Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brothers: The Celtic Soul Brothers

Dexys Midnight Runners: The Celtic Soul Brothers

Here’s a little blatant self-promotion, which happens to fit the current theme. Over on Cover Me, I wrote a piece called “In Defense: Dexys Midnight Runners” about a band that I think has been wrongfully maligned over the years and pigeonholed as a “one hit wonder” because of the success of “Come on Eileen.” So, if you haven’t already, check out that piece—I think it is a good one.

What made Dexys interesting was their mix of soul and Celtic sounds, with the proportion of each differing depending on the makeup of the band, which was constantly changing, mostly due to leader Kevin Rowland’s whims and his apparently infinite ability to alienate his fellow band members. In many ways, this song, the first recorded by the more Celtic-sounding lineup featured on the Too-Rye-Ay album which contained “Eileen,” is like a manifesto of intent.

Supposedly, the song was the inspiration for the book, and later movie, The Commitments. If you saw the movie, you probably still remember the incredible performance by the lead singer Andrew Strong, who was only 16 at the time, but had an amazing, soulful voice. It seemed that his potential was unlimited, but despite some commercial success, his career never took off. Also in the film was Glen Hansard, better known for the movie (and play) Once, and the song “Falling Slowly.” Here’s a clip of Celtic soul brothers Strong and the Commitments doing the classic “Mustang Sally.”

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