Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Pol Mac Adaim "My Name Is Troy Davis" CD
I awaited this new release by Belfast native and Irish Rebel balladeer, Pol Mac Adaim with great anticipation. And without any doubts, my wait was not in vain. And what a marvelous release, dedicated to both, Pol’s mother and Troy Davis, victim of State persecution and injustice, this CD will undoubtedly be remembered as one that stands apart, and proves that Pol Mac Adaim’s contributions to folk music has reached the greatness of Luke Kelly, Woody Guthrie, Pecker Dunne or Matt Mc Ginn, and proves also, that the rebel sounds of Ireland still shake the earth like summer thunder.
Beginning with David Rovic's rousing tribute to those Irish soldiers that joined in the cause of Mexican freedom, "St. Patrick's Battallion" is a great anthem of solidarity and who better to do a fine version of this classic than Pol Mac Adaim, a musician, Fenian, socialist, and working class hero, who has sung songs in four different languages, and who understands the importance of international solidarity, and a reminder of the deep friendship between Irish and Mexican soldiers :
“From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied
So we formed the Saint Patrick’s Battallion
And we fought on the Mexican side”
Continuing with mighty sing-songs of freedom, “Legacy of Brendan” is a stirring tribute to the legendary freedom fighter, Brendan “Darkie” Hughes, a tune that really causes you to reflect and reminds us all of one of Ireland’s finest and bravest sons. With beautiful melody and moving prose, this rebel ballad will be remembered as one of the greatest Irish Rebel ballads of the 21st century :
“Farewell to the streets of Old Belfast
The place where I was born
Farewell to my friends and brave comrades
Those gallant ‘dogs of war’
When I think of the lives that were sacrificed
In 30 years of war
And I see what became of my country
I ask myself ‘what was it all for?’
Great ballads always make you stop and think and reflect on great men and women, and this tune ranks as one of the finest of rebel ballads, without any doubts. And if this tune does not resonate with you, you don’t have a heart.
Never to cease to amaze us with great anthems of proletarian rebellion and Fenian resistance, Pol marches on triumphantly, with a brilliant tribute to the people of Mayo, “Do You Feel?” , who are standing up against the tyranny and injustice of Shell Oil Corporation. Stripped of their native rights to fish their own bays and seas by the Corporate parasites and Free State puppets whose greed has no bounds and who do not have a bone of compassion or courage in their over-fed bodies, this great tune reminds us of the courage of the people of Mayo , fighting back to protect their waters from the toxins of Shell , whom have no ethics nor any respect for the people nor the people’s natural eco-system and their need to defend that eco-system from the Fat Cats of Shell Oil. As Pol says himself so well :
“So here’s a health to the people
Who’ve kept up the fight
For the cause you’ve embraced
Is both noble and right
And a message for the gangsters,
Their henchmen and media clowns
Despite all your tricks and your tactics so sick
Like the system that you’ve rammed down our throats with a stick
Your methods will all be in vain, We won’t let you prevail….”
Next, Pol does a stellar cover of Christy Moore’s tribute to the Blanketmen, "Ninety Miles From Dublin", and all the Irish Freedom Fighters confined to the H Blocks in the 1980s. Well done, Pol, no one else can tackle a Christy Moore classic like yourself and breathe new life into an old mighty ode to the Men of 81’ like Pol Mac Adaim.
Afterwards, Eamon O’Doherty’s accolade to gallant Joe Mc Cann is done splendidly by Pol, reminding us of how much of an impact, just one man can have, even when faced with his own inevitable death, but still deciding to fight with his last breath against all odds :
“His cause was the freedom of the people in this land,
The Protestant and Catholic working man
But he caused the Bosses fear and for this they paid him dear
So they murdered brave Joe Mc Cann.”
Next, without skipping a beat, the rousing title track, “My Name Is Troy Davis”, begins with a mighty harmonica call-to-arms, reminding us of the cruel injustice and State brutality that still continues in the “United States of America”. Pol’s stirring ballad, reminds us all of Che Guevara’s wise words on solidarity in the face of injustice :
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”
And also reminds us that even in the “land of freedom”, if you happen to be black, poor, not one of the privileged class, or just not wealthy, and you are at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can become another victim of injustice in this so-called “democratic state”.
Next, another amazing and powerful original by Pol is his “H-Block to Maghaberry”, causes us all to pause and reflect on the P.O.W.s in Maghaberry and Portlaoise, and their daily tribulations:
“I know this is now and that was then,
But the same situation is looming again
As British intransigence drags us all back through the slime
How long will we let the Brits dictate
What is a crime in this illegal state
As they rape, murder and pillage
Their way through time?”
Pol’s tribute to the imprisoned Freedom Fighters in Maghaberry and Portlaoise is a powerful reminder that the fight goes on and that as long as there is a British military presence in Ireland, the injustice and tyranny that is always a part of the British Occupation will keep Ireland without freedom, equality, justice, peace or sovereignty. No matter how the Media, the British Crown, and their Sinn Fein puppets spin it, the chances of having a United Ireland under these unjust circumstances is very slim.
“Wild Mountain Thyme”, next takes us away from the slum landlords, drugs, violence, turmoil and tribulations of the city, for a nice intermission, and Pol’s splendid version of this William Mc Peake classic is worth your while. Mellow tunes are always a great listen after songs of rebellion, war, tragedy, injustice and the fight against tyranny, just like sitting down and having a beer with the guy you just fought, after the rumble.
Afterwards, “Another Day”, is a great tribute to the freedom fighters of Palestine and a great reminder of the horrors and injustice of foreign occupation and Zionism. As Pol says himself in this brilliant tune :
“In the White House they refuse to hear our children scream
Far too busy trying to fool the world, with their American Dream
But humanity knows and humanity cares,
Humanity will bring an end to the oppression of the people there
Then we’ll see another day in Palestine…”
And as this great CD comes to a grand conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the last track of this stunning album, “Butterflies”, a nonpolitical and very spiritually uplifting tune, was to be my favorite song of the CD. Another brilliant original by Pol, this song kind of creates a musical dreamscape where the melody gives you wings and allows you to fly, like a butterfly :
“Would you like to fly away
With me for a year and a day?
Our troubles we’ll cast to one side
As we embark on our mystical flight