. Banks of the Hudson
    2. Rockin' the Bronx
    3. Desperate
    4. Funky Ceili (Bridie's Song)
    5. Fanatic Heart
    6. Free Joe Now
    7. 40 Shades of Blue (For Kevin Wherever You Are)
    8. James Connolly
    9. Blind Mary / Her Dear Old Donegal (Sleep Tight In New York City)
    10. Livin' in America
    11. Land of Devalera
    12. Paddy's Got a Brand New Reel
    13. (Untitled) - (hidden track)
    14. (Untitled) - (hidden track)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 272

  • Credits
    ProducerLarry Kirwan
    EngineerJohnny Byrne; Julio Pena

    Black 47 includes: Larry Kirwan (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, percussion); Carmel Johnston (vocals, fiddle); Mary Courtney, Margie Mulvihill (vocals); Mike "Il Duce" Fazio (guitar); Tony DiMarco (fiddle); Chris Byrne (whistle, Uileann pipes, bodhran, background vocals); Fred Parcells (whistle, trombone, background vocals); Margie Mulvihill (whistle); Geoffrey Blythe (saxophone); David Conrad (bass); Thomas Hamlin (drums, percussion); Mark Blandori (bodhran); Deborah Berg, Cheryl Marshall, Emily Bindinger (background vocals).
    Additional personnel: Eamonn DeValera.
    Black 47's self-released debut album brought joy to the hearts of their growing downtown cult following and made the eyes of major label A&R men light up with dollar signs. The band's punky insouciance, sense of humor, and hooky fusion of Celtic, American, and Jamaican musical influences looked like an awful lot like a winning commercial combination at the time. Black 47's subsequent SBK releases (some of which featured re-recorded versions of these same songs) flopped, but ten years later you can still hear what everyone got so excited about in the raw energy of this debut. Bandleader and main songwriter Larry Kirwan is a terrible guitarist and a worse singer, and he has an embarrassing tendency to throw tired catchphrases around like someone trying to prove that he's fluent in American slang, but somehow it all seems to work in his favor here: "Desperate," with its uillean pipes and slow-skanking reggae beat, is an agonized wail of longing for a middle-class family life ("I want a Donna Reed, but she'd think I'm too kinky"), while "Free Joe Now" and "James Connolly" rail against the British domination of Ireland in terms that will guarantee the band a hero's welcome in any South Boston bar. Even when the lyrics get overwrought and the singing grates, Black 47's crack horn section, judicious choice of traditional tune structures, and boundless energy will keep you involved. This one and Live in New York City (on Gadfly) are the two to own. ~ Rick Anderson

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