Black 47

Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes

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Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes is the audio companion to Black 47 bandleader Larry Kirwan's memoir, Green Suede Shoes: An Irish-American Odyssey. The six brand-new tracks, as well as two re-recorded cuts from previously deleted albums and two songs culled the Wexford-born writer/musician/playwright's numerous side projects, tell the story of an Irish immigrant on the rocky road to America and his eventual slide into the welcoming arms of rock & roll. Black 47 are as New York City as Lou Reed and as working class as Bruce Springsteen, but despite their local iconic status, their bluesy brand of Celtic rock never truly caught on with the general public. Kirwan, who tells stories like Bob Dylan and sings like an even more affected version of Kevin Rowland from Dexys Midnight Runners, is a relentlessly energetic soul, a tireless advocate for the blue-collar pub crawler, and a genuinely talented writer with a band -- whose members still play with the intensity of musicians half their age -- that instinctually follows his every step. It's a shame that so many people can't get past his manic delivery and familial earnestness, because songs like "Far Side of the Wall," "Into the West," and the rousing "Uncle Jim" are what the American experience is all about: love and suffering, drinking, forgiving and acceptance.

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