The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem – four-album collection (1963-1967)

In Person At Carnegie Hall / Recorded Live In Ireland / In Concert / Freedom’s Sons

One of my earliest childhood memories is listening to The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem it is impossible to convey to anyone who hasn’t experienced living in a country that isn’t your home, the importance of their music to Irish emigrants living in London. I can still sing all their songs word for word.

Listening this excellent collection of four album over two CDs brings all those memories back, some good, some bad, such is the way with memories, they are, after all, what makes us who we are.

I never knew they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1961, watched by over 50 million people. Leam Clancy quipped, in reference to their distinctive dress. “It not only changed our lives but it changed the lives of the people who made sweaters as the same of Arran sweaters jumped 700% in a month.”

They were lovely talented players with a warm, witty, and friendly way with their audiences.

All the songs therein are special. I’ll pick a few of my favourites: ‘Jug of Punch’, ‘Wild Rover, ‘Beggar Man’ (still relevant with the disgraceful level of homelessness in the Ireland of 2019), ‘Macalpine’s Fusiliers’ and many more.

Timeless music never goes out of fashion.

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (

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