Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill look like a couple of old geezers, don’t they?
Apparently they met in the eighties playing in a jazz fusion band – go figure – but found a mutual love for Irish music. I haven’t heard their first album The Lonesome Touch but I’d like to. I have this, their second album, on high rotation in the house and car. It puts me in a good mood most times I put it on. They have done other records, but not together, so I believe.
Hayes’ playing is kind of slower and less flamboyant than a lot of other Irish fiddle stuff I have heard, but there are soulful swoops and touches to replace the sound of the virtuoso’s burning fingerboard. But for me, Cahill’s playing is what really makes it work out. It’s all voicings of the same five or six chords we all play, but Cahill always picks the perfect inversion for the particular moment in the tune. And the sound he gets brings out echoes of harp, lute, and banjo, and goes well beyond the standard steel string strum-along that sits behind so much Irish fiddle playing.
All up, these guys are really worth a listen. It’s all instrumental and all quite slow and soft, but it’s groovy, too.
This particular tune is apparently a Scottish dance set but to me it sounds kind of American. I can see it as the instrumental track to some coming to America story, the first time an immigrant sees Boston, or something of that sort.
Incidentally, the chords / melody at the end of each verse are from an English trad tune called the Weaver and the Factory Maid. I love this song immensely, probably my favourite Maddy Prior tune. It was important to me at around the time my Dad died so I think that is why the lyrics to my version have ended up being about that.
Like all good Aussie boys, I love me some Bon and Co. especially when I’ve had a few, but when I think about it, there are some paradoxes in my attitude to AC/DC, viz:
Even though I think all their songs sound the same, I love some to death, while others bore me (to death), and I find the “good track to filler” ratio pretty intolerable on the majority of their records. So, something stands out about some songs but I don’t know what it is.
I don’t normally think of them as a singles band, yet my “best of” track list has lots of singles.
I think I can only stand them in “small doses”, but I will happily listen to selected songs (“Live Wire” and a few others) about ten times in a row, getting increasingly louder each time.
I think of them as a mood band, yet some of their songs just get me no matter what mood I’m in. In fact, they put me in the mood to listen to them more.
I’ll probably never figure them out. But anyway, here’s my Bon Scott era, reduced to the 12-song “best of” LP – incidentally, something the band themselves haven’t ever really released.
I’ve included ‘Live Wire’ as an mp3, just so that in case you are a novice AC/DC listener, you can hear what plain rock music should sound like. I I fucking love the intro to this song. It’s just such an obvious piece of rock, someone just had to do it, and AC/DC decided that someone was them, and did a great job of it, too; it’s simple, solid, stirring, ballsy, and really well recorded.