Saturday, March 08, 2008

Danny Boy

Apparently, with St Patrick's Day less than a couple of weeks away, the owner of an Irish bar in New York has banned the song Danny Boy from being sung in his pub. He has good grounds, it is a depressing and maudlin song and worse, was written by an Englishman who'd never even visited Ireland. Personally I'd like to see the ban extended world wide and only lifted for the end of Irish funerals when everyone is drunk enough to do it justice.

My own family have a history with the song, despite not being even a little bit Irish. My parents have always enjoyed throwing a party, I have memories of them going back into the seventies, and the parties would inevitably involve copious amounts of beer and wine and continue until 3am and later. The closing ceremony usually involved my father and a few of his eldest and closest friends sat around a blazing brazier singing the old songs and the capper to this would usually be Danny Boy. By this point my dad almost always had his harmonica out and be playing along as a half dozen or so very drunk men enjoyed themselves murdering this awful song. These days I find it strangely nostalgic to hear the song but back in the day I can honestly say it was the stuff of nightmares. My parents and their friends were probably the last generation to enjoy the group sing-song as a form of social entertainment, they were also probably the last generation to a common legacy of song to draw on. Popular music today is so diverse and so fractured that it's not an experience we're likely to regain.

So, for my father, I proudly present the finest rendition of Danny Boy known to man. I give you, The Leprechaun Brothers.

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