Book Review: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry


Author: Kevin Barry
TitleBeatlebone
Publication Info: New York : Doubleday, [2015]
Summary/Review:

This novel is rooted  in the fact that John Lennon bought an island off the coast of Ireland and is premised on the idea that he went to visit the island in 1978 for primal scream therapy.  Getting to the island is most of the trip as hordes of media and the weather put up roadblocks.  It’s really more of a story about a character named “John Lennon” who happens to be a celebrity put into rural Ireland and Barry’s philosophical musings put into the dialogue.  It kind of has aspirations of being a Joyce or Becket work without the same skill.  Frankly it’s kind of boring.  My favorite part was the non-fiction chapter which is a travelogue of Barry’s research trip to the locales in the novel.

Recommended booksPaperback Writer by Mark Shipper
Rating: **

Book Review: Walk the Blue Fields: Stories by Claire Keegan


Author: Claire Keegan
Title:Walk the Blue Fields: Stories
Publication Info: Grove Press, Black Cat (2008)
Summary/Review:

This is a collection of stories set in Ireland.  They are contemporary tales but set in rural settings so there are lots of traditional gender roles, repressed emotions, and outcomes that are rather depressing.  Fortunately, there is some humor in this stories that otherwise can be dour.  These stories are well-crafted but I can’t say that they moved me much.
Recommended booksValues, three one act plays by John B. Keane
Rating: ***

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 24: “Alternative Ulster”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

24: “Alternative Ulster” by Stiff Little Fingers

Finishing up St. Patrick’s Day with this uprising in music by Ireland’s premier punk rock band.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 23: “Bad”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

23. “Bad” by U2

I couldn’t get through the day without posting a U2 song, even though I’ve never been a huge fan.  This song about heroin addicts in Dublin is a powerful example of their early work in the 1980s

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 21: “Don’t Call Me Early in the Morning”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

21. “Don’t Call Me Early in the Morning” by Tommy Sands

This is basically my theme song.

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 20: “Dreams”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

20. “Dreams” by The Cranberries

The ethereal vocals of Dolores O’Riordan are one of the defining sounds of 90s alternative music.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 19: “The Drunken Piper”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

19. “The Drunken Piper” by Natalie MacMaster w/ Cookie Rankin

Sure, this is a Scottish tune by way of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, but you’re three sheets to the wind by now and who can deny the fine fiddling , singing, and rhythm on display.

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 18: “”Funky Céilí”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

18. “Funky Céilí” by Black 47

Black 47 brought Celtic punk with a socialist-leaning political bent to New York, although they could still party.  Still one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.

 

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 17: “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

17. “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God” by The Pogues

The revolutionary band The Pogues blended punk rock rage with traditional Irish sounds to pretty much redefine Irish music. I could recommend several albums, but here’s one track that shows them at their best.

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 16: “Marble Halls”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

16. “Marble Halls” by Enya

Written by Irish composer Michael William Balfe for the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl, the words to this tune appear in James Joyce’s works.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 15: “Missing You”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

15. “Missing You” by Christy Moore

I could probably post 24 tunes by Christy Moore alone, but this plaintive cry of the Irish emigrant will have to suffice.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 14: “A Nation Once Again”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

14. “A Nation Once Again” by The Wolfe Tones

Irish voters once gamed a BBC poll to get this declared the world’s most popular song.  It’s certainly stirring, and I always liked it as a kid when my folks were fans of the Wolfe Tones, although I find the band’s political extremism off-putting these days.

 

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 13: “Only Shallow”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

13. “Only Shallow” by My Bloody Valentine

Oh, you thought this was going to be all fiddles & pipes and jigs & reels, but no, the Irish also pioneered shoegaze!

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 12: “The Parting Glass”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

12. “The Parting Glass” by Liam Clancy

This is the song I want played at my funeral.  I would post the Revels version if I could find it online, but my fellow Liam does a good rendition as well.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 11: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

11. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

I’m not a fan of Dropkick Murphys but I make an exception for this song because 1) the lyrics are by Woody Guthrie, 2) it’s about Boston, and 3) it’s fun when they play it Fenway Park.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 10: “Song For Ireland”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

10. “Song of Ireland” by Dick Gaughan

My favorite rendition of this song.  His voice paints a picture of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 9: “The Star of the County Down”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

9. “The Star of the County Down” by The Chieftains and Van Morrison

The great popularizers of Irish trad and Ireland’s most noted rock & roll singer/songwriter join together on this traditional ballad.