Friday, March 5, 2010

Staggering Towards St. Patrick's Day

I am of the opinion that holidays should be structured like Hanukkah- multi-day celebrations, rather than one-offs. I inaugurated the St. Patrick's Day season last night by meeting up with an old friend and his co-workers at The Brazen Fox in White Plains, NY. I had just spent a few hours at work explaining the new computerized timesheet system to a co-worker who had never used a computer before (en español) when I got the call to arms glasses. It was a splendid night, spent quaffing dirty big pints of Smithwick's while surrounded by beautiful women. The highlight of the evening was playing "wingmen" to a couple of visiting Brazilian guys, and helping them meet a couple of really pretty Brazilian girls, with whom they hit it off swimmingly. Yeah, it's nice to perform an occasional mitzvah.

Anyway, as it's my wont to post occasional music videos, I'll honor the season, and my paternal grandmother's Roscommon heritage by stressing songs by Irish bands for the next couple of weeks.

Perhaps the first rock band to incorporate Irish traditional music (and mythological themes) into their music was Horslips, so thank them for such diverse groups as The Pogues, Black 47, In Tua Nua, and a host of other worthies (hell, U2's first album had the track An Cat Dubh on it, not a trad song, but one in Gaelic).

The song Dearg Doom (a mash-up of Gaelic and English best rendered as "Red Destroyer") comes from the band's 1973 The Táin album, a musical interpretation of the epic Táin Bo Cuailnge ("The Cattle Raid of Cooley"). The annotated Horslips lyrics page, besides giving a basic gist of the song's meaning, has a funny item about the genesis of the song (which is an unholy hybrid of traditional epic and Marvel Comics, conflating Cúchulainn with Dr. Doom), and a couple of nice quotes from Phil Chevron, a founding member of the Radiators from Space, who joined the Pogues for "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash" and subsequent albums.


The blazing guitar riff that anchors the song is the traditional O'Neill's Cavalry (check out this sweet acapella version). The video reminds me of Spinal Tap's Stonehenge, because of the band's outfits, and the song's theme. I'd love to know if Stonhenge was inspired by this performance. Please note the chainmail "glove" and silver body paint on the lead singer's hand, a tribute to the divine king Nuada of the Silver Hand (known to HPL fans as "Hoary Nodens"):




Please note, this song became a number one dance hit in Germany. Who'd a thunk it? Additionally, in 2004, the Decembrists released an album titled The Táin.

11 comments:

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Day after St Paddy's, I am seeing the Tossers at Turner Hall.

I got an extra ticket....

wordverf, no kidding, is stsillys. St. Silly's Day?

Substance McGravitas said...

Two heads are better than none
A hundred heads are so much better than one


NO MOB CAN ARGUE THIS POINT.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Day after St Paddy's, I am seeing the Tossers at Turner Hall.

Awesome, the whole trad/punk thing is a wonderful, glorious mess.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Saint Paddy's is when I renew my membership at the Shamrock Club each year.

I've got some pics from the big party at the Vet from other years, on one of my computers...
~

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

that's the computer with the Guiness in the keyboard, right thundra?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Actually, it might be the work laptop.

I'll check it today.
~

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

you spilled Guiness in your work laptop?

That's a weird bank you work at.

Von said...

Z - I know one of the Tossers - Mike P. We're in the same wedding in May. He's good people.
LOVE Irish music. this should not shock anyone.
Also, love Smithwick's, and know how to pronouce it properly. Big Bad Baldy, you can stay. And I'll be visiting.

g said...

I am so jealous of my kid, who got to see the Pogues on St. Patrick's Day in NYC a couple of years ago.

For me, maybe it will be a pint at Finn MacCools in Santa Monica....

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Have you seen Shane MacGowan's benefit for Haiti? A cover of "I Put A Spell On You" featuring chrissie Hynde, Nick Cave, and Johnny depp on guitar.

In other news, Shane MacGowan is still alive?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I am so jealous of my kid, who got to see the Pogues on St. Patrick's Day in NYC a couple of years ago.

Nokia Theater? I was there at the front, in the pit... glorious!