"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

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