Sad news from Ireland that Liam Clancy, of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, has died. They made Irish music roll like no-one before or since, and Liam was their mainstay. Bob Dylan was a huge fan, and said of Liam “I never heard a singer as good as him ever. He was just the best ballad singer I ever heard in my life, still is probably.” Those who saw the Scorcese doco on Dylan will have seen him recalling Liam Clancy's exhortation to the young singer, then starting out in Greenwich Village: "No fear, no malice, no envy".
Great advice. (Not that Bob followed it.)
In any case, my old man played the Clancy Brothers over and over through my childhood, and I grew to love their rollicking, twee-free, passionate sound - and also the native wit and literary sensibility of their stage humour between tracks on the live albums. And at the old man's funeral, at his oft-repeated request,were sung Shoals of Herring and Fields of Athenry. The Liam Clancy versions.
And so, a parting glass, to the magnificent Liam Clancy. Slán agus beannacht leat.
Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.