Well, where to start?
It could be BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND… like I was in Slane Castle, making it up as I went along. You let me sing beside you.
You reminisced about Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem in the West Village, encouraging me “you’ve not just got to make your own song up, you got to make yourself up too”.
In the scriptures, the apostle John has his view on BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND….. John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The biblical stuff continues…
It could be IT’S ALRIGHT, MA (I’M ONLY BLEEDING) even just for the epitaph “He not busy being born is busy dying”.
It could be SERIES OF DREAMS because I love the video by Charlie Whisker; the rolling drums and 50’s production from Daniel Lanois.
And yes, your fans love you rock-facing into the chilly winds. Mortality. Humbug.
It could be SEÑOR (TALES OF A YANKEE POWER) with the mute power of the landscape and the archangel riding beside you in silence too. Death has loads of dominion…
It could be RING THEM BELLS with their heralding of a higher power to fight those who are
“breaking down the distance; between right and wrong”.
It could be EVERY GRAIN OF SAND, which Steve Jobs wanted at his goodbye… One of the last things he said to me was a throw down “why can’t you write something like this for people my age?”… he meant my age. I brought him EVERY BREAKING WAVE… he waved.
It could be DIGNITY… I love that Mary Lou. But she’s back again with FALSE PROPHET, with its Beckett-like ways. More and more we need that unblinking eye of “the sun shone, having no alternative”…. and you have it, laughter as the first and last line of defense.
It could be VISIONS OF JOHANNA with the greatest opening couplet ever….
“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it”.
It could be BROWNSVILLE GIRL with Sam Shepard. A brand new song format as well as another song where the protagonist is not at the centre of the action… “Now I know she ain’t you but she’s here and she’s got that dark rhythm in her soul”.
It could be so many of your songs I turn to, but most of the time it’s MOST OF THE TIME.
Because we love the idea that you/we can still have our heart broken.
Can a life so full be capable of the emptiness love leaves behind?
We know the price of love is grief, so we make friends with the void and the consolation prize is of course beauty, and the fun you seem to have filling that hole…
AND the Daniel Lanois bass hook…
“I can survive,
And I can endure
And I don’t even think
Most of the time”
Your Irish fan club,