James Connolly – Black 47
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve got some proud Irish genes, so this one was an easy choice for me. 25 years ago, Black 47 broke onto the NYC music scene with a distinctive blend of Irish rock, punk and reggae. Larry Kirwan and Chris Byrne had connections with The Pogues and Dexy’s Midnight Runners and were filled with Irish Nationalistic pride.
In 1993, they broke through with a national hit about an ill-timed love affair with a girl named Bridie. “Funky Céilí” was a fun romp with a distinctive Irish flair. About a decade later, walking down the streets of Manhattan, we stumbled into a bar and fell in love with the band as they tore through their set, featuring vibrant rock and a nice selection of Irish instruments.
It was on that night that I realized that Black 47 was much more than a one hit wonder pop band, they were one of the most passionate Irish rock bands on the planet. And it was on that night on the floor of a pulsating, sweaty Connolly’s Pub that I first heard this anthem.
“Marchin’ down O’Connell Street with the Starry Plough on high
There goes the Citizen Army with their fists raised in the sky
Leading them is a mighty man with a mad rage in his eye
‘My name is James Connolly – I didn’t come here to die”
Check out the live version of James Connolly:
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