It was the summer of 1997 when I first saw Black 47 perform at the Guinness Fleadh. Since then I have seen them perform numerous times in different venues, mostly in upstate NY. It was rare that I missed their Memorial Day shows in East Durham, NY.
Their music is upbeat and electrifying and often told tales of Irish politics. Some songs, such as James Connolly, really got the crowd going. Their most famous song, Funky Ceili, was always a crowd pleaser. I wonder what Bridie is doing right now.
I was fortunate enough to see one of their last shows, last night, in Poughkeepsie, NY. Tonight will be their final performance at B.B. Kings in Manhattan, and then Black 47 will retire.
It has been 25 years since their journey began, and I can honestly say they are my most favorite band. Over the years I have acquired T-shirts, CDs, and books from Black 47, items I will long cherish.
I spoke to Larry Kirwan after the show last night. I told him that it won't be the same without them around anymore, but as he said, "everything must come to an end."
Larry and Black 47 have been a positive influence and inspiration in my life. They have given us so much good music and so many good memories over the years, I wish them all the very best.
Good luck, Black 47. It has been a pleasure.