My significant other’s brother and regular sunshine jen reader, Andy, gave me the Joe Dolan Platinum Collection for Christmas. I was blown away by the gift. No one had ever given me a Platinum Collection before. I just had one small question----who’s Joe Dolan?
Apparently, Joe Dolan is the Irish Elvis. He was a huge pop star in Ireland going all the way back to the sixties. He toured extensively and had top ten chart hits in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. There was no show like a Joe show, and he was performing right up to his passing last year on St. Stephen’s Day. They recently erected a statue to him in Mullingar. Unfortunately, even though I was in the West Midlands, I did not make a pilgrimage. Definitely next trip.
Even though the average Joe fan is about twenty years older than I am, Andy thought I would like the song, Westmeath Bachelor, since I was dating a Bachelor from County Westmeath. This was not a casual purchase for Andy. The checkout at Tesco was brutal to his self-image of hipness. Don’t worry, Andy, you’re still cool in a kitschy ironic kind of way. Sophistication over style, Andy.
So one day, as we were driving through Westmeath in the bubble car, my Westmeath Bachelor and I put on the Joe CDs. The Platinum Collection has three CDs (the holy trinity?), and we listened to all three. We started in the sixties with the basics and moved through a disco fusion period into what sounded like some Police influence then some power ballads into the new millennium with covers of REM and Bruce Springsteen with a stop-off at an Ave Maria with some serious crunch guitar. Joe got around.
Joe didn’t just sing. He sold the song with his voice. He had a huge repertory of love songs, but I started to notice that he was a passive lover. He longed for and waited and hoped, but he never pursued. He was a little lost lamb in the world of women, and women loved him for it. And the tunes were poppy.
Two days after Christmas, I was playing monopoly with the Westmeath Bachelor’s teenage nephews and caught the RTE One Late Late Show Tribute to Joe Dolan. I looked up occasionally from the game to see older ladies in the studio audience clapping and singing along as friends of Joe paid tribute and sang songs. My punkass self chuckled in amusement. Oh how sweet. At one point, I looked up from my cards and saw Shane MacGowan singing a Joe Dolan song. There was room for everyone in the Joe-niverse.