Mary Black, Luke Kelly : A Song for Ireland (Hail St Patrick 3)

Tall Towers.

Falcon Nests.

Twisted Rocks.

Summer Sunsets.

Mary Black.

Soul Singing.

A Song for Ireland.

Drinking in the Pub all day.

Fiddler play your Reel.

Stand on the beach at Dingle.

Atlantic Bass and Galway Salmon.

Living on the Western Shore.

Luke Kelly.

The Voice of The People.

A Song for Ireland.

Ireland has been blessed with some extraordinary Singers.

Mary and Luke sing with natural authority.

Singing songs all their lives.

Silver songs of Freedom.

Songs for Ireland.

Louis MacNeice’s long autobiographical Poem, ‘Autumn Journal’ has had a prominent place on my shelves for more than 50 years now (I was a precocious Poetry devotee).

Today I feature two exquisite shorter poems which demonstrate his technical accomplishment and plangent imagination.

… I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk

to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

And ain’t it the truth ….

It’s no go the merrygoround, it’s no go the rickshaw,
All we want is a limousine and a ticket for the peepshow.
Their knickers are made of crepe-de-chine, their shoes are made of python,
Their halls are lined with tiger rugs and their walls with head of bison.

If you are Irish or know someone who is Irish or of Irish heritage (and that’s all of you!) please share these Hail St Patrick Posts as widely as possible.

Paul Brady, Arty McGlynn, Matt Molloy : Crazy Dreams (Hail St Patrick 2)

Traditional Irish music demands far more than mere instrumental virtuosity from its practitioners.

What is demanded is cultural and spiritual engagement with the spirit of the music combined with deep listening to fellow musicians.

No better men to prove the point than Paul Brady and Arty McGlynn.

Paul Brady has featured here several times before as befits a master musician, songwriter, singer and performer.

Arty McGlynn, who sadly died recently, will be less well known to those who are not Irish music aficionados.

Arty, who I saw grace the stage many tines with Van Morrison, was by universal acclaim the premier guitarist in the traditional music world.

He seemed always able to find exactly the right parts to play both as a soloist and as a supportive accompanist.

Anyone playing with Arty was in the very best of company.

The clip below is from a 1976 TV Show and showcases Paul Brady’s great song Crazy Dreams before it had that title and before it was recorded with a rhapsodic full band electric arrangement.

Magnificent as that version remains I always wished the acoustic version below had been officially issued.

It doesn’t get any better !

Now let’s let Arty delight us with scintillating solo a Guitar.

To add to our revelries let’s now introduce master musicians Matt Molloy and John Carty

Sometimes a session opens up glorious musical vistas undreamed of before the first note was launched into the innocent air.

If you ever find yourself at such a session find yourself a good seat and settle in for the evening and let the magic do its work.

Now for some Poetry.

Bernard O’Donoghue has been a distinguished academic at Oxford University for many decades.

Yet, as his poems attest, imaginatively and emotionally he has always drawn nurture and inspiration from his Irish roots.

O’ Donahue’s poems are deeply felt and fully realised.

An architecture of the spirit.

There is an affecting spareness and reticence in tone which may owe much to his immersion in classical and medieval poetry.

The old thin ache you thought that you’d forgotten-
More smoke, admittedly than flame;
Less tears than rain. And the whole business
Neither here nor there, and therefore home.”

This Post Dedicated to the music and memory of Arty McGlynn.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam (May his soul be seated on God’s right hand)

Dolores Keane, Maura O’Connell : Teddy O’Neill (Hail St Patrick 1)

Well here in the South Downs March did indeed come in like a Lion.

A very angry Lion.

Storm force 11 tree felling, roof lifting, banshee howling winds.

Field flooding, roof rattling, better build your Ark now! torrential rain.

Still, we hunkered down, turned the Hi Fi high and the lights down low and emerged blinking into the revelation of a sunny day.

And, here at The Jukebox March always ushers in another celebration of Ireland’s stupendous contribution to art and culture.

So, without further ado let’s call up the majestic voice of Dolores Keane and surrender to her Emotional Force 12 version of, ‘Teddy O’Neill’.

The pain in my heart was too deep to conceal …

You would think after hearing Dolores sing in such an imperious manner that no other singer would dare to take on Teddy O’Neill.

But, true artists, and Maura O’Connell is a true artist, know that the best compliment you can pay a giant presence in your own field is to admire, reflect and then do otherwise.

Listen to Maura’s miraculous glowing vocal, here with Folk Legends De Dannan.

There is a dying ember tenderness that deeply stirs the heart.

All dark and silent … no piper … no reel …

Ah, Teddy, Teddy, to have stirred such dreams.

Such Dreams.

Our opening tip of the hat to Ireland’s poetic treasury is from Michael Hartnett who previously featured here with his mystic, ‘Necklace of Wrens’.

When the wren landed on Michael his grandmother soberly told him that this was a sign he was going to be a Poet.

When it comes to Poetry many are called but very few are chosen.

Michael Hartnett heard and responded full heartedly to his call and the rich harvest of his works demonstrate that he was indeed chosen.

Inchicore Haiku was a return to the English Language after many years of writing solely in Irish.

He was a great Poet in both languages.

Sanctifying grace.

Sanctifying grace.

The gift of Ireland to History.

John Fogerty (Creedence), Bruce Springsteen & Bob Seger : Who’ll Stop The Rain?

Sometimes when it rains it really pours.

Really Pours.

Drumming all night long.

Slashing through the sky all day long.

Falling, falling, on the school yards and the grave yards.

Falling, falling on the lost and the lonely.

Sometimes it really, really pours.

Falling on the outcasts and the refugees.

Falling relentlessly on Hank Williams as he walks purposefully down the lost highway.

Longer than the memory of man the rain has been falling down.

Mysterious and Merciless.

Falling down.

Falling down.

On Pharaoh and Caesar.

On the Saints and the Sinners.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Who’ll stop the rain?

A mysterious and alluring fable lasting barely 150 seconds which you will never sound the depths of even if you have 150 years for the task.

John Fogerty as the dark eyed seer alerting the tribe round the campfire to the signs and rhythms all around them if they would but attend to them.

His vocal and guitar is lit with ancient lore brought fatalistically to the present.

Lashed to the mast of John Fogerty’s obsessive imagination brother Tom, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford sail on into the unknown immensity ahead.

Bruce Springsteen from his youth recognised the primal power of John Fogerty’s songs with Creedence.

He also was struck by their mythic charge and insights into American history and contemporary society.

And they always had a dynamite riff!

The Boss also had that shiver looking out on, standing under, the still falling rain.

He knew there was a darkness that no one can evade.

Learning his trade and reflecting on his own and his nation’s experiences he understood that songs, if written and performed with craft and commitment, could provide shelter from the storm.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Good men through the ages though they know the rain will always fall still look to find the returning sun.

Bards and medicine men meet in colloquy reminding themselves of the insights of their vocations.

Aeons of songwriting and performing lore are distilled in this miraculous recording by John Fogerty and Bob Seger.

Impossible to say which voice is more aged in the wood.

Together they stand, shoulder to shoulder, as the hard rain tumbles from the sky.

Their is balm in the fellow feeling they show each other and us all as they sing.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Long as I remember …

The rain will never stop as long as the world turns.

All we can do is offer each other shelter and believe, no matter how sodden we become, in the reviving warmth of the sure to return sun.

John Gorka : Semper Fi

There are no ordinary lives.

Take the time to attend to an ordinary life and you will find; dramas and disasters, triumphs and terrors, hope and horror and stories more fantastical than Dostoevsky ever imagined.

Solar systems of fascinating and moving stories.

Stories just like yours.

Stories entirely different to yours.

Stories which will make you laugh and cry and shake your head at the wonder of it all.

The wonder of it all.

Sometimes you’ll hear a story and think – well, that’s a story I can identify with even though  it never happened to me.

That’s a story that needed to be told.

And, stories that need to be told need attentive listeners.

John Gorka is a songwriter who ponders stories in his heart so that the songs that emerge carry an enormously powerful emotional charge.

Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why

Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
*

A Family story.

One man’s Father and a story he carried within him for silent decades.

My father joined the leathernecks
To stay out of the mines

The new marine was just fifteen
In 1939

A story of a nation and its leaders.

My father met Eleanor Roosevelt
In 1945
The war at last was over then
And they were still alive
*
Her husband was the President
Till he ran out of time
Her Franklin D. was history
And they’d put him on the dime
*

A story of a War which left a bloody trail all over the world.

There were medals and malaria
The south pacific war
Through jungles that were paradise
And were paradise no more

A story that excavates buried torments

Some of the men who did survive
Were not the lucky ones
My father lay recovering
The hurt was all inside

Sometimes the wounds that never heal
Are easiest to hide
*
A story that tells you hard truths.
*
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
War is only good for those
Who make and sell the guns
*
A story that reminds us that in the midst of terror and chaos what saves us is kindness and love.
*
When Eleanor came bearing gifts
To San Francisco Bay
She gave my dad a blanket
In the hospital that day
*
That blanket meant alot to him
My mother has it still

*
Some forget the kindnesses
That others never will

A story that’s a nightmare and a hard won blessing.
*
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
 
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
*
In the interviews I have seen with John Gorka he appears charmingly modest and hesitant.
*
But playing live, having pondered the story he is about to tell, when his fingers encounter the guitar and he sings a voice emerges which is deep, rich and resonant.
*
In Semper FI  John has been faithful to the lived experience of his father.
A 15 year old boy who grew up during a dark depression only to travel thousands of miles to grow up faster than anyone ever should among shot and shell and death.
*
John Gorka has also been faithful and done honour to the craft of song writing.
*
Semper Fi.
*
Semper Fi.
*

Jukebox Top 10 for 2019 : Van, Ry, Tom Waits, Emmylou, The Kinks, Don Everly ++

The Jukebox covered a lot of territory this year.

I hope you enjoyed the journey – discovering new artists and reacquainting with old favourites.

Here’s the 10 most popular Posts of 2019 – make sure you’ve read every one!

At 10 : David Bowie and Nina Simone demonstrating why their legendary status will never dim with contrastingly brilliant takes on Wild is The Wind

https://wp.me/p4pE0N-27c

At 9 : Guy Clark with Texas 1947 brings a lost world to vivid life.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/11/23/guy-clark-texas-1947/

At 8 : More premium Texas Texture courtesy of Butch Hancock, Joe Ely & Emmylou Harris

Remember – only 2 things are better than milkshakes and malts and one’s dancing like the dickens to The West Texas Waltz!

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/06/29/butch-hancock-joe-ely-and-emmylou-harris-west-texas-waltz/

At 7 : A Birthday tribute to the one and only Don Everly.

There was a quality in Don’s voice, a seeming deep acquaintance with the heartaches that assail us all, that never fails to move me deeply.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/02/01/happy-birthday-don-everly-singing-beyond-singing/

At 6 : Bobby Darrin – Dream Lover. A tale of triumph, tragedy and Trauma.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/06/08/bobby-darin-tragedy-trauma-triumph-dream-lover/

At 5 : The Kinks with yet another Ray Davies masterpiece, Days (Thank You For)

Don’t forget a single Day. Bless The Light

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/01/26/the-kinks-days-thank-you-for/

At 4 : The great Tom Waits with a characteristically evocation of the everyday melding with the mythic – (Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/05/27/tom-waits-looking-for-the-heart-of-saturday-night/

At 3 : Ry Cooder, Jerry Garcia, The Drifters & Aaron Neville know a great song and how to present it. Here they are with Money Honey.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/07/27/ry-cooder-jerry-garcia-the-drifters-aaron-neville-money-honey/

At 2 : Linda Ronstadt & Mike Nesmith with a heady 60s classic, Different Drum

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/09/12/linda-ronstadt-mike-nesmith-p-p-arnold-different-drum/

And ..  Top of The Charts .. by far the most popular Post in the history of The Jukebox :

Van Morrison & Mark Knopfler setting down eternity shale with ‘Last Laugh’.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/08/27/van-morrison-mark-knopfler-last-laugh-happy-birthday-van/

A massive vote of thanks from me to all the wise and witty Jukebox Readers.

There are some 150 Posts in draft ready for 2020 – so stay tuned!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Alphabet : I for In The Bleak Midwinter (James Taylor)

Christmas opens the door to Hope.

Even in the bleakest of bleak Midwinters.

Though the earth be hard as Iron and Water stands like Stone there is yet, as Snow falls on Snow, Hope in a humble birth.

There is Hope in a Mother’s simple kiss.

Hope brings riches even to the poorest.

Give your Heart.

Give your Heart.

James Taylor recognises the genius of Christina Rossetti’s Poem and presents it faithfully with grace and winning simplicity.

One of the most moving meditations on the mystery of the Incarnation was written in the 15th Century, ‘I syng of a mayden’.

I syng of a mayden
That is makeles,
king of alle kinges
to here sone che chees.

He cam also stille
Ther his moder was
As dew in Aprylle,
That fallyt on the gras.

He cam also stille
To his modres bowr
As dew in Aprylle,
That falleth on the flowr.

He cam also stille
Ther his moder lay
As dew in Aprylle,
That falleth on the spray.

Moder & mayden
Was nevere noon but she:
Well may swich a lady
Godes moder be.

I sing of a maiden
That is matchless,
King of all kings
For her son she chose.

He came as still
Where his mother was
As dew in April
That falls on the grass.

He came as still
To his mother’s bower
As dew in April
That falls on the flower.

He came as still
Where his mother lay
As dew in April
That falls on the spray.

Mother and maiden
There was never, ever one but she;
Well may such a lady
God’s mother be.

Still, still, still as Mary’s and her babe’s Hearts.

Still, still, still.

The choristers of Ely Cathedral still time with this matchless performance.

The author of the Poem remains unknown.

The setting is by Patrick Hadley (1899-1973).

Now for a Poem from a major figure in Irish Literature, Seán Ó Ríordáin (1916 – 1977).

First in English translation and then in the original Irish.

Women’s Christmas takes place on January 6th – the feast of The Epiphany.

By tradition in Ireland it was the day when the heroic efforts of Mother’s, Wives and Daughters were rewarded by a day of rest from household chores.

Women’s Christmas

There was power in the storm that escaped last night,

last night on Women’s Christmas,

from the desolate madhouse behind the moon

and screamed through the sky at us, lunatic,

making neighbours’ gates screech like geese

and the hoarse river roar like a bull,

quenching my candle like a blow to the mouth

that sparks a quick flash of rage.

I’d like if that storm would come again,

a night I’d be feeling weak

coming home from the dance of life

and the light of sin dwindling,

that every moment be full of the screaming sky,

that the world be a storm of screams,

and I wouldn’t hear the silence coming over me,

the car’s engine come to a stop.

Oíche Nollaig na mBan

Bhí fuinneamh sa stoirm a éalaigh aréir,

Aréir oíche Nollaig na mBan,

As gealt-teach iargúlta tá laistiar den ré

Is do scréach tríd an spéir chughainn ’na gealt,

Gur ghíosc geataí comharsan mar ghogallach gé,

Gur bhúir abhainn shlaghdánach mar tharbh,

Gur múchadh mo choinneal mar bhuille ar mo bhéal

A las ’na splanc obann an fhearg.

Ba mhaith liom go dtiocfadh an stoirm sin féin

An oíche go mbeadsa go lag

Ag filleadh abhaile ó rince an tsaoil

Is solas an pheaca ag dul as,

Go líonfaí gach neomat le liúrigh ón spéir,

Go ndéanfaí den domhan scuaine scread,

Is ná cloisfinn an ciúnas ag gluaiseacht fám dhéin,

Ná inneall an ghluaisteáin ag stad.

Next Red Letter Day on your Calendar – 13 December when the next Post in The Alphabet Series will be published, S for ….