Just in time for their 50th Anniversary comes this first full-length biography on the groundbreaking Irish Folk Music Group, the Clancy Brothers. Fifty years ago, in March 1956, four aspiring actors, three brothers and their friend, joined forces and recorded an album of Irish rebel songs.
By 1961, after two additional albums, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem landed a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show, which, by a chance of luck, ended up being an 18 minute appearance, unprecedented at that point, and Columbia Records hired them soon after. By 1969, fifteen albums, and numerous television appearances later in America, Canada, Ireland, England and Australia, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem had revolutionized Irish music worldwide, as well as the woolen knitting industry in Ireland with their trademark sweaters.
And they didn't stop there. For thirty more years, they continued performing, though with various personnel changes with the departure of Tommy Makem in 1969, and later the departure of Liam Clancy, to be replaced by "the other brother" Bobby Clancy, nephew Robbie O'Connell, and Louis Killen over from England. Plus, Tommy Makem and Liam reunited in 1975 to form one of the most sought-after Irish music acts in the 1980s, Makem & Clancy.
Their story is all here in this first full-length biography devoted to this legendary group, with over 300 vivid photographs depicting their lives and career, along with a flowing text telling their story in detail.
The only book of its kind — January 2009, after 23 years of being safely packed away, Karen Klausner Chute took the taped interviews and travel journal from her trip to Ireland and wrote about her adventures and the collected stories the Clancy and Makem families and friends shared with her.
Carried along by fate driven circumstances, Karen was led to hearing Irish music for the first time at the 15 year Reunion Concert of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. This led to an interview with Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy about the music. Which led her to flying from Los Angeles to Ireland in the Spring of '86 where six months from the day of the concert she was having breakfast with Tommy and Liam in their Belfast hotel.
Karen, with her tape recorder in hand, knocked unannounced on the doors of their family and friends and was invited in, and with great candor she was told intimate stories of their family life, childhood antics, young adulthood dreams and the chain of events that led to the forming of the group.
It's the adventure that led her to Paddy Clancy's house where he told her of the struggles he and his brother Tom had in a new country, America. To Peg Clancy's house, where she speaks of the family life they grew up in and her big brothers, Paddy and Tom and the little dreamer brother, Liam. To a shy and candid talk with Tommy Makem about his life. To Northern Ireland where the warmth of Mona, Nancy and Jack Makem's stories of their little brother Tommy and mother Sarah Makem where in deep contrast to the cold occupied, "troubled" streets of their home town.
For fear of the stories being lost forever, she shares them now. You don't have to be a fan or be Irish to appreciate Karen's adventures collecting the stories of these four remarkable men, Paddy, Tom and Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem.
It is an easy and lovely read. You will feel like you are there with Karen as these delightful and captivating characters tell you their stories.
Karen Klausner Chute's ClancyMakemBook website.