Top Irish-American albums of the decade
Top Irish albums of the decade
The Saw Doctors have always been the bog’s answer to Bruce Springsteen; they spent the last twenty years spinning endearing stories with a reporter’s eye for detail and a saxophone always at the ready. They faithfully come to America twice a year, in March and in the summer, to deliver the news “from home” amidst the power-chord polkas. When they came to America in 2005, they were touring behind "The Cure," a hot new album that continued this tradition.
“We recorded it in Cuan Studios in Spiddal, on the shores of Galway Bay,” recalls guitarist and founding member Leo Moran. “It was a great comfort when you'd run into a stone wall in recording a song to go out the front door and stare across the bay at the coast of Clare, in sunshine or rain. Sometimes we'd drive the back road from Moycullen in the mornings, and there's a point in the road at the top of a hill where you catch your first view of the ocean, which would look beautifully different every time.”
The band once again chronicled Irish life in their unique way.
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.
The boys from Forest Hills are gone / this heat is killing me,” shouted Davy Carlton on “New York,” an unofficial anthem for the immigrants that camped along Yonkers’ McClean Ave.
The band highlighted many of the songs on the tour that ensued, but many of these great tunes have been inexplicably dropped from their set lists lately. All the more reason to pick up "The Cure" for some lost gems in the band’s catalog.
I asked Leo Moran to look back on "The Cure" for some insights in an exchange of emails. Here’s how it went.
Is “The Cure” a special album from your perspective? If so/not, why?
I like it a lot! It contains a good few songs I'd be very proud of although few, if any, of the songs have held down a place on the set-list for gigs since its release, other than "Stars Over Cloughanover."
When you spun this album for the first time yourself once it was finished, what were your thoughts?
I felt we had a collection of songs that might be liked by people, but when you're involved in the recording process, you never know what value songs will have when they go out into the world, and it's not up to us to judge. I'd like to hear it now in a bar or some such environment where I would be able to hear it with fresh ears, and hear the songs and try not to be concentrating on the nuts and bolts of its construction.
What comments do you get from the fans about this album?
"Out for a Smoke" is a bit of a favorite for a small amount of people, some people comment that we don't play any, or at least many, of the songs live. "Stars Over Cloughanover" is well-liked; it's the best recording on the album, very simple and natural — it doesn't fall like that too often.
What is next for the band?
We have a new album almost fully recorded now and that'll be coming out in late spring, it looks like. We just have to record another song or two in January. We'll fire it out and see what happens. We're scheming to go back to Australia for the first time in 16 years this coming March. Plenty for thinking about!
For more information on "The Cure," log onto www.sawdoctors.com.