Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Liam Clancy (aka William Clancy) died on December 4th, the last member of the group that included his brothers Patrick and Tom, as well as friend Tommy Makem.

It's possible The Clancy Brothers' act could've been even bigger, considering that Liam was the youngest of eleven children!

Back in 1956, the young broth of a boy came to America where brothers Paddy and Tommy were trying to get work in the New York theater. Acting jobs were few, but there was a big market in the coffee houses and pubs for singers. The Clancy Brothers began singing and recording albums, starting fittingly enough with "Irish Songs of Rebellion." They were a hit on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1961, and when the folk-rock scene was in swing, the veteran act was polished and poised to join in, and they did. They were on Vanguard, the same label as Joan Baez. One of the new guys singing songs of rebellion, Joan's boyfriend Bob Dylan, admired the band, and said there wasn't "anybody who's a better ballad singer than Liam."

From Carnegie Hall in New York to Albert Hall in London, and all over the world, The Clancy Brothers played to standing room only. In 1973 Liam left his brothers to work as a solo artist, but returned in 1984. The group was stable for a while, but Liam walked out yet again, this time in a feud with his brother Pat. When Tom died in 1990, The Clancy Brothers seemed doomed, but Liam re-joined Pat and Tommy Makem and there were more concerts and recordings, with Robbie O'Connell adding to the line-up.

At the "Bobfest," that star-studded concert honoring Dylan's 30th Anniversary, they performed "When the Ship Comes In."

The Clancy Brothers act was in retirement by the time Pat Clancy died in 1998. Tommy Makem passed on in 2007. Typical of the rousing enthusiasm and vibrant harmony that the group specialized in, your download is the Irish classic, "Brennan on the Moor," which has nothing to do with Walter or Mary Tyler...


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