Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RIP Liam Clancy

Long a staple of the 60s folk movement, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, stayed true to the nature of folk music, that being the revival and revitalization of lost or forgotten songs written outside of the pop realm. At least that's how it began. Soon folk music became pop, and the corruption and distortion of the movement began. It wasn't long before The Byrds and Peter Paul and Mary were the forerunners and the whole "folk" genre became a quagmire. There's no question you've heard The Clancy Brothers' "Whiskey You're The Devil," but it's really in the ballads that this group of brothers (and Tommy Makem) excelled. They didn't play these songs to entertain drunken frat boys slamming Jameson on some devastatingly perverted cliche of a holiday in March. Try partying to a song like "The Butcher Boy" see how that goes. Were many of the songs drinking songs? Sure. Did the Clancys love whiskey? Yup. Nothing wrong with that of course. Yet The Clancy Brothers treated these songs with the respect they were due and sang them with meaning, passion and purpose. The drinking and joy just happened to come along with the impeccable harmonies and memorable performances.

Liam Clancy was the last surviving member of the Clancy Brothers. He died yesterday at the age of 74 after suffering from pulmonary fibrosis.

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