The Clancy Brothers was an Irish folk music singing group that began as The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem in 1956 while the members were looking for work in America. Tommy Makem left the group in 1969, after which the three brothers, Pat Clancy (1922–1998), Tom Clancy (1924–1990), and Liam Clancy (1935–2009) became The Clancy Brothers subsequently joined by the fourth Clancy brother, Bobby Clancy (1927–2002). Often credited with popularizing Irish traditional music in the United States, the b...
The Clancy Brothers was an Irish folk music singing group that began as The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem in 1956 while the members were looking for work in America. Tommy Makem left the group in 1969, after which the three brothers, Pat Clancy (1922–1998), Tom Clancy (1924–1990), and Liam Clancy (1935–2009) became The Clancy Brothers subsequently joined by the fourth Clancy brother, Bobby Clancy (1927–2002). Often credited with popularizing Irish traditional music in the United States, the brothers were famed for their trademark Aran sweaters and for their often lively arrangements of old Irish ballads, rebel and drinking songs, sea shanties, and other traditional music.
After Makem amicably left The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem in 1969, Bobby Clancy joined as the fourth lead vocalist. Two of the Furey Brothers, Finbar Furey and Eddie Furey, also joined at this time as instrumentalists and back-up singers. Paddy asked Finbar Furey if he would play the whistle and five-string banjo with the group. Finbar also added Uillean pipes to his performances, creating a new sound for the group on stage, recordings, and TV. The six-piece band recorded two new albums in the summer of 1969: "Clancy Brothers Christmas", released later that year, and "Flowers in the Valley", released in 1970. The latter was their final album for Columbia Records.
Finbar and Eddie Furey left in 1970, and, for a short time, just the four brothers, Paddy, Tom, Bobby and Liam, performed together. This line-up recorded only one album together, Welcome to Our House, in 1970 for their new label, Audio Fidelity Records. Later that same year, Liam and Bobby got into an argument that resulted in Bobby quitting the group. Bobby later said about his younger brother: "With Liam it was very hard to be equal. I try to make it as equal as possible and everybody's happy that way. It makes it a better sound."
In 1971, the remaining Clancys recruited English folk singer, Louis Killen, to play the banjo, concertina, and spoons with the group. Together they made two studio albums for Audio Fidelity, Save the Land and Show Me the Way, on which they experimented with modernising their sound, musical style, and material, even including pop songs like Elton John's "Country Comfort". They recorded their final album for Audio Fidelity, the more traditional Live on St. Patrick's Day, at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut in 1972. It was released the following year.
By the early 1970s, the Clancys reduced their touring schedule to five months a year. The brothers were moving in different directions In spite of the brothers' growing distance, but, in spite of this, the group made one more album with Killen for Vanguard Records, The Clancy Brothers' Greatest Hits, as well as several television appearances on the Irish Rovers Show in Canada and a TV special for Brockton television in 1974 (in which Bobby Clancy made a surprise guest appearance).
In early 1976, a scheduling conflict between a tour of Australia and a television role for Tom Clancy provoked Liam to leave the group. Beginning in 1977, the Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell (who took on the role Liam had vacated) toured three months a year in March, August, and November.
In the summer of 1983, the group travelled to their hometown in Ireland to film a 20-minute special on sea songs, sung on location on the fishing ships in the area. It was called Songs of the Sea. Directed by Irish filmmaker David Donaghy, it was broadcast on the BBC Northern Ireland.
In 1984, Makem and Clancy's manager Maurice Cassidy brought the original foursome The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem together again for a documentary, followed by a concert and the album The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem Reunion.
In 1988, the Clancy Brothers (Paddy, Tom, and Bobby) with Robbie O'Connell recorded a poorly mixed live album at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, titled "Tunes 'n' Tales of Ireland".
With the death of Tom Clancy in 1990, Liam again stepped in full-time with his brothers. This line-up experienced a more active schedule than the group had during the previous decade, with appearances on Regis and Kathie Lee in 1991, 1993 and 1995, a performance at the 30th Anniversary Bob Dylan concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992, seen by 20,000 live and 200 million people worldwide on television, and the formation of Irish Festival Cruises in 1991, an annual cruise of the Caribbean with live folk music. They also brought their own tour groups to Ireland, which Robbie O'Connell continues.
The Bob Dylan concert in 1992 inspired the recording of the first studio album by The Clancy Brothers in over twenty years (since 1973's Greatest Hits). Released in late 1995, "Older But No Wiser" introduced all newly recorded songs with the exception of "When the Ship Comes In", which the group performed at the Dylan concert. It was the only recording to feature the line-up of Paddy, Bobby, Liam Clancy, and Robbie O'Connell. Older But No Wiser was The Clancy Brothers' final album.
Before splitting up, The Clancy brothers and Robbie O'Connell gave a Farewell Tour of Ireland and America in February and March 1996. One performance in Clonmel, as part of their Irish tour, was televised and later released on video and DVD as The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell: Farewell to Ireland.
After the break-up, Paddy and Bobby continued touring as The Clancy Brothers, with Bobby's son Finbarr Clancy becoming an official member of the group. The trio added longtime friend of Bobby's daughter Aoife, Eddie Dillon, to the group for a thirteen city engagement in early 1997. The quartet was known as the Clancy Brothers and Eddie Dillon. Eddie Dillon, a Boston-based musician, is the only American ever to perform with the Clancy Brothers.
Liam Clancy and Robbie O'Connell toured for a while as a duo, but very soon added Liam's son Dónal Clancy to the mix, forming the group, Clancy, O'Connell & Clancy. They released two albums together, an eponymous debut album in 1997 and an album of sea songs in 1998, The Wild and Wasteful Ocean.
With three brothers having died (Tom in 1990, Pat in 1998, Bobby in 2002), the last surviving Clancy brother, Liam Clancy, continued to tour solo into the twenty-first century. He died in 2009. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.