1)Dire Straits “Brothers In Arms” – First of all, I just love that including this track allows me to have a cd that opens with the sound of thunder (someday I’ll have to put “Riders On the Storm” on a mix for that very reason…). Also, I know this is technically not a Celtic band, but Mark Knopfler has put out some gorgeous pseudotraditional instrumentals, so close enough. Lyrically, very much captures the zeitgeist of the struggle for the soul of Celtic identity in the face of historical oppression,blahblahblah whatever. I just love the song, how’s that?
2)Silly Wizard “Queen Of Argyll” – If you don’t love this song after hearing it, there’s just something wrong with you that can’t be fixed and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter. Other than that Irishmen have nothing on the Scots when it comes to sweet talk.
3)Christy Moore “Mystic Lipstick” – I love the imagery of this song. Dark and heartbreakingly mysterious lyrics. I think the woman in the song is supposed to be Ireland,actually, I shite you not, Ireland as a dark and moody woman. Deep,sexy brogue the man has in spite of his girlish name. Bonus points as far as authenticism here, because he was in Planxty, one of the seminal early Celtic rock bands.
4)Luka Bloom “Bridge of Sorrow” – Ah, Luka Bloom aka Barry Moore, younger brother of Christy. Off his clevery titled “The Acoustic Motorbike.” I love this song. Almost spoken word but with such depth and beauty to the vocals and such intoxicating rythym. Lyrically, it’s quite the anthem for brooding outcast genius types not that I’ve ever known or been anyone like that…
5)The Pogues “Broad Majestic Shannon” – My favorite Pogues song of all time. Don’t know why. I Love the opening lyrics:”The last time I saw you was down at the Greek’s there was whiskey on Sunday and tears on her cheeks, you sang me a song that was pure as the breeze and the aroma of old Glenlivet…” in other words ‘you sang me a song with whiskey on your breath,’ but it’s put so elequently as to be endearing.
6)Loreena McKennit “Annachie Gordon” – Memories of youthful folly…my one public musical spotlight of a moment was roaming the street fair with the infamous Odin Helgeson, busking. I was singing harmony with him to this song, he was obsessed with this song for some reason. I still don’t know if people were giving us money because my voice was nice or I was lovely that day or to get me to shut up, but more coins were proffered when I was singing accompaniment. More beer for Odin,anyway. A sweet,sad song in its own right. A testament to the stubbornness of Celtic women thwarted in love. Shakespearean swains may need swords or poison, but lovers in Irish ballads just outright die of broken hearts.
7)Ashley MacIsaac “Hi,how are Ya?” – Insane Canadian Scottish fiddle genius from Cape Breton Island,Nova Scotia. And what does he wear under his kilt? Absolutely nothing. I have it on good authority. Wild and gorgeous spirited music, makes me want to shake my head around and stomp my feet some, like it’s Celtic traditional punk or something.
8)Christy Moore “Ride On” – Oh,the voice,oh the imagery…but is he talking to the girl or the horse,cause that could be pretty disgusting,actually….
9)The Pogues “The Auld Triangle” – Quintessential sad Irish imprisonment song, best sung drunk. Well, thank god for the Pogues’ Shane MacGowan, then, he’s always drunk.
10)Luka Bloom “An Irishman In New York” – All about falling in love with a passing stranger on a New York sidewalk. Then discovering it was all a dream.
11)The Waterboys “The Whole Of the Moon” – A song about dreamers and the people that have to live with them. My favorite line “I saw a rain dirty valley, but you saw Brigadoon.”
12)Cowboy Junkies”The Water Is Wide”- An American folk version of the Irish ballad “Carrickfergus” which is much,much sadder but equally beautiful. This version asks for a boat “that carries two, and both shall ride, my love and I.” In “Carrickfergus” the boat is “to carry me over to my love and die.” Perhaps a difference in national character?
13)Sinead O’Conner w/ the Chieftains “The Foggy Dew” – All the most hauntingly beautiful Irish traditional songs are about war. Go figure. Dying for the love of that beautiful lady Eire, I suppose.
14)The Rankins w/ the Chieftains “An Innis Aigh” – Other than that Innis is Gaelic for Island,I think, I have no idea what the hell any of this means. but it’s gorgeous nonetheless.
15)Battlefield Band “Snow On the Hills” – No,I’m not going to tell my Battlefield band story again. Lovely little slow reel here, with flutes and guitar and harp and fiddle and piano and everything it should have, except maybe some bagpipes, where are the pipes,eh? We have a piper down,I repeat there’s a piper down…
And that, my friends, is my lovely little mix. No need to thank me for my genius as a would be deejay,lalala…