If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack of traditional and modern Irish music to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, here are some albums you can stream for free on Hoopla using your Livingston Library card.
The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988)
My personal favorite record by an Irish artist, If I Should Fall From Grace with God mixes the ancient beauty of Celtic folk with the brash swagger of British punk.
The Dubliners – The Very Best of The Dubliners (1962-2009)
The Dubliners were a major influence on The Pogues and many other bands who wanted to bridge the gap between old and new Irish music. Their version of the traditional favorite “Whiskey in the Jar” is the definitive one.
Van Morrison – Moondance (1970)
Van Morrison combined soulful and mystical like no other musician, especially on the title track of his third solo album. This Deluxe Edition also contains dozens of bonus tracks and alternate takes for the extra-curious listener.
Rory Gallagher – Rory Gallagher (1971)
Guitarist Rory Gallagher inspired legendary musicians like Queen’s Brian May, U2’s The Edge, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, and The Smiths’ Johnny Marr. His debut album is a stirring fusion of blues, rock, jazz, and folk.
The Chieftains – The Chieftains 5 (1975)
For over six decades, The Chieftains have been keeping traditional Irish music alive and introducing it to global audiences; they were even the first Western musical act invited to play at The Great Wall of China, in 1983. The group’s 5th album makes a superb introduction to their vast and enduring body of work.
Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous (1978)
Considered one of the best rock n’ roll concert albums ever recorded, Live and Dangerous has extra-rollicking versions of classic Thin Lizzy tunes like “The Boys Are Back In Town,” “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and “Jailbreak.”
Stiff Little Fingers – All the Best (1977-1983)
Northern Ireland’s answer to bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers were among the most incendiary of the early punk bands. Tracks like “Suspect Device” and “Alternative Ulster” still sound feisty and fresh over 40 years later.
The Undertones – The Best of the Undertones (1978-1983)
While Stiff Little Fingers were playing invigorating songs about heavy political conflicts like The Troubles, their fellow countrymen in The Undertones were making undeniably catchy power-pop about teenage love, summertime fun, and other more lighthearted themes.
The Boomtown Rats – Back to Boomtown: Classic Rats Hits (1977-1984)
Before Bob Geldof became one of music’s most prominent activists, he fronted the art punk / new wave band The Boomtown Rats, who recorded unforgettable songs such as “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
U2 – War (1983)
U2 is arguably the biggest rock band ever to come out of Ireland, and War— along with The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby— is among their most iconic albums, with blistering protest songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day.”
Enya – Watermark (1988)
Enya’s work– cosmic, primordial, densely layered yet ethereal and uplifting– is what most people would probably imagine when they hear the term “New Age Music.” Watermark is her breakthrough album, and features the worldwide smash hit “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away).”
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991)
Speaking of “densely-layered,” My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless might have more guitar tracks on each song than there are pubs in Dublin. Pulverizing and hypnotic, this album is not merely the quintessential “shoegaze” record, it’s one of the most influential alternative rock statements of all time.
The Cranberries – Gold (1993-2002)
The Cranberries aren’t always mentioned as one of the best pop/rock bands of the 1990s, but they should be. Their greatest hits span a wide spectrum of style and emotion, from gorgeously tender tracks like “Dreams,” “Linger,” “Ode to My Family,” and “Free to Decide,” to rowdy and rebellious anthems like “Zombie,” “Ridiculous Thoughts,” and “Salvation.”
Sinead O’Connor – Faith and Courage (2000)
Sinead O’Connor is one of Ireland’s most renowned musicians, as well as one of its most outspoken. On Faith and Courage, she’s characteristically spiritual and righteously angry, while collaborating with notable artists like Wyclef Jean, Brian Eno, and the Eurythmics’ David Stewart.
The Corrs – In Blue (2000)
Celtic motifs meet millennial pop on The Corrs’ 2000 album, which includes their irresistible hit song, “Breathless.”
Boyzone – A Different Beat (1996)
Though they never made it big in the U.S. like fellow ’90s boy bands NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys, Ireland’s Boyzone were huge in Europe, thanks to tunes like “A Picture of You,” from their second album.
The Commitments – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1991)
The Commitments may be a fictional band from Alan Parker’s 1991 film (based on Roddy Doyle’s 1987 novel), but the powerful way they infuse American Soul and R&B with gritty Irish passion is 100% real.
Spotify users can also hear our very own playlist here:
— Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Department