The Next Big Thing hype that followed Black 47 everywhere about ten years ago has long since slouched off to dog the heels of some other band, and its major-label contract expired years ago, and one of its most accomplished and distinctive members (piper and occasional Gaelic toaster Chris Byrne) has departed as well, but Black 47 continues unfazed as one of America's several good answers to the Pogues. Unlike other rock'n'reel groups that rely on traditional Celtic tunes and songs for the basis of their repertoire and muscle them up with modern beats, Black 47 is a showcase for original material, all of it from the pen of the occasionally inspired songwriter and consistently terrible singer Larry Kirwan; on this album, the band is also joined by such folk-rock, alt-rock, country-rock, and Irish legends as Rosanne Cash, David Johansen, Eileen Ivers, and Suzzy Roche, most of whom are responsible for the album's highlights. These include "Fiona's Song," on which Cash plies her dark, gorgeous voice and Ivers embroiders everything with haunting fiddle, and the two songs that feature the eternally good-humored Suzzy Roche ("New York Town," "Brooklyn, Goodbye"). David Johansen's talent is wasted on the jaunty but banal "Staten Island Baby," but "Black Rose" and "Blood Wedding" (both remakes of tracks from Black 47's early EMI years) make up for that misstep. Not essential, but not bad at all.
Performance CreditsBlack 47 Primary Artist
Rosanne Cash Vocals,Guest Appearance
David Johansen Vocals,Guest Appearance
Eileen Ivers Fiddle,Guest Appearance
Geoffrey Blythe Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Morning-Star Courtney Vocals,Guest Appearance
Thomas Hamlin Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Larry Kirwan Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Stewart Lerman Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Keyboards
Christine Ohlman Vocals,Guest Appearance
Fred Parcells Trombone,Vocals,tin whistle,Group Member
Suzzy Roche Vocals,Guest Appearance
Robert Moorehead Vocals,Guest Appearance
Andrew Goodsight Bass Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Ashley Davis Vocals,Guest Appearance
Mary Courtney Track Performer
Rozz Moorehead Track Performer
Jon Gordon Guitar,Mandolin,Keyboards
Technical CreditsDave Darlington Engineer
Larry Kirwan Composer,Producer
Stewart Lerman Producer,Engineer
John Murray Live Sound
Jon Gordon Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great CD. I didn't like it this cd as much as the others . But once I gave it a chance I really fell in love with it. "Blood Wedding" is my favorite song on this album. "New York Town" is my favorite 9/11 song to date. Keep up the good work Black 47!
This is not only a great album, made by great musicians, this is, among other things, a True Memorial to the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. "New York Town" will always be more of a memorial than anything those pseudo-intellectual architects will ever design.
This is truly a remarkable recording, and gets better and better with each listening. It captures all the flavor of New York City, with attention not only given to Manhattan, but to the outer boroughs as well. Black 47 is the most original of bands in terms of mixing intelligent commentary, musicianship, passion and fun. It's been nearly 5 years since Black 47's last studio recording. This record is worthy of standing side by side with some of their previous masterpieces like "Fire of Freedom" and "Home of the Brave." Notable guest performers include Roseanne Cash and Eileen Ivers on haunting, impassioned "Fiona's Song," and David Johannsen on "Staten Island Baby." Each track has it's own unique flavor and in true Black 47 fashion, tells a really interesting story.
Lyrics will always make or break a song for me. If I don't like what I'm hearing but later read the words and am affected by them in some way, I'll adapt to the music. That is never necessary with Black 47, their music gives me the best of both worlds. I knew it wouldn't be any different with this latest c.d. As always, each song is a story with a message and you'll find a way to relate in some way or another. Listening to it for the first time I went through just about every emotion. It really brought some bittersweet memories to mind, but it made me laugh too. In addition to all of that...it just simply rocks. The collaborations are fantastic. The band is brilliant on their own, but the addition of vocals from Suzzy Roche, Rosanne Cash, David Johansen, Mary Courtney, Rozz Moorehead, Christine Ohlman and Ashley Davis and fiddle from Eileen Ivers, only enhances what we already knew would blow us away, yet again.