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A Touch of the Irish

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March 15, 2005

It's the wearin' of the green and a green celluloid gel for the St. Patrick's Day show.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Sugarludes Retail Comedy at Wholesale Prices Stevens and Grdnic The next logical step after Ritalin.
Riverdance Remix Riverdance - Music from the Show Riverdance Orchestra This is the final track from the 1995 CD that started the whole Riverdance craze. The music is by Irish composer Bill Whelan.
Ri-Ra Riverdance on Broadway (OC 2000) Riverdance Singers and Orchestra This is from the revised version of the show put together specifically for Broadway.
Strings of Fire Feet of Flames (OC 1998) Maire Breathnach (fiddle), Irish Film Orchestra, supervised by Catriona Walsh Intended as a display for Riverdance star Michael Flatley's talents, Feet of Flames was a one-shot open-air dance extravaganza performed 7/25/1998 in London's Hyde Park for an audience of 25,000. Music is by Irish film composer Ronan Hardiman, who also wrote the music for Flatley's Lord of the Dance.
Celtic Fire Feet of Flames (OC 1998) Michael Flatley (flute), Cora Smyth and Mairéad Nesbith, Company Recorded live; the rest of the CD is a studio production.
How Are Things in Glocca Morra? Finian's Rainbow (OC 1947) Ella Logan Music by Burton Lane, lyrics by E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg. The latter got the idea for the show because he wanted to satirize a monetary system that depended on a lot of gold stored in Fort Knox. This led to the idea of the leprechaun and his pot of gold, and resulted in an odd story of a transplanted Irish family, a hidden pot of gold and a lecherous leprechaun, with satirical jabs at Dixie racism. Finian's Rainbow opened 1/10/1947 and ran for 725 performances.
Carrickfergus Feet of Flames (OC 1998) Anne Buckley, Irish Film Orchestra, supervised by Catriona Walsh Like "How Are Things in Glocca Mora", this song (traditional Irish, in this case) is about homesickness. The lyrics of the original are considerably gloomier.
No Irish Need Apply The Hand That Holds the Bread Kate Scharre (vocal), Cincinnati's University Singers The Irish who emigrated to the U.S.A. and served in the Civil War subsequently found job discrimination and insulting ethnic stereotyping in popular entertainment, where they were treated (along with blacks) as the butt of America's racist humor. This song is actually from 1864, when the Irish were achieving political power and stereotypes were changing.
The Sick Note Milestones The Dubliners Here's a more humorous look at an Irishman on the job.
First Witness News Self Stevens and Grdnic An illustration of why first isn't always best.
Wriggler's Gum Retail Comedy at Wholesale Prices Stevens and Grdnic It's the meat-lovers' gum!
I've Got Rings on My Fingers Full Steam Ahead and Loaded Up The St. Louis Ragtimers This hit by Maurice Scott was introduced by Vaudeville star Blanche Ring in a Weber and Fields musical in 1909, but the stereotype of the glib, cheerful and often intoxicated Irish-American goes back to the middle of the 19th century.
John Riley's Always Dry Don't Give the Name a Bad Place Max Morath, Dick Hyman (piano and cond.), chorus This cliché portrait of the alcoholic Irishman is from Mulligan's Silver Wedding, one of a series of musicals featuring Irish-American characters by Irish-American songwriter, singer and actor Ned Harrigan. Harrigan flourished in New York in the last decades of the 19th century. George M. Cohan paid tribute to him in the song "Harrigan".
Hang the Mulligan Banner Up Don't Give the Name a Bad Place Max Morath, Dick Hyman (piano and cond.), chorus From The Mulligan Guard Nominee, this song reflects the rising political influence of Irish-Americans in the late 19th century.
A Touch of the Irish Meet Me in St. Louis (OC 1990) Betty Garrett, Donna Kane and Juliet Lambert This stage version of the movie classic was not very successful (it opened on November 2nd 1989 and closed on June 10th 1990 after only 252 performances), partly because the extra songs composed to beef up the score were rather mediocre in comparison to the originals Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane had written for the film decades earlier.
When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love Finian's Rainbow (OC 1947) David Wayne Og the leprechaun is slowly turning into a mortal and is discovering he's attracted to women - all of them.
Onion Radio News 23 The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland Nine People Drawn and Quartered at Out-of-Hand Renaissance Fair. I guess this is the logical outcome of a focus on "traditional morality".
Chapter 2 - An Outrageously Disgusting Disguise The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra The Firesign Theatre This week's story time segment continues thrilling tale from The Cheque Book of Hemlock Stones. In chapter 2, Dr. Flotasm arrives at The Curse of India Pub disguised as Violet Dawn Dudley in order to pick up the parcel described in a mysterious coded message, but has problems figuring out which of the many disgusting denizens of the pub is Stones in disguise.
Graduation The Ten Minute University John Moschitta The world needs your 10 minutes of expertise!
A Streetcar Named Desire The Ten Minute University John Moschitta Professor Moschitta's post-graduate course in literary classics begins with Tennessee William's play summarized in just less than 90 seconds.
Tahiti Travelogue Self Bob and Ray And you thought it was hot in New Orleans!
Sauna Bath Self Bill Cosby The tragic results of over-steaming!
The Irish Ballad Tom Lehrer Revisited Tom Lehrer Recorded live in Cambridge, MA, 11/1959. True fans of traditional Irish music might not find this all that funny. Life can be harsh at times.
I Used to be an Irish Catholic Class Clown George Carlin George recalls his days in Catholic school.
The Confessional Class Clown George Carlin
My Home Town Tom Lehrer Revisited Tom Lehrer Speaking of memories about the Good Old Days, here's a song about why it might not be such a good idea to return to the town you had the good sense to leave in the first place.
Weather - Speed - Token Jazz Somewhere Over the Radio Stevens and Grdnic Learn to speed read at the White Cross School.
Piper's Maggot Jig Barry Lyndon (OS 1975) The Chieftains The music for this Stanley Kubrick film is a mix of 18th-century classics and Irish traditional tunes like this one.
Paddy's Mazurka Agnes Browne (OS 2000) Dave Mullaney (accordion), Ger Kiely (guitar) It all sounds traditional, but in fact the music for this Anjelica Huston film is by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains
Grab the Money Agnes Browne (OS 2000) Dave Mullaney (accordion), Ger Kiely (guitar)
Tripping Up the Stairs Reel Agnes Browne (OS 2000) Dave Mullaney (accordion), Ger Kiely (guitar)
The Nuns Evelyn (OS 2002) The Grogan Family The Evelyn of the title is one of three children of the unemployed Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan). When his wife leaves him the day after Christmas, the children are sent to a Catholic orphanage and Doyle must fight to reclaim them.
On The Banks Of The Roses Evelyn (OS 2002) Pierce Brosnan and The Grogan Family The score for this 2002 film (including these two traditional-sounding tracks) is by Stephen Endelman.
Dancing at Lughnasa Dancing at Lughnasa (OS 1998) Nollaig Casey (fiddle), Mairtin O'Connor (accordion), Davy Spillane (pipes, low whistle), Martin Murray (banjo), Sean D. Halpenny (bodhran), Bill Whelan (drums and percussion) The score is by Bill Whelan, best known for as the composer of Riverdance - which brings us full circle.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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