Layzangentlefiends. I get asked so often to come up with a top five of a particular artist. Sometimes I copy them here, sometimes I don't, but this week, for the first time in ages, I said no. No Ladies and Gentlemen, I am NOT going to do a Todd Rundgren top five. Ain't gonna happen. Nosirree Bob!. Instead, I'm going to do my very own MOIO (music of Irish origin) awards. So without further ado, here they are.
And rather than begin with a number one, I thought why not begin with a theme tune for the whole show. I'm not judging this tune at all, merely placing it, as a traditional tune at the beginning and end. So we begin with a version by the Dubliners. So take your seats as you listen to the traditional song Oró sé do bheatha 'bhaile. This is the modern version updated by Padraig Pearse, who among other things changed the leader who will come with a thousand warriors from Séarlas Óg to Gráinne Mhaol
1 Let's begin with Sinead O'Connor. Well obviously, of course I'm going to choose Sinead. The question is, will I choose, "This is a Rebel Song", or "This is the Last Day of Our Acquaintance", or maybe "Troy"? All of those are marvellous songs but I'm going to pick "Famine", which tells the truth about the Great Hunger, often called the 'Famine' by those who would call it a natural event. I confess that my own Irish ancestors left Ireland long before the Hunger, and even before the Wolf Tone Rebellion and became travelling people, but that doesn't mean this song doesn't make perfect sense to me.
2 I've noticed that with this one exception, I've chosen solo artists. But my favourite Irish band is Stiff Little Fingers, and in defining them as such, I have of course defined Ireland with the most inclusive possible definition. Might as well pick this one then mightn't I? Alternative Ulster!
3 Christy Moore wrote some brilliant songs, such as "Viva La Quinta Brigada", many find themselves sung by crowds, but he's also a fine singer. And a man who sings that which is Truth to those who need to hear. This is my favourite "If They Come In The Morning"
4 Shane McGowan produced some brilliant work in his career, from that Christmas Song that gets played so much we have to pretend we don't like it, to The Snake With Eyes of Garnet, but my favourite is this. A Pair of Brown Eyes.
5 Luke Kelly cannot be missed from any list of Irish music. A singer so great, a man so famous, they names a bridge after him. A man loved on all sides and here he sings Patrick Kavanagh's "On Raglan Road".
There are so many I regret having to leave out. Teenage Kicks by the Undertones. Much of Mary Black's Gaelic work. The Wolfe Tones, even the Boomtown Rats but that's all there is so let's go back to the theme tune. It's a song sung by so many Irish artists. I could have had Sinead or th Wolfetones singing it but let's go for the great Mary Black. Goodnight.