The Corner

Nights in Ballygran

I have to respectfully disagree with my friend and fellow TiVo addict Jonah about HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. I am enjoying the show, perhaps not immensely, but certainly enough to continue tuning in. There is a predictability to some of the plot (as we saw last night), but I find Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson more than makes up for many of the deficiencies in the show. I will say, however, that these are the least violent mobsters I’ve ever encountered in the mob genre. Even young Al Capone has only killed when spooked by a deer and broken only a few bones.

But that’s not why I write today: I write to celebrate the most recent episode’s terrific use of a classic Irish ballad, “Carrickfergus.” It is usually best served after about four pints, when “I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober . . . a handsome rover from town to town” has a ring of truth to it. The song speaks to the yearning for home that many Irish immigrants knew in the New World. And the scene in which it was used, the Ancient Order of the Celts dinner, was a classic.

The credits did not say whose version of the song was playing, but I believe it was the late great Tommy Makem, whose haunting live version with the Clancy Brothers can be enjoyed here. (And feel free to correct me, dear readers, if I’m wrong. You’ve never failed me in that regard before.)

 

Update: And correct me you have. Several readers point out that it is Liam Clancy soloing in the video that I posted, not Tommy Makem. I raised a pint with the Clancy Brothers back in ’91 at O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel in New Orleans, but I may have had a few pints before they got around to me.  So I regret the error. That said, I’d still like confirmation that it is the Clancy Brothers version of the song on last night’s Boardwalk Empire.

Update II: So I’m batting .000, but at least got to highlight a terrific song. Turns out the version of “Carrickfergus” during last night’s Boardwalk Empire was recorded by Loudon Wainwright III. I highly recommend you track it down if you can. 

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More