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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

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Planxty, Adultery, and Murder

Posted by shanoah on May 30, 2008

Oh, certainly it’s more fun to build the ray gun, Sean. But even if you but it, you still have the most significant part left. Modifying it to actually work. And you’d still have to do that with the ones from that company.

Unfortunately, any transition I can think of here would be very contrived, so I won’t bother. If you can think of a good transition to either the Irish band Planxty, or murder ballads from ray guns, let me know. Unfortunately, there seems to be a serious lack of Irish murder ballads involving ray guns. I should rectify that.

Anyways, my featured band in this post is Planxty. The bands core was Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, and Liam O’Flynn, though it has gone through several member changes, and broken up more then once.

Andy Irvine also plays with a band named Patrick Street, and I’ve heard some really good music of theirs, too.

The Blacksmith – Andy Irvine ( with Mick Hanly in 1979)

All right, this isn’t all of Planxty, but where would Planxty be without Andy Irvine? This song is about a lady courted by a blacksmith 9 months ago. And he went off and married someone else. A women scorned is a fairly common theme in Irish music. I like her cynicism at the end:

“…Oh witness, I have none, save God Almighty; and may he reward you well for the slighting of me…”

Though I do prefer the protagonist of the song “Willie Taylor“. (which has a million versions) When she finds out her betrothed married another woman, she pulls out a pair of pistols, and guns them both down on the spot. Now that’s my type of lady…

The instrument Andy is playing here is a bouzouki, btw, in case anyone was curious.

Jolly Beggarman – Planxty (1980)

Here’s another traditional song who sleeps for a night in a farmers house… with his daughter. This song doesn’t seem to have the same weight and drama as the other songs in this post, and is just lighthearted. Otherwise the beggar likely wouldn’t have survived the night. 🙂

Little Musgrave – Planxy (reunion tour – 2004)

Here is another traditional ballad of murder and adultery. (And as you probably noticed, I rather like those). I’ll admit I originally picked out Arthur McBride to put here, before the video got yanked, but this probably works better with the theme I’ve got going anyways.

One interesting thing with this – the music may be new, but the song itself is clearly a variation on the song Mattie Groves, though a lot of the lyrics have changed. Most traditional folk song mutate, and this is a clear example of it.

And you can tell this was from an era where you could literally get away with murder if you owned a castle. Note that nothing happens to the lord at the end.

To contrast, though, here’s a different band playing Mattie Groves:

Matty Groves – Fairport Convention Cropredy (2007)

Admittedly, I could have found a more traditional version of Mattie Groves, which is a tragedy, but I couldn’t resist this one. Because it is Mattie Groves with a video with Lego figures acting the song out in the background. It suddenly turned into a comedy. Which is for the best -a lot of these traditional songs need the air let out of them.

Of course I personally, and I’m sure Sean as well, always think of the Joni Minstrel version with this song. This song has it’s moments, though. “I’d rather a kiss from dead Mattie’s lips then you in all your finery“. You have to wonder how their marriage came to that. An arranged marriage, I’m almost sure…

I’d better stop before I post more, though. I just discovered that a another song I love is sung by Fairpoint Convention, and found a youtube video, but I’ll save that for another post.


One Response to “Planxty, Adultery, and Murder”

  1. […] Anyways, I mentioned a while back that another song I liked turned out to be by Fairpoint Convention when I was posting Matty Groves. […]

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