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Favourite Irish albums of the CLUAS writers

Donal Griffin's top 5 Irish albums of all time...

Rory Gallagher 'Live In Europe'Act: Rory Gallagher
Album: 'Live In Europe' (1972)
From the first riff of the album introducing Messin' With The Kid to the final stomp of Bullfrog Blues, Gallagher plays the blues like a man possessed and this album is probably the main reason why the man is held in such high regard today. Backed by a savage rhythm section and with a mix of his own material and some ancient covers, Gallagher brings the crowd up and down and up again. I Could've Had Religion slows things for almost ten minutes with its familiar blues theme ? my woman ruined my life ? and the acoustic Pistol Slapper Blues shows that while Rory could rock out to no end, the sheer skill he could exhibit on the guitar was up there with the very finest of them. Likewise with Going To My Hometown whereas In Your Town shows what a great band with a simple riff can come up with if you give them ten minutes. Although he very nearly equalled it with the Irish Tour album, this is a once-off album from a once-off performer.

Van Morrison 'Astral Weeks'Act: Van Morrison
Album: 'Astral Weeks' (1968)
"It's legal drugs, isn't it?" said Bono of Van Morrison's finest hour. Quite simply, there is no other album which can take the listener straight to some innocent time through such an array of the best songs folk music has to offer. There is no bad day at work, fight with a girlfriend or evening of student poverty that cannot be cured by the very first notes of the title track. "If I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dreams," he sings. I haven't the slightest clue what he means but it sounds like heaven on earth. Sweet Thing is one of the finest pieces of music ever written while Morrison almost outdoes himself on Madam George. Legal drugs? Not even close.

U2 "Achtung Baby"Act: U2
Album: 'Achtung Baby' (1991)
For all the abuse they suffer, there is no denying that, for a period, U2 made some of the best rock music to come off this island. The Unforgettable Fire put them close to the big time, the Joshua Tree sent them global and Rattle and Hum saw them come to an end. Achtung Baby was the band's rebirth and the world realised that under all the baggage that comes with them, namely Bono, U2 can actually write good tunes. Line them up: Even Better Than The Real Thing, One, Mysterious Ways, Ultraviolet (Light My Way), The Fly, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses ? this is just a cracking collection of rock songs about women and love and it's as simple as that.

David Kitt "Small Moments"Act: David Kitt
Album: 'Small Moments' (2001)
An unlikely choice, given that it was only released a matter of years ago and I'm sure this will be subject to howls of derision but this is a very, very personal choice. I bought this album just after its release in early 2001 and listened to it constantly. I was in college and had just started to go out with a girl who lived in student digs in Santry. We would go out at the weekend and the next afternoon, I would make the long trip home on the 16A to Terenure. The songs just suited the time perfectly with their intimacy and hushed vocals. The original version of Step Outside In The Morning Light and There Are Words are probably Kitt's finest songs. Generally viewed as a ?very good' album and certainly not a great one, it's a personal favourite.

Thin Lizzy 'Live and Dangerous'Act: Thin Lizzy
Album: 'Live and Dangerous' (1978)
A feature of Irish music, as a friend aptly put it, is that there is an abundance of very good albums but a lack of brilliant ones and one can only wax lyrical about so many of them. This album catches Thin Lizzy just before it all went awry for the band and Crumlin son Phil Lynott. Of course, questions may be asked over exactly how Irish Lizzy were at the time and how live the album actually is, but this is a cracking collection of 70s rock songs so who cares? Although they probably wouldn't last 10 minutes these days, the likes of Cowboy Song, Emerald, Jailbreak and Dancing In The Moonlight have aged brilliantly and a reminder of how strong some of their songs could be while Baby Drives Me Crazy takes the listener straight to what seems like the best gig of all time. Lynott's like is unlikely to be seen again on these shores so this, alo ng with the tunes, makes Live And Dangerous an essential Irish album.

(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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