Last night I was watching RTE look back at 1985.
In amongst Ballinspittle and other moving statues, Kiernan’s triple-crown winning drop goal against England, Barry McGuigan’s world title win against Pedrosa at Loftus Road, Garret the Good and Thatcher’s Anglo-Irish Agreement, the formation of the Progressive Democrats, Geldof’s pride in Irish contributions to Live Aid, and Spike Island becoming a riot for joyriders, was Paul Brady with his guitar on the Late Late singing about another Island.
It came from an album, though nowhere near his 1970s days with Planxty or Andy Irvine, was more inclined to folk than the big switch he’d done to Rock when he brought out Hard Station in 1981.
With the 15th anniversary this week of the Warrington bomb, itself coming after the announcement by Paisley of his retiring, The Island now seems very much of its time in the way that the folk music Brady moved on from the previous decade often gets rooted in times left behind.
Kansas City’s music commenter Happy in Bag was in London for St Patrick’s Day where he got to see Luka Bloom. But reeling from the joys that being in a foreign country can bring told people they were watching Paul Brady. Which is a bonus for you because on his There Stands The Glass site you get to hear about both Bloom and Brady.
The Island (Paul Brady)
They say the skies of Lebanon are burning
Those mighty cedars bleeding in the heat
They’re showing pictures on the television
Women and children dying in the street
And we’re still at it in our own place
Still trying to reach the future through the past
Still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone…
But Hey! Don’t listen to me!
This wasn’t meant to be no sad song
We’ve heard too much of that before
Right now I only want to be here with you
Till the morning dew comes falling
I want to take you to the island
And trace your footprints in the sand
And in the evening when the sun goes down
We’ll make love to the sound of the ocean
They’re raising banners over by the markets
Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard walls
Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall
Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory…
Now I know us plain folks don’t see all the story
And I know this peace and love’s just copping out
And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches
Is just what being free is all about
And how this twisted wreckage down on main street
Will bring us all together in the end
And we’ll go marching down the road to freedom…
Copyright Hornall Brothers Music