Black 47 | Bittersweet Sixteen

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Rock: Modern Rock World: Celtic Moods: Type: Political
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Bittersweet Sixteen

by Black 47

New York City Irish Political Rock Band
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  song title
artist name
1. Home of the Brave
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3:26 album only
2. Funky Ceili
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4:15 album only
3. For Waht It's Worth
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4:08 album only
4. My Love Is In New York
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4:22 album only
5. Downtown Baghdad Blues
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4:02 album only
6. Southside Chicago Waltz
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4:11 album only
7. Big Fellah
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5:47 album only
8. Bobby Sands, MP
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5:33 album only
9. Road To Ruin
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4:49 album only
10. Voodoo City
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5:23 album only
11. Staten Island Baby
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3:40 album only
12. Losin' It
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4:17 album only
13. Danny Boy
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5:22 album only
14. Patriot Game
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5:02 album only
15. Forty Deuce
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7:49 album only
16. Joe Hill's Last Will
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1:21 album only
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Album Notes

Bittersweet Sixteen is a 16 track retrospective of Black 47’s recording career from early 1990 to the present. It contains two new songs, Southside Chicago Waltz and Joe Hill’s Last Will. Black 47 is recognized as the premier Irish-American rock group who paved the way for the current Irish punk/roots explosion led by such bands as Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys.

The CD is full of fan and live favorites previously unavailable including Home of the Brave and Patriot Game, unreleased tracks from their first recording session. Two of the highlights are the original pre-Ric Ocasek mix of their hit Funky Ceili and a movie-commissioned version of Steven Stills’ For What It’s Worth. There are live versions of Big Fellah and Bobby Sands MP, classics of the biographical song form that leader Larry Kirwan has pioneered, now used in hundreds of high school and college political science courses nationally. The centerpiece features a Vietnam/Iraq War trilogy, My Love is in New York/Downtown Baghdad Blues/Southside Chicago Waltz dedicated to the band’s many fans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan while also highlighting Black 47’s ongoing resistance to the Bush Administration’s foreign and domestic policies. The CD is capped by six songs from the band’s no-longer-available major label albums. These were culled from a fabled, long lost live studio recording of the K-Rock’s Vin Scelsa Show much bootlegged over the years, but now re-mastered and restored to pristine condition. Bittersweet Sixteen, with a song for every year of their career, is an excellent introduction for the newcomer but also a must-have for the avid Black 47 fan who has appreciated the band’s distinct originality and uncompromising political stance down through the last sixteen years.

Black 47 is led by Larry Kirwan (guitar/vocals). He hosts his own show, Celtic Crush, twice weekly on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. His plays have been performed both in the US and Europe and are collectively published under the title Mad Angels. Both his novel, Liverpool Fantasy, an alternate history of the Beatles, and a memoir, Green Suede Shoes, have received strong sales and much critical acclaim. Geoffrey Blythe (saxophones) was a founder member of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and is one of the leaders of the recently reconfigured The Bureau. Fred Parcells (trombone) has worked extensively in Latin/Jazz and big bands and works independently as a brass and string arranger. Thomas Hamlin (drums) is a veteran of the Max’s/CBGB’s scene and has played in bands with Kirwan since the early 80’s. Andrew Goodsight wrote and recorded with Jeff Buckley and is also a solo singer/songwriter. Joseph Mulvanerty is recognized as one of the great innovators of the Irish uilleann pipes bringing a rare jazz and blues flare to this most traditional of instruments.

Black 47 plays over a hundred gigs a year in North & South America and Europe. Their winter Saturday night NYC shows have been described by as “a rite of passage for all New Yorkers.” Having once closed down the town of Hoboken, Black 47 shows are legendary and incendiary. For tour dates and more information visit: where you can also listen to black47radio or contact Think Press: Monica Hopman / (323) 661-7802 /

Black 47 espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock 'n' roll, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. Black 47 earned their chops playing the pub scene in Manhattan and self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars' Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album, Fire Of Freedom. The band has produced nine albums to date.

"Black 47 remains one of rock's inexplicably obscure treasures." - USA Today

"One or rock's most passionate bands, Black 47 plays Kirwan's fiery agit-pop howlers with the fury of the early Pogues. This Irish tinted rock (with shadings of ska and reggae) is incendiary." - Chicago Sun Times

"Both political and humorous...a wicked blend of Celtic music, ska and roots rock." - Billboard


to write a review

Christian Henke, East-Germany

No political but musical correctness!
This is a very unusual record, it's another and better kind of the governmental Voice of America! I'm fascinated by the mixture of musical styles and the way they reflect political aspects of past and present. My top favorites are the anti-war-trilogy and the more uptempo-tracks like "Home Of The Brave" or "Road To Ruin" and "Losin' It". May these avantgardists of Irish-rooted American music give a wake-up call to many more potential listeners and viewers! Thank you BLACK 47 for a doing a very good job!