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Favourite Irish albums of the CLUAS writers

Brano's top 5 Irish albums of all time...

Act: Lir
Album: "Magico Magico" (1993)
It's the Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome. I'm (ahem..) 'swanning' around buck-naked in my 'I-Love-Lir' birthday suit but very few others, save Smiley Bolger (!), got with the programme. From the first time I heard these guys in 1989 at UCD Freshers' Week with their mad changes in rhythm and shin-kicking youthful verve (they were all teenagers then), I was a child of Lir. The fact that they are STILL involved in a dirty legal spat with their ex-management and are now back playing again to pay the solicitors' bills takes nothing away from the fact that these guys are rivalled only by Planxty, in my book, for sheer raw musical talent. The fact that we got five guys from Donaghmede who were all supremely talented on their instruments but who could also gel as a group with excellent songs, is just unique in music, never mind just Irish music. Ok so 'Magico Magico' doesn't quite get to their 'live' feel but it's a gem. A real gem.

PlanxtyAct: Planxty
Album: "Planxty" (1972)
Ok so I'm topical? and anybody who wants to buy me the DVD of the Vicar St. gigs, be my guest. But come on, great songs, great musicianship, great guys, bringing traditional music to the masses, you seriously can't expect to leave this monument out of the top five Irish albums of all time, now can you? Go to Asturias, hear them rave about it. Find a Breton caf?and hear them sing The Blacksmith. Go to Clare and actually walk to Spanish Point. Digging a time capsule about what it means to be Irish for future generations? Then Moore, Lunny, O'Flynn and Irvine have hand-picked some of the finest songs of the tradition ? many of which may have been lost had they not. It's pure genius. But be warned it's also sexual! ?For you have stole my maidenhead and I am quite undone.? Essential. Superlative. Naughty. Number One.

The WaterboysAct: The Waterboys
Album: "This Is The Sea" (1985)
Side One, track one, all time greatest introductions to an album anybody? He's Scottish but there are Irish musicians in there, ya know. Not the longest album but jumping Jesus, holy cow - such a fine selection of songs. Trumpets, Old England, Medicine Bow? I could go on. And I will. The Pam Within,  Don't Bang the Drum, Spirit. A long time before he 'just found God' in Glastonbury (sigh...). The summit of his musical and songwriting talent. Every musician needs one. Few actually get there. This is it.

Rory Gallagher 'Live In Europe'Act: Rory Gallagher
Album: "Live in Europe" (1972)
Donal Griffin take a bow. No studio album could ever grasp what Rory was about but this live classic got it on the button. If the devil had let him pray, he would've had religion and music would have lost a giant. Forget about finesse, about personalities and about marketability ? Rory (ahem?!) frog leaps into the top five by virtue of plain genius. You couldn't watch this guy play the guitar and not be astounded. This album has many of the greats and captures his amazing musical ability in a beautiful snapshot for time immemorial. Pistol Slapper Blues, how are ya.

U2 'Unforgettable fire'Act: U2
Album: "Unforgettable Fire" (1984)
Oh how I debated. Van's Moondance (vastly superior bunch of songs to Astral Weeks, dar liom). Achtung Baby?. The Josh?. fine, fine albums indeed. Pogues, if I should fall (too inconsistent)?. Lizzy (too many line-ups I'm afraid!)?. And then the sweet, sweet intro of Promenade wafts into view?. Unforgettable Fire wasn't an album. It was a mood. It was a piece of Art, capital 'A'. Most of the lyrics are improvised for chrissakes! But it's a defining moment (awful clich?I know) in Irish musical terms. Lanois, Slane and the songs that finally bring substance to (ahem?!) 'the hype' around U2. The title track is one of their best, Pride one of their worst, but you are left in no doubt that this is a band on the verge of defining Irish culture to the world over the decade to follow. Think about that. Broad shoulders required, please. And knowing that this was the real beginning of it, is better than actually being in the middle of it with their next three releases. It gives us hope. Here is the rope. Now swing on it.


(bullet) Allen Conlan (bullet) Anthony Morrissey (bullet) Brano (bullet) Brian Farrelly (bullet) Brian Kelly (bullet) Celine O'Malley (bullet) Chris Ford (bullet) Ciaran Wrenn (bullet) Cormac Looney (bullet) Donal Griffin (bullet) Dromed (bullet) Gav Reilly (bullet) Hugh Tynan (bullet) Jimmy Murphy (bullet) Jules Jackson (bullet) Ollie O'Leary (bullet) Stephen McNulty (bullet)

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