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Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer

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GUEST,Curious Fan 23 Apr 17 - 06:00 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Apr 17 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Curious Fan 23 Apr 17 - 07:00 AM
Mrrzy 23 Apr 17 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Ray 23 Apr 17 - 09:51 AM
Elmore 23 Apr 17 - 10:34 AM
meself 23 Apr 17 - 10:56 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 17 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 23 Apr 17 - 12:50 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 17 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Curious Fan 23 Apr 17 - 03:00 PM
Rapparee 23 Apr 17 - 08:42 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 17 - 07:20 AM
Jorrox 24 Apr 17 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Beachcomber 24 Apr 17 - 09:08 AM
Lighter 23 Apr 18 - 08:31 AM
keberoxu 23 Apr 18 - 01:18 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 18 - 11:37 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 18 - 02:08 AM
Elmore 26 Apr 18 - 12:11 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 18 - 11:01 PM
Lighter 28 Apr 18 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey 28 Apr 18 - 03:21 PM
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Subject: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Curious Fan
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 06:00 AM

I am a huge fan of Liam and his brothers (and their work with Tommy Makem and Louis Killen).

I am sure most, if not all, of you are familiar with Bob Dylan's assertion that Liam Clancy was "the best ballad singer [he] ever heard in [his] life".

I wonder what your opinions might be - good? great? one of the greats among many fine balladeers over the years of modern history?

I am particularly fond of Liam Clancy's straightforwardness - he called his guitar skills "boxing-glove style", in reference to his self-proclaimed limited abilities.

He also performed around the world with run-of-the-mill, inexpensive guitars of the quality that one might find in nearly any average instrument shop. In a world where certain people's "signature model" guitars can cost upwards of a thousand US dollars on the low end, enjoying a heartfelt performance by a true talent who played a $250 guitar was, and still is, refreshing.

Liam Clancy... shall we discuss?


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 06:38 AM

I liked him a lot, a fine singer without doubt.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Curious Fan
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 07:00 AM

Oh, I agree - there's something so magical about a person who sings with such passion and yet never comes across as histrionic or insincere.

There were more than a few critics over the years who called the Clancys "shallow" or "actors who sang" rather than "true" folksingers, whatever that means.

I happen to think that their forays into acting HELPED their singing career, since they likely felt they needed to approach songs as though they MEANT every word - I think it's hard to sing songs you don't believe in, lyrically or philosophically.

Yes, Liam was a great one. A finer foil for Tommy Makem could never have been found, either. Like big brother/little brother in their duo years, and always great fun.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 09:15 AM

Marvy, indeed. But Tommy Makem also *wrote* magnificent ballads...


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 09:51 AM

It's mostly down to the material and you don't need an expensive instrument to present it. I remember being on the same bill as the late great Cyril Tawney one night who played a modern Kay guitar; the sort that, at the time, you could have bought in Woolworths.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Elmore
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 10:34 AM

I've read that remark that Dylan made about Liam being a great ballad singer. I'm sure he {Dylan} meant ballad in the broadest possible sense . Liam had an excellent voice, and, as suggested above, his acting experience may have made his delivery equally special. However, to my knowledge he seldom tackled the "big" ballads.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: meself
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 10:56 AM

$250!! Utter extravagance! The guitar I use cost me $150....

..........

Not to take anything away from anybody, but - I wonder how old Dylan was when he made that 'ever heard in my life' comment?

Anyway - always liked Tommy Makem. And that's not faint praise; that's about as praisey as I get.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 12:33 PM

"meant ballad in the broadest possible sense"
You have that right
"ballads" in Ireland, particularly had an entirely different meaning to the commonly accepted one
Thw "Ballad Boom" in the sixties referred to what was happening at The Clanc0y's and other such concerts - as Billy Connolly described it, "four pullovers claiming to be "Wild Rovers".
I remember thinking all my birthdays had come at once when we saw the hundreds of signs on bars reading "Ballad evening tonight" - not a real ballad in sight.
To add to the confusion, "ballad sellers" (usually Travellers), plied their self-printed "ballads" (song sheets/broadsides) around the fairs and markets right up to the mid-fifties - a few had ballads on them, most didn't.
Liam Clancy's and Tommy Makem's mothers were both fine traditional singers recorded by the BBC in the 1950s
Sarah Makem once shocked a collector by telling him, "Our Tommy is a lovely lad, but he can't sing"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 12:50 PM

Slightly inaccurate Jim. What she actually said was she did not know he could sing. Take a look at the RTE Documentary film on YouTube
kind regards


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 12:51 PM

Thanks Nick
I was told it differently - thanks for the heads up
Jim


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Curious Fan
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 03:00 PM

Hey - how did we get to talking about Tommy Makem? ;)

No worries, though; Tommy's a hero of mine, as are the Clancys as a group.

Yes, I am aware that when Dylan said "ballad", he meant songs like "Carrickfergus", not necessarily the 25-verse lyrical epics that some of you are referring to.

A true original, Liam was.

Speaking of The Bard Of Armagh, by the way - this August marks ten years since his passing. I know I miss Tommy and all the Clancys.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 08:42 PM

I liked them from the first time I heard "Brennan on the Moor" on the car radio -- I think I was 18 at the time. If my wife and I don't have all of the Clancy/Makem records it's not for lack of trying.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 07:20 AM

Liam is my absolute favourite. I have every note he ever issued in my collection. I've researched almost every Clancy/Makem etc song that I have.

In my opinion, he was a performer first and foremost. By all accounts a superb actor (see him do Robert Emmet's 'Speech From The Dock' attached)

He is easily the best performer I have ever seen on a stage and that includes Sinatra, Springsteen and many other well regarded performers.

I can talk about him for hours. Bring it on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5Amf1RE0AA


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Jorrox
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 08:40 AM

That was me directly above. This damn cookie thing!


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 09:08 AM

I knew Liam fairly well and even did a little business with him, selling his surplus stock of CDs back in the 1990s. He was a very fine "ballad" singer (Jim Carroll correctly has it that "ballad sessions" in Irish Pubs were not necessarily confined to that type of song). He took the Ireland of the 1960s by storm, along with his brothers and Tommy Makem, with their energetic brand of performance. It had to be experienced live, I have always believed, to really get the very best from it.
His brother Tom had a really fine voice also, possibly with a greater vocal range ?.
Their acting experience (They were regular "off-broadway" thespians in the 1950 -60s before the "Folk Revival" took hold in New York) must have been of great benefit when they switched to being mainly singers.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Apr 18 - 08:31 AM

On NBC-TV's "The Danny Thomas Show" in 1963:


https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoSMBeQN4WQ


It was the first time many of us had heard them


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Apr 18 - 01:18 PM

This is a private recording (YouTube) of
Quiet Land of Erin


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 18 - 11:37 PM

None better, except for......


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 18 - 02:08 AM

He played Martin, Goya,Fylde,Yamaha and Takemine 6 strings, Gibson and Guild 12 strings..not cheap//


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Elmore
Date: 26 Apr 18 - 12:11 AM

Saw him perform many times, but appreciate him more now in my "golden years." I wish he and Tommy were still with us.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 18 - 11:01 PM

Wow! The Quiet Land of Erin is a pure gem. Couldn't make out hardly any words but the matching of the guitar playing to the sentiment is superb. So much of folk music is - imho - over-produced. This is just gorgeous. Gopherit


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Apr 18 - 01:31 PM

Also great (but very different) on "Quiet Land": Mary O'Hara and her harp, ca 1957.

This performance was a quarter century later:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCKttVBkaHE

Mary's singing strongly influenced Liam. The English version of the song was written by her sister, Joan.


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Subject: RE: Liam Clancy As A Ballad Singer
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey
Date: 28 Apr 18 - 03:21 PM

Liam was a decent guy and a very good singer, stayed with him in Ireland several times.


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