Folk Music Friday: Video: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Today on Folk Music Friday we’re swinging back to the traditional side of the spectrum, with the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

This is a video of their Late Late Show appearance from 1984, right before they launched into their reunion tour. The first minute or so provides context for who they were and what they meant on a global and national scale, and the impact they had on resuscitating the Irish folk music scene in the 1960s and ’70s. There’s also an extended interview which covers their early history, including the origins of the now-iconic sweaters, and commentary by other folk musicians about their impact.

But outside of all of that, they were (are) one my favorites, account for at least half of the soundtrack of my life until I discovered rock music. I saw them for the first time a few years after this video was made, in a tiny little Irish bar in the District of Columbia. I arrived clutching an armful of their old records, abstracted from my parents’ record collection. They were baffled but charmed – I was about 40 years younger than their average fan at the time – and signed all of them for me.

The Late Late Show tribute to The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem

Video Grab Bag: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem: Because their records were the ones I neatly extracted from my parents’ collection and played as often as I could.

The Clancys came from Tipperary, Tommy Makem from Armagh, and they started creating a Irish traditional music sensation in America in the 1960s. I was lucky enough to see an incarnation of the band – there were several line-up changes over the years – in the late ’80s in DC, and I brought one of my carefully hoarded records for them to sign. (Which they did, with great ceremony, and perhaps some amusement, but definitely with courtly kindness towards a gawky not-quite teenager.) And as I remember, their voices were as sweet and true as ever.

Time has taken its toll, and as of 2009, they have all passed on. But they are still my favorite, for ever and always.

To add the Clancys and/or Mr. Makem to your own record collection, you can go Amazon and also to eMusic . The latter has Hearty & Hellish! which was the record that I probably listened to the most.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these videos.


Rising of the Moon-Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem 6/11


Brennan On The Moor - Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem


Will Ye Go Lassie Go - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Clancy brothers and Tommy Makem - Whiskey, you`re the devil