A diverse decade of Irish music
“The bones of our ancestors are buried in the field behind the shed/they could be lying there oblivious/underneath cement before I'm dead/roundabouts and one way streets/double yellow lines to beat the band/still takes you longer to get anywhere,” sings Davy Carlton on “Out for a Smoke.”
“If Only” told of unexpressed love from the bog, while “Stars Over Cloughanover” was a starry eyed view of the gorgeous skies overlooking Ireland’s left coast.
“Your Guitar” was a riff heavy rocker and a loving look at domestic life about writing a song on the guitar that is a son’s Christmas present.
This album also told stories beyond the stone walls where the grass was green.
Sinead O’Connor: “Throw Down Your Arms”
Sinead flew to Kingston, gathering top Jamaican musicians including drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, guitarist Mikey Chung and trombonist Nambo Robinson to record in Bob Marley’s Tough Gong Studios.
They lock into a ferocious roots groove from start to finish. The horns lock in with the rolling bass line and synth chopping on “Y Mas Gan,” displaying a brilliant arrangement that was probably produced effortlessly.
Much attention is paid to Marley when talking about reggae and roots music, for good reason, of course. Sinead shines a spotlight on Jamaican singer Burning Spear, giving the listener a new appreciation for an underappreciated talent.
The rollicking bass line of “Marcus Garvey,” and the slow burning “Throw Down Your Arms” settles the world’s problems in a mellow, dank cloud of ganja smoke.
“VH1 Presents The Corrs: Live in Dublin”
The folks at VH1 must have seen the same thing I did, and they rectified the situation by releasing a TV special and live CD in 2002.
“VH1 Presents: The Corrs Live in Dublin” saw the camera-ready clan show what they were made of on a small sound stage.
The guitars on their monster hit “Breathless” chatter without the restraint of a fastidious producer, while the drums pound behind Andrea Corr’s “breathless” cooing. She is a relentless flirt onstage, entertaining a number of high watt suitors throughout the evening.
Bono strides onstage and engages in a heartfelt duet on Ryan Adams’ “When the Stars Go Blue,” turning the obscure song into a modest hit during the St. Patrick’s Day season that year. He sticks around long enough to offer a cartoonish country western drawl on the Nancy Sinatra chestnut “Summer Wine.”
The disc also serves as a greatest hits retrospective. Viewers unfamiliar with the band’s back catalog got to hear the heavy Fleetwood Mac influence on tracks like “So Young” and “Radio.”
Album of the decade
U2: “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”
“A mole, living in a hole/Digging up my soul/Going down, excavation/Love, lift me out of these blues/Won't you tell me something true/I believe in you,” shouted Bono on U2’s (then) new hit, “Elevation.”
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