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Friday Five – Top o’ the Mornin’ to Ya!

March 14, 2008

Per Art, we’re taking a trip to the emerald isle!

We’ll start with the fabulous Nanci Griffith. I’ve loved her music since I picked up Other Voices, Other Rooms on a fluke when I ordered 13 CDs for a penny back in 1993. Nanci is often thought of as a singer-songwriter so strongly that her guitar skills are overlooked and underrated. She plays with a homemade thumbpick – she cuts the pick part off of traditional thumbpicks because she finds them too stiff then rivets a flatpick to it. Watch her left hand as she effortlessly punctuates this gorgeous riff with harmonics. I Will Bring You Ireland (I know this is the first one you thought of too, Scott!)

Transcendental Blues may be my favorite Steve Earle album. During the recording Steve kept a copy of the Beatles’ Revolver handy as a reference for bass and drum tones. And it shows. Here’s an alternate mix of Galway Girl which appeared on a Sharon Shannon album.

You didn’t really think you’d get through this list without some Dylan, did you? Come on, you know me better than that. Here’s Zimmy with the traditional Handsome Molly (aka Irish Girl aka Farewell Ballymoney aka Dark Eyed Molly). Like Nanci, Bob is underrated as a guitarist. His early acoustic stuff features a lot of detailed fingerpicking, alternate tunings and odd rhythms. This is from Live at the Gaslight 1962, once available only as a bootleg.

Paul McCartney protests the British occupation of Ireland with his classic 45, Give Ireland Back to the Irish. Great slide guitar on this one!

John Lennon does the same on his Luck of the Irish. In my opinion Paul wins this one, simply by virtue of the fact that Yoko doesn’t sing with him.

Let’s play the blues for today’s bonus track. Here’s Irish-born Rory Gallagher from Irish Tour ’74 with his cover of Muddy Waters’ I Wonder Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man When I’m Gone. A chemical in Gallagher’s sweat proved to be toxic to the finish on his sunburst Strat, causing it to be the ugliest, most beat up yet utterly desirable sunburst Strat in rock history (beating out Stevie Ray Vaughan’s #1 by a significant margin).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2008 7:00 am

    My brain isn’t working today. All I could think of was Nanci, Danny Boy & anything by U2… All taken already. I think I’ll just sit here & stare into space while simultaneously trying to look busy.

  2. Layman Erik permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:20 am

    I’m with you ArachNerd. I’ve got nothing.

    I must not like Irish music.

    Oh wait is Van Morrison Irish?

  3. March 14, 2008 9:49 am

    Another great list Will.

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