Why is Black 47’s Home of the Brave on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
An unusual but ultimately pleasing combination of traditional Irish music and modern American rock.
What does Black 47’s Home of the Brave mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Over the course of a few years, I wound up seeing Black 47 live several times in and around New York City, and always enjoyed the experience. They bring a pub rock energy that never fails to get the crowd (often drinking beer out of plastic cups) going.
“Different Drummer” is a good representation of Black 47 at its best.
If you’ve not heard them before, Black 47 delivers a somewhat unusual combination of traditional Irish music and modern American rock. Once you get oriented, though, you’ll understand that this is a New York rock band deeply devoted to their Irish heritage and roots. And then you can just kick back and enjoy, or even dance if you’re of a mind.
“Who Killed Bobby Fuller” has a horn section and Latin-y flavor that brings a 1960s pop vibe to the band’s Irish American rock sound. According to UltimateClassicRock.com, here’s the deal with Bobby Fuller:
The singer-guitarist, who led the Bobby Fuller Four to a Top 10 hit with “I Fought the Law,” was found dead of asphyxiation in the front seat of his mother’s car on July 18, 1966. The debate still rages whether the rising star committed suicide, died accidentally or was murdered.
What struck me upon first hearing the song are the lyrics: I just got mugged down in Tompkins Square / When a skinny-a–ed junkie stuck a bayonet in my ear. Tompkins Square Park is located in the East Village in Manhattan.
When I lived in New York City in the late 1990s, the East Village was starting to get a lot nicer – though a far cry from the super safe, eclectic playground it would later become. And Tompkins Square Park was definitely a place that you did not want to venture out to at night.
This album also sounds like
Certainly there’s a Pogues influence here, but I think Flogging Molly is probably the closest cousin.
Historical stuff that’s somehow related to Black 47’s Home of the Brave
“Black 47” is a reference to the year 1847 in Ireland, which was the worst of bad times during the devastating potato famine, known simply as the Great Hunger or the Famine within Ireland. That famine helped prompt a massive exodus from Ireland, resulting in part with a huge influx of Irish immigrants to the United States.
Most of those people sailed across the Atlantic and went through Ellis Island, and many finally settled in New York City. I grew up on Long Island, New York in a neighborhood where there was a strong majority of people of either Irish, Italian, or Jewish descent.
I thought I knew a little bit about Irish history, but realized that it really was a very little bit after being lucky enough to visit Ireland for a few weeks with my wife in 2019. Ireland has a rich and colorful culture along with friendly people and astonishingly beautiful countryside that’s well worth exploring. It also has a history that was often tragic and deeply sad until very recently.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Black 47’s Home of the Brave
Black 47 is a band that likes to name check their own name in their songs often enough. So much so, in fact, that we used to good naturedly tease the band among our group of friends to the effect of we’re Black 47 Black 47 ‘cause we’re Black 47!
Some stats & info about Black 47 – Home of the Brave
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Celtic Rock, Pub Rock, Indie Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
- When was Home of the Brave released? 1994
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #968 out of 1,000
Black 47’s Home of the Brave on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.