Black 47: Last Call

Black 47’s swansong, Last Call, should by digitally available in the coming week with the physical copies following shortly.

Black 47 Last Call

The fill track list as narrated by Larry is as follows:

1. Salsa O’Keefe – We’ve always loved Latin music – so strange that it took us until now to really have a blow at it. No matter, it’s a Bronx story and dedicated to a major influence, Bert Berns, songwriter and producer extraordinaire! How about Mr. Hamlin’s cowbell!

2. Culchie Prince – A memory of a wild weekend in the County Clare shortly before I first left for New York. A “culchie” is anyone unsophisticated enough to be born outside the city of Dublin; while a “brasser” – in my day – was a young working class Dublin lady, unafraid to speak her mind who invariably sported peroxide curls. And oh, those crazy uilleann pipes, Joseph Mulvanerty, blowing like a gale from the Bronx to the Cliffs of Moher.

3. Dublin Days – Everyone I knew lived close to the borderline in Dublin and yet we always found ways to cadge a pint and fall in love. Even today, if I walk from Stephen’s Green to Trinity College I invariably brush against her shadow. This is for every college student who ever spent a semester in Ireland. Go Christine, the Beehive Queen!

4. US of A 2014 – It amazes me how people can be so resistant to fixing a system that will consign their children to second-class citizenship. Profits rise, wages fall, Connolly turns in his grave, and Black 47 is outa here! And the question remains: Who stole the scent from the American rose?

5. The Night The Showbands Died – Fran O’Toole had a voice to die for. There wasn’t a culchie rocker who didn’t adore him. My teenage group opened for The Miami Showband a couple of times; we were awful, Fran couldn’t have been nicer. I had moved to the Lower East Side in 1975 when news of the massacre broke. It seemed unreal, it still does. Fred’s subtle trombone chorale is a tribute unto itself to the great horn players of the showband days.

6. Johnny Comes a’Courtin – Did the Irish invent Reggae? You can hear the lilt of the melodies and the dropped “th’s” all across Marley’s magnificent music. Oliver Cromwell sent his Irish prisoners to the Caribbean islands. They intermarried with the African slaves and formed a new culture. Ms. Oona Roche summonses the spirit of a young 17th Century Irishwoman who has a momentous decision to make.

7. Let The People In – There’s always been a No Nothing Party that wishes to pull the ladder up behind its members. But immigration is the lifeblood of this country and its economic engine. Then again, I lived here illegally for three years, so I’m probably biased. Play that funky bass, Mr. Bearclaw!

8. Lament for John Kuhlman – He was Fred Parcells’ roommate and collaborator. A sax-playing composer with an open heart and a smile for everyone, John was a big unfocused talent. He had demons – who hasn’t? – but that last night we partied with him in LA, it seemed like he had them under control. That’s his hurdy-gurdy opening the track.

9. St. Patrick’s Day – I’ve always seen March 17th as a wild stallion. Once you’re atop its back, you’ve no choice but to hang on and hope for the best. Puritans may want to control it but, in essence, it’s the Irish stating that they have survived, they have arrived, and to hell with inhibition!

10. Queen of Coney Island – I still love it out there on the boardwalk but it used to be a shabby paradise. The music, the lights, the Atlantic, the ladies of the night, innocent and otherwise, I drank it all in through small town eyes like an icy beer on a sweltering day. Shotsie, Legsy, Mr. Ragonese, and Hot Lips, where are you now?

11. Shanty Irish Baby – It’s pretty much vanished, the split between Lace Curtain and Shanty. But late at night when the drinks are flying you can hear its echo, and I always know which side I’m on. What a soprano solo from Mr. Blythe!

12. Ballad of Brendan Behan – We loved him because the straights all hated him – he was a “disgrace to the Irish.” But to us he was a big man in a small country. Was he the first modern victim of fame, or just another drinker with a writing problem? Whatever! He was our Borstal boy and rebel without pause.

13. Hard Times – I never cared for the teary-eyed versions of this song – they just missed the point. Foster was far from the melancholic innocent. Guy survived the Five Points for over three years. He could have gone home. He was just too proud – couldn’t admit defeat. A fitting song for Black 47 to go out on.