The-Chieftans

St. Stephen's Day Murders
  • St. Stephen's Day Murders
  • The Chieftains
  • The Bells of Dublin
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Elvis Costello and The Chieftans, “St. Stephen’s Day Murders”

Since today is the feast day of St. Stephen (a fact, I’m sure, that is known only to the most devout Catholics and pedants like myself,) here’s a rather grim Christmas carol about how to dispatch your tiresome guests on the day after Christmas.

I knew two sisters whose name it was Christmas
And one was named Dawn, of course, the other one was named Eve
I wonder if they grew up hating the season
The good will that lasts ‘till the Feast of St. Stephen

For that is the time to eat, drink, and be merry [for tomorrow we die]
'Till the beer is all spilled and the whiskey is flowed
And the whole family tree you neglected to bury
Are feeding their faces until they explode

There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias
Mixed up with that drink made from girders
'Cause it’s all we got left as they draw their last breath
And it’s nice for the kids as you finally get rid of them
In the St. Stephen’s Day murders

Uncle is gargling a heart-breaking air
While the babe in his arms pulls out all that remains of his hair
And we’re not drunk enough yet to dare criticize
The great big kipper tie he’s about to baptize
With his gin-flavored whispers and kisses of sherry
His best crimble shirt slung out over the shop
While the lights from the Christmas tree blow up the telly
His face closes in like an old cold pork chop

And the carcass of the beast left over from the feast
May still be found haunting the kitchen
And there’s life in it yet we may live to regret
When the ones that we poisoned stop twitching

There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias
Mixed up with that drink made from girders
'Cause it’s all we got left as they draw their last breath
And it’s nice for the kids as you finally get rid of them
In the St. Stephen’s Day murders

The Rebel Jesus


All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by 'the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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My Lagan Love ~ The Chieftains & Lisa Hannigan

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The Foggy Dew- The Chieftans & Sinead O'Connor

This song is again about resistance against the British occupation of Ireland. It also happens to be another one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve heard. I particularly think that it captures the hopelessness of the Irish cause, unlike in the American Revolution the Irish tried to gain freedom numerous times but failed and were treated even worse by the British each time. The line about it being" better to die ‘neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar" alludes to the fact that for young Irish men the choice was not whether or not to fight against the British, but rather the choice was for them to fight against the British or be forcibly conscripted to fight Britain’s wars in far off lands.

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Still haven’t gotten over this. Dear god they need to release an album together or something.

  • Down In The Willow Garden (With Bon Iver)
  • The Chieftains
  • Voice Of Ages
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The Chieftans(w/ Bon Iver) - “Down In The Willow Garden" 

File this one under: Music for getting lost in your own head 

Absolutely GORGEOUS new Chieftans record, with guests like The Decemberists,Low Anthem,Lisa Hannigan, Paolo Nutini, and so many more. A must listen.

  • The Rebel Jesus
  • The Chieftains
  • The Bells of Dublin
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Jackson Browne - “The Rebel Jesus” ft. The Chieftans

My dad says this is his “favorite lefty Christmas carol.” I particularly like the last two lines.

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With of the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
We’ll be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

And they call him by “The Prince of Peace”
And they call him by “The Savior”
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if anyone of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now please forgive me if I seem
To take a tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus