The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem- The Bold Fenian Men

Happy St Patrick’s Day.  You had to know I was going to bust out the Brothers Clancy sooner or later. And let us not forget Mr Makem, either.  I bough this for $5.  It had a lot of songs I like on the record but I bought it specifically for this day.

If you don’t know who the Clancy Brothers were, I have posted various albums of thiers on this blog, mostly during last March.  I have written much about them and at this point, really can not think of anything else to add.  You can search for past blog posts on the Brothers if you want to learn more.

This album was released in 1969.  It features a good mix of mostly Irish songs along with a cover of Canadian Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain”. This was the last studio album of the Brothers with Tommy Makem.  He would leave amicably to pursue a solo career after its release, thus ending a great era of Irish folk music. The Brothers continued on with success, but this was the magic lineup of the group, no doubt.

For samples, I went with the classic song “All For My Grog”  which is a key Irish drinking song.  I also decided to go with two more of my favorites which have been posted on this blog before by different artists, ” The Banks of the Roses” and Brendan Behan’s “The Auld Triangle” which has been done by the Dubliners and the Pogues, who probably do my favorite version. I would probably be remiss not to throw in a version from the songwriter himself, Brendan Behan, whose cheery mug will show up in a post later this month. And since I already broke my promise to myself, here is my version.  In for a penny, in for a pound as they say.

Satisfactory Record.  Happy St Paddy’s Day.

VA- Irish Folk Night

This says Various Artists but it is mostly full of the Dubliners.  I got this for $5.  I purchased it for the Dubliner’s version of “The Little Beggarman”.  That is one thing I like about Irish music.  I like hearing multiple takes and interpretations of song.  Likewise, I like to see how the heavyweights (The Dubliners and the Clancy’s) interpret the same material. As we are getting closer to St Paddy’s Day, I am getting out some of my favorite Irish artists.

Besides the Dubliner’s (consisting of Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Ciaron Bourke, Barney McKenna), the album also features Michael Gorman, Margaret Barry, Paul Lenihan, and Jimmy Powers. It also features two songs with Kelly backed by Dave Phillips.  Pretty decent album with good Irish pub songs as well as at least two more traditionally Scottish tunes.  I believe this came out in 1964.

I like the Dubliner’s take on “The Little Beggarman” except for the fact that it is way too short.  (For comparison, search for “Little Beggarman” on this site and hear the Clancy’s version).  I also liked the tragic tale of caution in “Ratcliffe Highway”.  I also really liked “Three Lovely Ladies”.  I was familiar with this song beforehand, but Ronnie Drew offers a bit of exposition at the beginning of the song.

Good album. Satisfactory.

Mick Moloney with Eugene O’Donnell- ST

This was $3.  I got it for the song I am going to use a sample, which is one of my favorites.  St Paddy’s Day is 2 days away.  It falls on a good day this year, on a Friday.  My birthday is on the 19th so if 43 years have taught me anything, it is that if St Paddy’s Day falls on a Friday or Saturday, I can expect low turn out for my birthday.  However, this greatly works in my favor.  More on that later this month.

Mick Moloney is a musician and folk historian from Limerick, which greatly explains his choice of song selection.  Born in 1944, he was a key figure of the 1960’s Irish folk revival.  He moved to Philly in 1973 and obtained a Ph.D in folk lore and Folk Life.  Hating the piano as a kid, he soon moved to guitar before moving towards banjo and mandolin, which seems to be the instrument he is associated with on this album.  Besides writing books on Irish music, he has worked with many a notable artist, including fiddler Eugene O’Donnell (who is included on this record) and the Clancy’s.

Moloney’s Webpage

Moloney’s discography is pretty extensive but I believe this is either the first or the second album released under Moloney’s own name.  It came out in 1978.  It is a pretty good collection or Irish folk with some songs off the beaten path. Besides Moloney and O’Donnell, this record features the work of Patrick Sky, Joe McKenna, and Shelley Posen.

I got this album for one song, “The Limerick Rake”, According to the liner notes, the song showcases “broad verbose humor and its honest opposition to conservative values”.  The song also serves as a travelogue of the County Limerick. The song has been covered by many including the Pogues whom I suppose this song was made for.  I think the Clancy’s do it best.  I have even fooled with it (despite the promise I made myself that I would never put any of my own music on this site.  It seems like a journalistic breach). Please note I have not practiced this song in 6 months or so.

If you are wondering, the oft repeated Gaelic phrase “Agus fagaimid siud mar ata se” translates roughly into “we will leave it at that” or in the Italian-American vernacular, “Forget About It”.

So here is Moloney’s version of “The Limerick Rake” which I feel is one verse too long.  I don’t like the verses about the singer’s childhood studies. I feel they really do not add anything to the song and really just needlessly drags it out.  Also for good measure, here is an instrumental called “West Limerick Medley” which includes ” The Clar Hornpipe”, “The Pride of Moyvane”, and “The Humours of Newcastle West”.

Decent album.  Satisfactory. Not too many meh’s these days, I know.  Maybe I have been in a better mood of late.

VA- Songs & Marches of the Gael

Here is a record I got for $3 expressively for this week. It is a collection of Irish songs and instrumentals some of which are pretty popular numbers.  The performers are all Irish and probably not well known on this side of the Atlantic. It was recorded in Ireland by Glenside Records and released by ABC-Paramount in either 1960 or 1964, depending on the source you want to believe.

For a sample, we have one of my favorite Irish songs, the ever bitter “Skibbereen” sung by Patricia Blake, born in County Mayo.  I knew a guy here in Houston from Skibbereen.  I met a dude here in Houston from Skibbereen.  He had one of the worst sets of teeth I have ever seen.  I mean they were brown like Boston baked beans. Is he still alive?  I do not know.  One of the side effects of not drinking is a lost the rich mosaic of people I used to interact with from all over the world. Anyway, we also have a collection of marches by the Banba Brass and Reed Band.  These include popular nationalist numbers “The Bold Fenian Men”, “The Men of The West”, and ” A Nation Once Again”.  I like how the bands weaves these songs together.

Anyway, decent enough album.  Satisfactory. If you are looking for Irish songs for you St Paddy’s Day party, may I suggest opening up the Irish Category.  Over the past two years, I have posted a significant number of Irish albums on this blog.

Wesley Boyd- Songs of Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday and so here at the Show, we are posting Irish albums all week.  This record is another one of the records I received from my pal, Micahl.  It is also the second album I found in the bunch that is autographed. I get a kick out of the autographed albums and have quite a collection built up after almost two years of doing this blog.

From what I could piece together, Wesley Boyd was (or possibly is) a baritone singer from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He won several prestigious singing awards in both Belfast and Dublin before moving to the US in 1959.  He was very involved in crusades and religious missions in the US, most notably for Billy Graham.  Most of the information I dug up on him came from small town newspapers covering these events. The Pampa Daily News have him living in Oklahoma City in 1960.  His wife, Margaret accompanied him on organ as well as the piano on this record.

This album really showcases Boyd’s rich voice against some of the more classical Irish songs.  The piano is minimal yet elegant.  Pretty good album.  A lot of decent tracks on here that diverge from the typical Irish-pub tunes. For a sample, I was torn between a couple choices so I went with one of my favorites, “Bridget Flynn”, “Eileen Oge” and the old classic standard, “Galway Bay” which was done rather flippantly by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

Decent enough record.  Satisfactory.

University of Notre Dame Band- Songs of the Fighting Irish

dscn5559This was 25 cents. I meant to post this at the beginning of College football season but forgot.  By the time you read this, my holiday is well underway.  I am also rush writing today’s post. I am in Amsterdam until Monday.  Probably more on that in next months blog.  The weather is starting to pick up a bit.  Also, as a side note, I saw the Chet Baker Bio movie on the plane over.  Really good.  More on that, probably in January.BAND v USC Pregame 10.19.2013

After UH’s win of Oklahoma, I had big hope for this season.  However, those hopes have vanished.  Oh well.  At least they are not as dashed as Notre Dame’s prospects this year.  The difference is, I guess, is that Notre Dame has a higher bar set for them year in and year out.

I was planning on writing more, but due to vacation mode, facilitate your own learning on the band

This album was released  in the 1970’s I believe and is a collection of songs that have become traditional for the band.  The band director at the time was Robert F. O Brien.  The music is great.  The only problem is that we miss the visual aspect of a marching band on a record.  dscn5560

For a sample, I went with a couple choices.  First off is the traditional Irish tune, “The Rakes of Mallow”.  Second, keeping with the Cole Porter theme of the month, we have “Begin The Beguine”.  Finally, I am posting the famous “Victory March”.bandformsmonogramnd

Satisfactory Record. I really wanted to do more with this post but vacation calls.


Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor- Two Heads Are Better Than Yin

DSCN5104 (1024x1022)This gem was only a dollar.  I know a lot of Irish songs so that is part of the reason for buying this.  Also, it had two songs that the Pogues have done. Sadly enough, I do not know as many Scottish songs and I have a Scottish heritage.  So I am working on correcting this.  The Scottish tunes are not as pretty as the Irish ones, however. Or maybe I just have not found the right Scottish ones.BBC-publicity-shot-with-Robin-1960s2

Robin Hall (born in Edinburgh in 1936 or 1937 depending on the source) and Jimmie MacGregor (born in Glasgow in 1930) were a popular folk singing duo. They formed in 1960 and were quite popular in England, appearing on the BBC.  They also had headlined shows at The old Cavern in Liverpool with the Beatles opening (before Beatlemania). “Football Crazy” was their biggest hit. After about 20 records, the duo split in 1981.  Hall would die in 1998.  MacGregor is still alive but has played sporadically since the split and  I believe he is mostly retired now.

Jimmie’s Web Page

This album came out I think in 1962.  It has been reissued several times, most notably by the Smithsonian Folkways label for the preservation of folk music.  It is a quite good collection of simple Scottish and Irish folk songs, mostly in duet form but with some solos.  The instrumentation is basic.  Both men are quite talented singers.  I really liked a lot of the songs including “Inverey”, “the title track, “Glasgow Street Medley”, “Mick McGuire” (which uses the same music as “Hot Asphalt”), The Wild Mountain Thyme”, and the two songs I am using for samples.DSCN5105 (1024x1017)

The first sample, is a popular Scottish folk song, “Johnny Lad”.  According to Ewan MacColl, the song started out as a slower more pastoral song.  In the late 1800’s, it changed in to more of a children’s street song. The lyrics became urbanized and the music became a bit more simple.  Over the years, verses have been changed or added to reflect on current social commentary.  The Clancy Brothers also covered this song as well.

The second song is an Irish tune called “The Recruiting Sargent”.  I thought it was written earlier but Seamus O’Farrell wrote it in 1915 and singing it could cost someone a six month stay in jail.  Anti-recruitment songs were the buzz in Ireland at the time.  The Pogues used this tune in the beginning of their “Medley”.  In this version, it is sung by Terry Woods.

Incidentally, this album contains another song done by the Pogues, Brendan Behan’s “Auld Triangle”.GL976363

Overall, pretty good record.  Top Rated for me.


The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem- I’m A Free Born Man

DSCN4310Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Easter Rebellion in Ireland, when a rag tag group of volunteers hung the Irish flag over the GPO in Dublin.  The rebellion was short lived and its leaders were executed but it started the flame that led to the province becoming a nation once again._88900005_hi011968262

Wiki Page


A page on the Rebellion

Some Irish rebels lying in wait on a roof getting ready to fire during the Easter Rising. Ireland, 1916 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Another Page


Yet Another Page ( I am lazy on Sunday’s)


An interesting article marking the peaceful observance of the event

I was going to play this album last month during St Paddy’s Day but decided to hold off until today.  Here is the Clancy Brothers with a Medley to commemorate what was at the time the 50th anniversary of the uprising.  It includes “The Foggy Dew”, O’Casey’s “Drums Under The Windows” and Yeats’ “Easter 1916”.  I have heard better medleys on this from the Clancy’s but this will have to do.


I planned to do a better post for this but it is Sunday and I am lazy today.


The Clancy Brothers- Live on St. Patrick’ Day

DSCN4035This was 80 cents.  I meant to play it a couple months ago but it got bumped from the rotation.  I was trying to fit it back in but decided to hold it for today, which is St Patrick’s Day.20p_show_meAfter this month, I am kind of sick of writing about the Clancy’s.  What else do you want to know?  Google them. Yesterday was a long day of work so I care not about correct facts or correct spelling.  Be forewarned.

Louisa-Killen1_2645042bWhen Tommy Makem left the group amicably in 1969, the Brothers continued on with their brother Bobby as well as Finbar and later Eddie Furey.  However, they left and in the early 1970’s, they picked up English folk singer Louis Killen (pictured above). Killen played banjo, concertina, whistle, and spoons among other things. At their sisters funeral in 1976, Liam told the group that he could no longer be little brother.  His departure put the band on hiatus until reunions in the later decades.

DSCN4036This was recorded at Bushnell Memorial Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut . It was recorded on St Paddy’s Day in 1972.  The album is a pretty good mix of songs done pretty good.  They grouped the songs by category on the record.

hqdefaultIn the spirit of the day, here are three tunes.  First, I have always preferred the Clancy’s version of “Finnegan’s Wake” over other interpretations.  Second, “Isn’t It Grand Boys” is another song about a wake.  Finally, “I’ll Tell Me Ma” is probably my favorite Irish song, bar none.  Happy St Paddy’s Day.



James Galway and The Chieftains- In Ireland

DSCN4033This was one dollar.  It is another one of those albums I bought to diversify the site’s Irish music from all Clancy Brothers. I am not a great fan of the Chieftains.  I do like some of their music, but you know me, being a sucker for vocals and all.

chieftains79xThe Chieftans were formed in Dublin in 1962 and are led by Paddy Moloney and his uilleann pipes.  The ullieann pipes are the Irish variant of the bagpipes. Traditional bagpipes are not Irish.  They are Scottish.  Eitherway, the band still tours.

3a5ad8363de291758b62438f283c94afJames Galway is a virtuoso flute player.  Born in Belfast in 1939, he became known as “The Man with the Golden Flute”.  I believe he is still working.

cheifThis album came out in 1987.  It is alright.  There are some lively instrumentals.  There are also a lot of slow ones as well.  I liked “She Moved Through the Fair” and was tempted to use it as a sample.  Same thing with “Up and About”. As a side, I really like how the back cover lets you know what the song is such as a reel, jig, air, or Kerry slides.

DSCN4034However, for a sample tune, I decided to go with a slip, “The Red Admiral Butterfly”.

rectangleSatisfactory but kind of ready for St Paddy’s day to be over.