“Face down on a broken street
There’s a man in the corner
In a pool of misery
I’m in white van
As a red sea covers the ground
I can’t tell what it is
But I take a look
And now I’m sorry I did
5:30 on a Friday night
33 good people cut down” (U2 – Raised By Wolves)
It was Tuesday 6 July 1993. I decided to watch a UTV documentary called Hidden Hand: The Forgotten Massacre. It was a Yorkshire Television production about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974. Four coordinated bombs, 33 civilians dead along with a full-term unborn child. Despite having the worst death toll of The Troubles, it had faded from the public eye with other atrocities burning much brighter in our collective memory. The programmer is still on YouTube and is definitely worth investigating.
Just two weeks after the documentary broadcast, the Peace Together compilation was released. “This album brings together the best of Irish and British musicians with the express aim of creating awareness through music of a common desire for peace.” All profits raised would go towards a trust fund with the aim of funding cross-community activities for young people. Given that it’s mainly indie acts covering a variety of well known tunes, the same audience that lapped up Ruby Trax: The NME’s Roaring Forty were expected to board this (peace) train. The album was preceded by the Be Still single, released on 19th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings with vocals shared by Feargal Sharkey, Nanci Griffith, Peter Gabriel & Sinéad O’Connor. Collectively credited to Peace Together, there were two remixes commissioned – one by Robin Guthrie which appears on this CD as a bonus track while a 12 minute excursion courtesy of the Sabres Of Paradise is hidden away on the 12″ and CD formats. The original mix is pleasant enough although it gives off a *worthy* vibe; on the other hand the version sung by Liz Frazer is a groovy show-stealer, could nearly be a great lost Cocteau Twins’ number.
Ian Dury joins forces with Curve for an intense What A Waste which takes on a menacing air due to Toni’s vocals. It’s followed by Pop Will Eat Itself’s Games Without Frontiers, an industrial version with the vox buried in the mix. And then U2 with Lou Reed and an earnest Satellite Of Love. Next come Therapy? – appropriately – covering The Police’s Invisible Sun. “I actually wrote the song in Ireland, where I was living at the time. It was during the hunger strikes in Belfast. I wanted to write about that but I wanted to show some light at the end of the tunnel. I do think there has to be an ‘invisible sun’. You can’t always see it, but there has to be something radiating light into our lives.” (Sting) The original video was banned by the BBC. Far less effective is Peace In Our Time as interpreted by Carter USM, a rare cover misfire for them. The quality dips further with a turgid take on Andy White’s Religious Persuasion which is chiefly ruined by the presence of Billy Bragg and Sinéad O’Connor. The original 1985 single is fine, a refreshing strum.
The main draw for a lot of people was a new My Bloody Valentine song. A narcoleptic version of We Have All The Time In The World is like something from the end of the world; I have vivid memories of it playing out of a boombox at the Féile ’93 campsite, as the sun came up and last of the Fosters were being sunk. And then a quite lovely Bad Weather performed by the Young Disciples followed by Fatima Mansions doing a faithful rendition of Sandy Denny’s haunting John The Gun. Much prefer their straight covers. Elvis #2: Blur tackle Oliver’s Army but don’t quite pull it off. Too knockabout. Finally there’s When We Were Two Little Boys, a mawkish duet between Rolf Harris and Liam O’Maonlai which you’re unlikely to hear anywhere unless you fork out for this CD.
My Bloody Valentine – We Have All The Time In The World
Fatima Mansions – John The Gun
Lest we forget
Peace Together – Be Still (Robin Guthrie Remix)