"For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."James Joyce (1882-1941)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Damien Dempsey is Rollin' down to Dublin Town

Rollin' down to Dublin Town
Comin' from the Northside, headin' Southbound
The glare of the city, you can see it in the sky
See it in the faces when I'm passing them b
Dublin Town, the debut single by Damien Dempsey was released in 1997 and reached number 18 in the Irish music charts. Not bad for a single produced without the backing of a record label. It's spread and popularity was largely due to word-of-mouth; it's appeal was undoubtedly down to the passionate sincerity and unpretentious delivery. 

At the time Ireland was going through the so-called Celtic Tiger phase and the message that Dempsey was forcefully conveying was never going to earn him an invitation to the Áras:

We'll have to send a warning to the socially elite / And I repeat, if you keep a people down / In any old town / Or country / They'll rise don't you see / It's the will to survive / That keeps them alive
The song was re-recorded for his subsequent album (They Don't Teach This Shit In School) and given a reggae beat - in deference to the 'Irish and Jamaican sounds' presumably. Whether this improved upon the original is open to debate. In this reviewer's opinion the original stands out as the better version. We've included in the playlist below a compilation that includes various versions of the song that Dempsey has put out; so you can judge for yourself.

One thing is clear though, whatever way you listen to the song it packs a real punch.

"It's clear from the first moment he sings a note that Damien Dempsey is one astonishingly gifted individual" is just one of the eulogies that has been paid to Damien Dempsey. Suffice it to say this really is no exaggeration - and understatement if anything.
You would wanna start listening to us, you would / Cos to you we aren't going to be good forever / Yeh maybe even here, in the Dublin Town / Things could get turned upside down

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dublin - a city full of ghosts! It can't be. Can it?

Dublin is a city full of magic
Dublin is a city full of Light
Dublin is a city full of wonder
Dublin is a city full of shite
In the summer of 1985 a London-based, Scottish musician by the name of Mike Scott (appropriately enough) visited Dublin on a mission to track down a fellow musician - a fiddler by the name of Steve Wickham. Scott had heard a demo tape that Wickham had contributed to and 'knew straight away this was the guy.'

At the time Wickham was a member of a promising young Irish called In Tua Nua, which was garnering serious attention from audiences in Ireland and further afield. However as a result of meeting Scott, he was persuaded to join The Waterboys. What followed was some of the most phenomenal music of the latter part of the 1980s.

Following the This is the Sea album, the band moved, first to Dublin and later to the west of Ireland where two albums, heavily influenced by Irish folk and trad were released - Fisherman's Blues and Room to Roam

Eventually the band members started to drift and break-up, although they have since re-formed on various occasions with different line-ups. Scott himself released two albums under his own name. Technically they would be described as solo albums but Scott himself is the only consistent member of The Waterboys, which at this stage is generally regarded as his platform. 

The first such 'solo' album was called  Bring 'em all in (1995) which contained the song City Full of Ghosts (Dublin). Here Scott laments about Dublin as a city which, for him is home to: 'The ghost of a fiddle, the ghost of a sax / The ghost of a sound that ain't ever coming back.' Nothing can change this for him, not even as he walks passed street buskers 'playing old Waterboys hits.'

Unfortunately we are unable to track down an audio or video recording that we can show you here - legally that is but you'll surely be able to download and/or buy an MP3 or something if you Google it. We recommend Amazon - for no particular reason except that they pay us!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day: How Foreigners View Dublin

It's in the nature of human being to complain about things, especially their own habitat. Dubliners are no different to other species of human in that regard. However, did you ever wonder how Dublin appears to outsiders?

As today is St. Patrick's Day and the attention of people around the world is on Ireland, we thought a slight change to the usual format would be in order. We've put together this playlist courtesy of the Watch Mojo channel on YouTube.

All in all we fare well. The verdict is generally positive. Maybe they didn't stay long enough though! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dublin in the Rare Oul Times

Pete St. John is a Dublin-born balladeer whose compositions have become legendary and timeless classics; so much so that people are often surprised to discover that the author of is still living.

He is probably best known for The Fields of Athenry but has also produced a repertoire of songs about his native Dublin; a city he returned to in the late 1970s following an interesting and varied career, living and working in Canada, Alaska, Central America and the West Indies. [See his website for a biography]

It is said that finding the face of his city greatly changed upon his return, influenced him in his songwriting that produced critical and commercial successes such as The Rare Ould Times, The Ferryman and so many others.

The song is unashamedly nostalgic - much like this website - so who better to perform it than The Dubliners and Ronnie Drew whose distinctive voice contains echoes of Dublin?

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