Friday, 27 December 2013

Galway Girl

Galway Girl is a beautiful song from Texan singer songwriter Steve Earle's album Transcendental Blues from 2000.

A semi-autobiographical song, it tells the story of Earle's reaction to a black haired blue eyed girl he met in Galway whilst over in Ireland. 

The recording features Irish musician Sharon Shannon, who would go on to do a cover alongside the Irish singer Mundy in 2008. That version reached number one, remaining there for five weeks. It became the most downloaded track that year as well as the eighth highest seller in Irish chart history.

With that success comes a desire to cash in, inevitably, and 2008 saw it feature on an advertisement for Magners, the cider produced in Co Tipperary, Ireland

It was this advert, along with a further, incredibly irritating Magners ad featuring Welsh comedian Mark Watson...

...that angered one of my favourite stand up comedians, Stewart Lee, in his 2009 show If You Prefer A Milder Comedian...Please Ask For One. 

Because Lee claimed Galway Girl was his favourite song and that it had been ruined for him by the commercials. As a result, he endeavored to perform it each night of his stand up show to try and reclaim it. Lee's not really a singer or musician of course, but I can't help think his version, accompanied by folk musician Nick Pynn, is one of the most beautiful. Slowed down, folky and utterly heartfelt - despite the sly digs and jokes he includes towards the end about the nature of selling out. There have been many covers since, but surprisingly this is my favourite.

Lastly, here's two pictures of a real Galway Girl on the modelling circuit who fits Earle's lyrics quite well; Shahira Barry.

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