- World excluding USA & Canada
- Catalogue Id:
- VMD 79169
The New York to which Bob Dylan gravitated at the beginning of the 1960s was full of larger-than-life characters. Of the many that frequented the blues and folk bohemian scenes in Greenwich Village and beyond, Liam Clancy and Brother John Sellers were two names to check out.
Liam was a member of the Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem, the hugely successful Irish outfit that influenced a generation of Americans in much the same way as The Dubliners would a British one during the same period. The Clancys breakthrough came with an Ed Sullivan appearance in 1961. Performances followed at Carnegie Hall and the White House for John F Kennedy and they never looked back.
From Liam Clancy and his performance of 'The Patriot Game', Bob Dylan drew inspiration for his own song 'With God On Our Side'. On his solo début album, Liam reclaims the Dominic Behan song for his own. 'Liam Clancy' was one of a group of albums that Vanguard issued that flew in the face of the fashionable folk group and rock scene that was rapidly dominating the folk scene (Dylan had just gone electric and The Byrds were high in the charts). Like Mike Seeger's eponymous solo LP from the same period, 'Liam Clancy' is a sparse traditional album. It features Clancy's voice and guitar with only one additional support vocal by Luke Kelly. With the exception of such songs as 'Rocky Road To Dublin', it holds to a dirge-like programme, even turning Ewan MacColl's proud 'I'm A Freeborn Man' into something of a lament. Yet the quality of Liam's singing is such that this singularity of mood doesn't detract at all. With the Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem the darlings of the American music scene and Liam hitting 30 years of age in '65, his solo album may well have been a way of finding a direction home: of exploring the spirit and songs of his early years in Ireland.
By John Crosby