The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in Person at Carnegie Hall: The Complete 1963 Concert


Available at both physical and digital retail outlets starting March 3, 2009, through Columbia/Legacy

Three additional Clancy Brothers live recordings from the early 1960s available via digital retail on March 3rd: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem In Person at Carnegie Hall 11/3/62; Hearty & Hellish; A Spontaneous Performance Recording


In the merry coming of springtime, 1963, with John Fitzgerald Kennedy -- our nation's first and only Irish Catholic president -- enjoying his time in the White House, the rise to fame of the Clancy Brothers (Liam, Paddy and Tom) and Tommy Makem was a wonder to behold on the American musical landscape. Their recognition as the premiere exponents of authentic Irish song on these Colonial shores -- ballads, sea chanteys, folk songs, drinking tunes, and traditional fare from near and far, and most of all the songs of rebellion that have stoked the fires of resistance for four centuries -- made the Clancys the most visible sons of Ireland this side of the auld sod.

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The group's ascendance to a new pinnacle of popularity and respectability was affirmed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on St. Patrick's Day 1963. The sold-out, overflowing, nearly two-hour concert was recorded by Columbia Records and issued six months later, almost to the day, as a drastically resequenced 38-minute, 11-track LP (whose last tracks dated curiously from a late-1962 concert). Brevity notwithstanding, the record has never been out-of-print in the Columbia catalog for four and a half decades. "If you only own one Irish album," it's been said, "make it this one." A landmark, to be sure, but as Princeton University's Sean Wilentz writes, "the larger work of art was lost."

Segue to We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger's equally monumental two-hour Carnegie Hall concert of 1963. Also issued as a resequenced single LP on Columbia at the time, it was restored to its full-length glory as an award-winning double-CD back in 1989. In that same tradition, THE CLANCY BROTHERS AND TOMMY MAKEM IN PERSON AT CARNEGIE HALL: THE COMPLETE 1963 CONCERT finally restores the night in its entirety on two CDs, complete with between-song dialogues and introductions, and a bounty of 29 musical tracks. Among these are two medleys (including the 13-minute "Children's Medley") and the two 1962 concert tracks.

With introductory notes by Liam Clancy (the "last man standing" from the original group) and a 3,000-word historic essay by Wilentz, this long-awaited package will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting March 3, 2009, through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

On the same date, Legacy will release three additional Clancy Brothers live albums via digital retail: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem Live at Carnegie Hall 11/3/62, Hearty & Hellish, and A Spontaneous Performance Recording.

As an introduction to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem -- an Irish folk song in general -- there is no better source than THE COMPLETE 1963 CONCERT. They pleased their audience with many old favorites: "The Wild Colonial Boy," "The Cobbler," "Kelly, The Boy From Killane," "Brennan On The Moor," "Haul Away Joe," "Mr. Moses Re - Tooral - I Ay," Ewan MacColl's "Shoals Of Herring." And of course there were the infernal drinking songs, the curse and deliverance of all Irishmen: "The Moonshiner," "Port Lairge," "A Jug Of Punch," "The Parting Glass," "The Juice Of The Barley," and more.

All of the above (and others) were familiar from the group's four previous LPs on their self-owned Tradition Records label (1955 to 1961), as well as their first couple of live-performance Columbia LPs in 1961-62. Along the way, Clancy Brothers songs had solidly woven their way into the late-1950s and early-'60s folk 'boom' as the basis for many an aspiring folksinger's repertoire.

Several titles -- "Haulin' the Bowline," "Irish Rover," "Bonnie Prince Charlie," "Johnson's Motor Car," "Galway Bay," "The Jolly Tinker," among them -- were more recent additions to the Clancys' recorded repertoire. Perhaps the most conspicuous of these was "Patriot Game," a traditional song whose modern form is credited to Dominic Behan, songwriter and younger brother of Irish poet and playwright Brendan Behan.

The Behans were denizens of the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village, the Clancys' favorite watering hole. The White Horse was an early destination for 20-year old Bob Dylan when he first arrived in New York City in the winter of 1961. He fell under the spell of the Clancys, becoming fast friends with Liam (who is six years older), the beginning of a lifelong friendship. (For a closer look, see the autobiography The Mountain of the Women: Memoirs of an Irish Troubadour by Liam Clancy, Doubleday, 2002) Two years later in 1963, Dylan adapted the "Patriot Game"'s melody for his new song, "With God On Our Side" -- whose first major public solo performance took place at his first major breakthrough concert, New York's Town Hall, the month after the Clancys' Carnegie appearance.

"All through the night they would sing drinking songs, country ballads and rousing rebel songs that would lift the roof," Dylan wrote of the White Horse times in Chronicles: Volume One (page 83). "The rebellion songs were a really serious thing. The language was flashy and provocative - a lot of action in the words, all sung with great gusto. The singer always had a merry light in his eye, had to have it. I loved these songs and could still hear them in my head long after and into the next day. They weren't protest songs, though, they were rebel ballads...even in a simple, melodic wooing ballad there'd be rebellion waiting around the couldn't escape it." In the heat of 1963-64, Dylan bristled at the term "protest" to describe certain songs he was writing, he always preferred to call them songs of "rebellion."

"For me, I never heard a singer as good as Liam ever," Dylan told filmmaker David Hammond and journalist Derek Bailey at Slane Castle near Dublin, during a 1984 interview published in The Telegraph. "I don't think I can think of anybody who is a better ballad singer than Liam."

The Clancys' influence on the impressionable young Dylan was enormous and immediate. At his legendary Carnegie Recital Hall debut of November 1961, he opened the program with "Pretty Peggy-O." Eighteen days later, he recorded it at the sessions for his first Columbia LP with producer John Hammond, "the way the Clancy Brothers would have done it," as he told The Telegraph 23 years later. "All the legendary people they used to sing about, 'Brennan On the Moor,' or 'Roddy McCorley,' I wasn't aware of them when they existed, but it was as if they'd just existed yesterday...I would think of 'Brennan On the Moor' the same way I would think of Jesse James or something you know, they just became very real to me."

The Clancys' performance at Carnegie Hall on St. Pat's Day 1963 was even more momentous because of their appearance at the White House a month and a half before, at a presidential 'command performance' celebrating the beginning of Jack Kennedy's third -- and as fate would have, final -- year in office. As Wilentz emphasizes, the Clancys' offhanded barbs and asides throughout the Carnegie Hall show, often more caustic than playful (as fellow Irishmen can be), are impossible to separate from the evening's musical goings-on.

Surely it was a fantastic journey from the White Horse to the White House! In March 1961, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, where a one-song slot turned into a 15-minute sensation. John Hammond signed them to Columbia overnight, the same year that the legendary producer signed Pete Seeger, Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Hester, and Bob Dylan to the label. As he had done with Pete Seeger, whose first five Columbia LPs were all live performance recordings, Hammond decided to capture the Clancys in front of a spirited audience. He assigned them to staff producer Robert Morgan who delivered A Spontaneous Performance in 1961 (accompanied by Pete Seeger), Hearty and Hellish: A Live Nightclub Performance in 1962, and the touchstone of their career, In Person At Carnegie Hall in 1963.

"The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem," Wilentz sums up, "still powerfully influence artists ranging from Dylan and his devotees to Irish singers and songwriters as different as Paul Brady and Shane MacGowan [of the Pogues]. Their music and its spirit retain an enthusiastic following across the globe. More's the reason to celebrate the full recovery of their art, as they superbly performed it one Saint Patrick's Day evening in Manhattan long ago."

                           THE COMPLETE 1963 CONCERT
                         (Columbia/Legacy 88697 42571 2)

CD One - Selections: 1. Intro 2. Bold O'Donahue 3. Dialogue 4. My Johnny Lad 5. Dialogue 6. Shoals Of Herring 7. Haulin' the Bowline 8. Dialogue 9. Irish Rover 10. Dialogue 11. Mr. Moses Re - Tooral - I Ay 12. Dialogue 13. Marie's Wedding 14. The Moonshiner 15. Dialogue 16. Patriot Game (*) 17. Kelly, The Boy From Killane 18. Johnson's Motor Car (*) 19. The West's Awake 20. Medley: O'Driscoll (The Host Of The Air); The King Of The Fairies; Eileen Aroon (*) 21. Reilly's Daughter (*).

CD Two - Selections: 1. Intro 2. Children's Medley: When I Was Young; Shellicky Bookey; Up the Long Ladder; Big Ship Sailing; Ahem! Ahem!; Wallflowers; Mary the Money; Frosty Weather; Man Of Double Deed; The Wren Song; Up the Long Ladder; Some Say the Devil's Dead; The Irish Soldiers; Up the Long Ladder (*) 3. Dialogue 4. Legion Of the Rearguard (*) 5. Dialogue 6. Haul Away Joe 7. Dialogue 8. Bonnie Prince Charlie 9. Dialogue 10. Galway Bay (*) 11. Dialogue 12. The Wild Colonial Boy 13. The Cobbler 14. Dialogue 15. The Jolly Tinker 16. Dialogue 17. A Jug Of Punch (*) 18. Dialogue 19. Brennan On The Moor 20. Dialogue 21. The Whistling Gypsy 22. Dialogue 23. Port Lairge 24. The Parting Glass (*) 25. The Juice Of The Barley (*) 26. Oro Se Do Bheatha Bhaile(*). (Tracks 25-26 recorded November 3, 1962.)

Note: All tracks are previously unreleased with the exception of (*) originally released on The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem In Person At Carnegie Hall (Columbia CS 8750), released September 16, 1963.

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SOURCE: Legacy Recordings

CONTACT: Tom Cording of Legacy Media Relations, +1-212-833-4448,

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