Clancy, 76, Founding Member of the Clancy Brothers
By JON PARELES
Patrick Clancy, who helped start a folk revival as a founding member
of the Clancy Brothers
and Tommy Makem, died on Nov. 11 at his home in Carrick-on-Suir, County
Ireland. He was 76.
The cause was cancer, said Bill Haller, his son-in-law.
As the eldest of the Clancy Brothers, Clancy toured the world singing Irish
songs, often with
thousands of audience members singing along. Although the Clancy Brothers
got started as Irish
expatriates in New York, where they were part of the Greenwich Village
folk revival of the 1950s
and '60s, the group's rowdy, good-humored performances created an enduring
image of Irish
tradition and spurred a rediscovery of folk styles back home in Ireland.
Clancy also started a
folk-music label, Tradition, that documented Appalachian music, blues,
Celtic and ethnic music.
Clancy was born in Carrick, in rural Tipperary, where he and his brothers
soaked up traditional
music. During World War II he went to England to join the Royal Air Force,
and worked as an
airplane mechanic in England and India. After the war he and his brother
Tom, who had sung pop
music in Ireland, came to the United States. They worked at a brewery in
Newark, N.J., and sold
insurance in Cleveland before moving to New York.
In postwar bohemian Greenwich Village, they acted in and produced off-Broadway
Sean O'Casey's "Plough and Stars" at the Cherry Lane Theater. Joining the
scene around the White
Horse Tavern, they became friendly with such authors as Dylan Thomas, Delmore
James Baldwin, and musicians such as Woody Guthrie.
In the early 1950s, Patrick Clancy assembled Irish music for Folkways Records
and the early
Elektra label. He started his own label, Tradition, in 1956. His brother
Liam arrived in the United
States that year, collecting Appalachian songs and also settling in New
York. The three brothers
began singing Irish songs at parties and quickly developing a local following.
They were joined by another Irish expatriate, Tommy Makem, and started
recording for Tradition in
1959. They traveled the folk-club circuit and performed at the Newport
folk festivals. A 1961
appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" brought them a national following.
In concert, they wore Arran wool sweaters and sang rollicking versions
of rebel songs, drinking
songs and love songs -- among them "The Jug of Punch" and "Carrickfergus"
-- interspersed with tall
tales and poetry recitations. Columbia Records signed the group in 1961,
and it eventually made
about 40 albums.
Patrick Clancy returned to live in Carrick in 1964, and bought a dairy
farm. But he continued to
perform frequently with his brothers. After 1969, the group's lineup fluctuated,
sometimes including a
fourth Clancy brother, Robert, and later a nephew, Robbie O'Connell. Patrick
Clancy gave his last
performance in July in Carrick.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; his brothers Liam and Robert; two sisters,
Peg and Joan; five
children, Leish, of Philadelphia; Rory, of Carrick; Orla of the Netherlands;
Maura, of Carlow,
Ireland, and Conor, of Dublin, and three grandchildren.
Saturday, November 14, 1998
Paddy Clancy to his resting place
The folk singer Paddy Clancy, whose music was central
to his life, was buried to the sound of music in his
home county of Tipperary yesterday. As his remains left
the packed St Nicholas's Parish Church in
Carrick-on-Suir, a rousing chorus of The Jug of Punch
led by his son, Conor, accompanied him on his way to
the tiny village of Faugheen.
Earlier in the Requiem Mass, during the offertory
procession, his trademark white cap, similar to the one
in which he has been buried, the Aran sweater, a stick
that he had been fashioning into a "snake catcher" and
a harmonica were brought to the altar.
"Paddy lifted the hearts of people through his gift of
music", said the parish priest, Father Paul Waldron.
Carrick-on-Suir came to a halt as gardaí, saluting the
passing coffin, stopped traffic on a busy market day to
allow the funeral through on its way to Faugheen.
The cortège, accompanied by the drifting strains of a
sole harmonica, was met by another throng of people in
the cemetery. Bobby Clancy played the harmonica as the
coffin was lowered into the grave. After further
tributes, the singing resumed as Paddy's son, Conor,
brothers Liam and Bobby, and nephew Finbarr were joined
by Tommy Makem, Finbarr Furey, Ronnie Drew, John
Sheehan and the whole congregation in a rousing
rendition of Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?
Liam Clancy then announced: "We never ended a concert
yet without The Parting Glass, and the crowd sang
The Taoiseach, who sent a message of sympathy, was
represented by his aide-de-camp, Capt Michael Kiernan.
Paddy Clancy is survived by his wife, Mary, sons Rory
and Conor, daughters Leish, Maura and Orla, brothers
Liam and Bobby, and sisters Joan and Peg.
This is the second bereavement in the Clancy family
recently as Paddy's sister, Lelia, was buried last
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -- Paddy Clancy,
who sang with the Clancy Brothers and
Tommy Makem, the influential Irish folk group
of the 1950s and 1960s, has died
at age 76.
Paddy Clancy died Nov. 11 after a long illness
at his home in the County
Waterford town of Carrick-on-Suir in southeast
Ireland, according to death
notices in Irish newspapers.
It was in New York in 1959 at the beginning
of the folk music boom that the
Clancy brothers and their friend Makem formed
their group. They performed in
Greenwich Village clubs and appeared at Newport
folk festivals with such people
as Judy Collins and Pete Seeger.
Brother Bobby Clancy also occasionally sang
with the group, which was
considered a major influence on the current
folk music revival in Ireland. They
made more than 50 records.
After touring for about nine years as The
Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem,
Paddy struck out on his own, and had been
on his own since. But they remained
friends, and they got together again in 1993
for the Madison Square Garden
concert honoring Bob Dylan's 30 years in
Tommy Clancy died in 1990, but Liam, Paddy
and Bobby and their nephew Robbie
O'Connell continued to sing into the 1990s.
Information about survivors was not immediately