Black 47: 'Tiochaidh ar la!' (Our day must come!)

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(Our day must come!)
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REVIEW BY BILL NEVINS

On Fire
Black 47
Gadfly Records
To order, visit <http://www.gadflyrecords.com>

Lead singer of New York Irish rebel band Black 47 Larry Kirwan opens this CD wailing with voice and guitar,"Hey, Big fella, where the hell are ya now, when we need ya the most?"

It's a cry for the struggle's lost leaders, whether they died or quit the struggle. Sad for their loss, yet unrepentant, the ragged rebels that Kirwan represents won't ever give up, even as erstwhile revolutionary chiefs now sport Armani suits and court the blessings of Bush's corporate cronies.

Beaten, betrayed or bamboozled, the word from Black 47 is that we've got to keep kicking until the damn walls fall down.

So sings Black 47: "Fake politician, your lies are gonna get you, chickens comin' back to roost... Never gonna put out the fire of freedom ... our dreams will continue in the eyes of our children!"

All of this is played to a loping ska beat, bagpipes skirling and drums pounding, both band and audience chanting along, "Tiochaidh ar la!" (Our day must come!).

Kirwan takes up the heroic voices of Bobby Sands, Steve Biko, Constance Markievicz and many other bold fighters who laid down a life for glory and the poor of the Earth.

Then there's the dancing. To funny songs about horny, wandering souls and friends gone but not forgotten by a long, long shot. Raise your glass and salute, scream, laugh and weep. And to hell with the snobs, prudes or rich bastards who would keep down our hard-earned, rolling celebratory joy. Wise-cracking, jig and reel ready, blaring anthems and smart remarks galore, Black 47 are the most in-your-face-and-don't-give-a-fuck bunch of happy sotted leftists this side of the Mekons!

That's Black 47, and a wild revolution party it is, indeed. New uillean piper, young Joe Mulvanerty, shines, while the '47 stalwarts rise to new heights of fierce musical glee: Geoff Blythe, sax; Andrew Goodsight, bass; Tom Hamlin, drums; Fred Parcells, trombone; and, of course, Kirwan front and centre singing, songwriting and leaping about shouting, "Woo-hah!" and spouting some of the most literate, historically astute lyrics in all of rock, roll and new Irish trad.

"Rockin' the Bronx" is an instrumental work-out which gives a taste of the addictive adrenalin-blaze that keeps those sweaty mobs coming back again and again to Black 47's frequent live gigs, hundreds a year, up and down the American east coast and as far south as Argentina.

For a little while at least, forget Bush and the reactionary sludge seeping over our world. Pick up this CD, have a grand time dancing your arse off and feel the rebel fire still burning bright and strong.

[Bill Nevins is a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has written on Irish politics and cultural topics for a number of progressive publications.]

From Green Left Weekly, March 13, 2002.

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