Year in and year out, no matter what trends may come and go, Houston's stoutest Irish rockers will always be those battlin' Blaggards. Since July 2004, Patrick Devlin, Chad Smalley, Mike McAloon and now Brittany Johnson (the newest Blaggard) brandish a three-pronged rock trident of AC/DC, Social Distortion and Thin Lizzy that has pierced many a good man's liver and led more than a few fair young maidens down a path of temptation to the strains of "Fields of Athenry" or "Folsom Prison Blues."
And unless they're off playing College Station, Austin, St. Louis or even further afield on their annual pilgrimage to Ireland -- No. 5 is coming up in October -- Blaggards are also one of the easiest bands in town to find. Most weekends you can find them rocking the Ashford Pub, one of the many Molly's in the area, or Molly Malone's in Spring in addition to selected weeknight events like their "Halfway to St. Paddy's Day" bash September 17 at Under the Volcano.
Of course, offstage Blaggards are real pussycats (shhh...), longtime friends of Rocks Off who are always happy to help us out in a pinch. So to salute the band's "10 Years of Stout Irish Rock" anniversary gig at the Continental Club tomorrow evening, we asked the band to tell us their ten favorite drinking songs. They weren't exactly reluctant to oblige, so fans might as well just designate a driver right now. Slainte!
10. "That Woman's Got Me Drinking," Shane MacGowan and the Popes
Shane MacGowan might be the only person who can sing about drinking ten bottles of gin and not sound like he's exaggerating.
9. "Ace of Spades," Motörhead
I take that back. There's also Lemmy, whose blood must be pure Jack Daniels by now. The lyrics here are about gambling, but when he sings "I don't want to live forever," we all know what he's talking about.
8. "Liquor, Beer & Wine," Reverend Horton Heat
Speaks for itself. How could we leave this one out?
7. "Have a Drink on Me," AC/DC
If you're looking to make new friends, put this on the jukebox, buy a round, and tip the staff. Done.
6. "Whole Lotta Things," Southern Culture on the Skids
A great song that doesn't mention alcohol by name, but has a long list of wild proclamations that sure sound like the ramblings of someone who's had a few.
5. "I Wanna Be Sedated," Ramones
There are so many reasons to drink, but probably none more satisfying than the "Kill me now!" flavor of desperation brought on by sheer, excruciating boredom. It's fitting then, that this is probably the least boring song in the world. We often throw this one at an audience when we want to kick things up a notch.
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4. "Streams of Whiskey," the Pogues
All ten of these could have easily been Pogues songs. All of Shane's best work makes drinking feel like some kind of epic adventure. "Streams" is one of the most uplifting drinking songs he ever wrote, and shares the revelation that the meaning of life can be found by going to a bar and getting totally hammered.
3. "Sunday Morning Comin' Down," Johnny Cash (written by Kris Kristofferson)
Not many drinking songs can be described as having a "soaring chorus," but oh man, does this one soar. Patrick once listened to this about 20 times in a row on a late-night drive home from Austin. Also, you can't beat the line "And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert."
2. "Whiskey in the Jar," traditional
This is a traditional Irish song that Thin Lizzy inadvertently turned into a rock anthem. By the far the most frequently requested song at our shows, often multiple times a night.
1. "The Boys are Back in Town," Thin Lizzy
The spirit of this song is so close to what we aim to achieve at every Blaggards show, it's kind of funny that we've never covered it. There are tons of drinking songs about the good ol' days, but none of them capture the sheer exhilaration and joy you feel when sharing memories with good friends like this song does. Lyrically and musically, Phil-O absolutely nails it.
However, we also promised Blaggards we would note one late-breaking revision. "'Karma Chameleon' should be No. 1," offers Devlin. So there you have it....you come and go.
Blaggards toast ten years of whiskey in the jar 10 p.m. Friday night at the Continental Club, 3700 Main. Picture Book plays the no-cover happy hour beforehand.
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