Christmas Countdown – Review: The Saw Doctors, ‘Red Cortina’

I inherited a fondness for Irish rock band the Saw Doctors from my Dad. If you ask me, its criminal that the best known Irish Christmas song is the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. You can’t beat the Saw Doctors’ Red Cortina (similarly, the 2010 acapella version).

Few songs encompass the kind of melancholy that many feel at Christmas like Red Cortina. I’ve never seen a Cortina, let alone a red one, but I get the idea. Everyone has a first love whether it was at a Christmas party in 1977 or not- everyone knows the “heartbeat like an earthly tremor”- and I always find it hard not to cry when I “close my eyes for just one moment” and imagine that school disco. Christmas isn’t a time for unbridled happiness as we head into adulthood; it’s a time for reflecting on what we used to have- grandparents perhaps, or total faith in our parents knowing absolutely everything, even belief in Santa or love itself. As with most of the band’s output, it’s a love letter to the innocence of an age that has gone for a reason, but we miss nevertheless.

Tom Morris