Ode to the Black Album or When Bouzoukis played (Paul O’Brien)


I remember on the radio

Way back in long gone days

We’d listen to the Walton’s

Where traditional music played

And we were well advised

Whether right or wrong

“if you feel like singing

Do sing and Irish song!”


But that was in the old days

The time when trad was trad

With dancing on the radio

Sure I think we all were mad

And people from the country

Kept the ballrooms chocker block

They’d the Macushla and the National

And we had Dicky Rock


In hindsight and in looking back

Sure the likes of you and I

Were more tuned into Caroline

Than to the diddely-eye

We couldn’t tell drone from chanter

Or a hornpipe from a reel

At the Blind we were high kicking

And trying to get a feel


Then suddenly the crew-cuts

The corduroy and the tweed

Made way for the Wranglers

At the Comhras Ceoltor-i

The started flaunting fainnes

In the pub and in your face

The was even talk of diddely-eye

In the Dorset Meeting Place


For me that magic moment was

- My epiphany I feel -

When the Jolly Beggar man

Turned into a reel

Blinded by warm tears of joy

And shook by waves of glee

Sitting on the parlor couch

Clutching the ‘Black’ LP


And Andy took me walking

To the West Coast of Clare

And the Sorrow and the Sadness

And the pubs that he knew there

And Christy knew the words

To every single song

The Raggle Taggle Gypsy’s mot

And the Blacksmith that done wrong


Liam Og played a blinder

He made that chanter hop

And I started getting anxious

Afraid the joy would stop

Donal weaving in and out

Playing counter melody

To Andy’s mando magic

On his brand new bouzouki


While they reached that magic moment

With the needle in the groove

I searched to find the words

To express how I’d been moved

I got down on my knees

As the melodies did weave

And put my hands together saying

“Lord! I do believe!”