Raise a Guinness for St Patrick’s day ~ There’s More to Irish Pop Than Bono’s Mob

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Yes, it’s that day again, when the pubs are bedecked in foam shamrocks, cardboard leprechauns and those oversized Guinness hats; March 17th, St Patrick’s Day. Unless, they change the date of course, like they did last year, because it clashed with the rugby or whatever.

With apols to our Welsh readers for not doing something similar on March 1st (it was a Sunday – I forgot!) here’s a musical Hats Off to the Emerald Isle. I suppose that if we were to use the Jack Charlton/Tony Cascarino clause we could include everyone from Abba to Kraftwerk to NWA, but we’ll stick to those with fairly solid connections to the isle and also show proof that they’ve got more to offer than U2, The Pogues and The Corrs.

Good Vibrations ~ Anyone remember Protex, The Moondogs or Rudi? How about The Undertones then? Belfast’s answer to Rough Trade, a record store owned by genial Terri Hooley, who began to put out discs by local bands because the UK record companies were ignoring them, which is how the world came by Teenage Kicks.

The Undertones ~ Don’t really need any introduction, but it’s always handy to remind folk that they were so much more than a one-song band. Great, great power pop band and then, having proved how wonderful they were, changed direction completely and were still fab. Then they split, but that’s another story. Hugely influential. I’m amazed that there isn’t a decent sounding clip of True Confessions on Youtube. I remember hearing it on a Whistle Test repeat sometime in the mid 80s and being blown away by the guitar (and Fergal’s parka). I guess everyone’s videos are worn out.

Them ~ Have never got Van Morrison. One of my blind spots, possibly because Moondance was played at every bloody school disco I ever went to. Them was good though. In fact, they were very good. Awesome track called I’m Gonna Dress in Black on their debut album, great version of Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, plus garage staple Gloria and this wonderful Nugget…

Thin Lizzy ~ Formed from the ashes of Them when Eric’s Bell and Wrixon came across Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey. Championed by Peel in their early days.

Dana ~ No, I’m not being ironic! This should be a twee classic (perhaps it is?) Winner of Eurovision 1970 and this is a rather sweet archive clip of the winning performance. When was the last time you saw a singer sitting on a stool? It’s to be encouraged I think.

Isn’t it amazing what you can find by accident on Youtube? What was I saying about a twee classic?

Sinead O’Connor ~ Douze points. Anyone who duets with Terry Hall gets my vote.

Stiff Little Fingers ~ “Don’t believe Them, Don’t believe Them” screamed Jake Burns. They were a good little band who burned brightly for a short while. Very interesting account of the genesis of their debut album Inflammable Material on the Rough Trade documentary (reviewed on Pop Junkie yesterday – you’ve got 5 days to view). They proved they could smash the major label monopoly, but no sooner had that happened than the band wanted to sign with one.

Snow Patrol ~ Are this lot any good? Yes, I know they’re huge, but I’ve never taken any notice. I imagined they’d sound like Coldplay. It seems Youtube have begun removing their videos. Perhaps that’s a good thing? Let’s try this one…doesn’t sound too bad, I suppose.

Ash ~ Ireland’s best Britpop band? That’s a question not a statement.

Those who have also served: The Virgin Prunes, Dubliners, Sultans of Ping, Therapy?, That Petrol Emotion, The Nips, Clannad and dear old Johnny Lydon.

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