Monday, May 22, 2006

Black 47 - Bittersweet Sixteen (2006)

Bittersweet Sixteen is not a greatest hits CD even though it is a compilation that celebrates Black 47's sixteen years of existence. The disc contains different versions of some of the band's best and most famous songs ("Funky Ceili", "Bobby Sands MP", and "Road To Ruin" are among them) as well as two new tracks, "Southside Chicago Waltz" and "Joe Hill's Last Will." There are rare tracks, including six long lost songs, recorded live in the studio for radio, that originally appeared on two of the band’s out of print studio CDs, Home Of The Brave and Green Suede Shoes.

As ususal, Black 47 offers everything here from white rap, to punk, to Irish folk music, to reggae, and rock. Larry Kirwan's often emotional stories of life in New York City, tales of problems with the opposite sex, Irish political history, and anti-war themes, are prevalent as always. The highlight is an excellent Kirwan/Roz Morehead duet of Buffalo Springfield’s "For What It’s Worth" that was originally commissioned for a movie.

Bittersweet Sixteen is mostly for fans. While it can also serve as an introduction to Black 47 because it spans the band’s entire career newcomers would be better served to check out any CD prior to 2005’s Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes to get a clearer picture of what this great band is all about.

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