Artist: Black 47
Album: Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes
With a title like that, you’re probably expecting rock ‘n’ roll music. In a sense, that’s exactly what you get, but on the other hand, it isn’t. Black 47 deliver a great Irish rock album here, with catchy songs that wouldn’t feel out of place on a mainstream radio station. But their music is about more than just catchy rock tunes – the subject matter of their lyrics adds an extra dimension to it.
The album opens with ‘Far Side of the Wall’, a great rock ballad that showcases the band’s engagement. They don’t shy away from tackling politically sensitive subjects, which also shows in the next track, ‘Downtown Baghdad Blues’, interweaving the melody of ‘The Minstrel Boy’ to great effect.
Throughout the album, Black 47 continue this mixture of political engagement, thought-provoking lyrics, that authentic Celtic sound, and their own unique blend of rock music, which defies labelling and really should just be heard. Not all songs deal with such heavy subject matter though, there is also plenty of material that’s just plain fun to listen to (the They Might Be Giants-esque ‘History of Ireland, Part 1’ is particularly fun, not to mention educational). The end product is a great collection of tracks that can be listened to again and again, without ever growing stale.
Jan Jacob Mekes has a passion for history, writing, and writing history (and music, of course). He runs an online cultural magazine, Cultural Zest. You can read more examples of his writings on his portfolio. Jan also writes reviews for Marc Gunn’s Celtic MP3s Music Magazine at www.celticmp3s.com.