Thursday, March 17, 2011
ERIN GO BRAGH
Black 47 earned their chops playing the pub scene in Manhattan and self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars' Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album. The band celebrated their 20th year in 2010, but I wanted to take a look back at their major label debut, which still serves as their finest hour.
Black 47 espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock 'n' roll, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. Larry Kirwan writes music of an epic nature, and on this album, every track is memorable.
In short, this disc nails it. With its disparate roots and influences, the album sounds like Springsteen influenced by traditional Irish music instead of R&R and R&B. Black 47's music encompasses a range of subject matter and emotion, all tied together by the recurrence of the "Living in America" theme throughout the album.
This band was doing Irish punk alongside the Pogues and before Flogging Molly or the Dropkick Murphys. Veterans of thirteen albums on various labels, if anyone is left standing, it will be Black 47.