St. Patrick's party prep

Póg mo thóin if you don’t like the music!

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, and my Kelly hubby is heavy into party planning.

“I bought green-striped thigh-high stockings [$4.99 at partycity.com] for you,” he announced, “and a little green top-hat hairband thingy [$9.99 at partycity.com].”

“It’s called a fascinator, honey,” I informed my Irishman.

“What kind of party is this going to be?” I asked, picturing my outfit.

“An awesome one,” he answered. “I got a frothy green beer hat [$14.99 at partycity.com] and flashing shamrock glasses [$4.95 at centurynovelty.com].”

“Classy,” I said. “There’s an Irish saying: ‘An Irishman has an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustains him through temporary periods of joy.’ That beer hat is your tragedy.”

“What are we doing for music?” I asked, changing the subject.

“I wanted a live band, but I blew the budget on your stockings,” Patrick winked. “Call your experts and get some recommendations. We’ll put together a playlist.”

“Our favorite Irish albums around here are Chieftains albums,” explained Angela, “and also a somewhat arcane album called My Love Is in America, which is the recording of a fiddle fest at Boston College that I happened upon in person [$4.22 used at amazon.com]. And The Wild Rover is the best drinking song,” she added ($.99 for an MP3 at amazon.com).

“My man sang that song at our wedding reception,” I reminisced, winking at Patrick. The comment launched him into song:

“I’ve been a wild rover for many a year,

And I’ve spent all me money on whiskey and beer,

But now I’m returning with gold in great store,

And I promise to play the wild rover no more...”

“Okay, Bard of Armagh, back to the playlist,” I chided.

“The High Kings is a great band,” suggested Brigid, “and I also like ‘I Know My Love,’ by the Corrs and the Chieftans [$.99 MP3s at amazon.com], and I love Niamh Parsons [Blackbirds & Thrushes, $8.99 for the MP3 album at amazon.com].”

“Elemental, by Loreena McKennitt is beautiful but slow [$17.99 for CD at amazon.com], and the soundtrack of Waking Ned Devine is fun,” she added ($13.58 for CD, $9.49 for MP3 at amazon.com).

“If you’re rocking out,” offered Margaret, “The Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God is the very best album from the band that created the genre of Irish folk-punk [$10.43 for CD, $4.99 for MP3 at amazon.com]. Any Pogues record is awesome, though, along with copycats like Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Fiddler’s Green, or the Mahones.”

“On the classical side, anything Chieftains,” said Margaret. “Van Morrison with the Chieftains...that album is excellent, and his version of ‘Star of County Down’ is awesome [$19.98 used CD at amazon.com].”

For instrumental music, “Derek Bell’s Musical Ireland is one of my all-time favorite Irish instrumentals [$13.99 CD at amazon.com]. His rendition of ‘Carrickfergus’ is gorgeous.”

Margaret suggested Susan Reed Plays the Irish Harp ($9 CD, $6.99 MP3 at amazon.com) any Mary Black (Mary Black, $13.85 CD; Holy Ground, $14.99 CD at amazon.com), and Sinead O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got ($8.86 CD, $9.49 MP3 at amazon.com). “Sinead O’Connor’s versions of the ‘Parting Glass’ and ‘He Moved Through the Fair,’ heard in the end scene of the movie Michael Collins, are both hauntingly beautiful.”

“I hope this helps,” Margaret added, “and if not, Póg mo thóin!”

“Sassy Irishwoman,” complained Patrick, who understands enough Gaelic to know that póg mo thóin means “kiss my arse.”

“We love classics like Clancy Brothers, the Irish Rovers, Paddy Reilly, Wolftones, and the Fureys,” suggested my Irish pal Bernadette, whose husband Tim performs in an Irish band. “And newer groups like Young Dubliners, Gaelic Storm, and Flogging Molly.”

“As for tunes for the playlist,” she continued, “include some fun ones like ‘The Unicorn,’ ‘Donald Where’s Your Trousers,’ ‘Goodbye Mrs. Durkin,’ ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma,’ and, of course, ‘The Rattling Bog.’ The party favorite ‘The Rooster’ by Fair Isle Folk is great stuff.”

Other must-have classic tunes for your St. Paddy’s party playlist [$.99 per MP3 at amazon.com]: “The Irish Rover,” “Wild Colonial Boy,” “Fields of Athenry,” “Whiskey in a Jar,” “Black Velvet Band,” “Star of the County Down,” “What’s Left of the Flag” (the Flogging Molly version), “Many Young Men of Twenty,” “Only Our Rivers Run Free,” “Grace,” “A Song for Ireland,” and “Nora.”

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