Saturday, December 05, 2009

Liam Clancy dead at 74

This is sad news. Like many people of my generation, my first introduction to folk music was through the Clancy Brothers, who brought Irish music to a mass audience in the United States.

Now Liam Clancy, the last of the brothers, has died.

There's a lot to tell about him, but here's something I never knew: he and Bob Dylan were friends.

Liam Clancy lived in Greenwich Village, where he befriended another young folk singer, Bob Dylan. They dated a pair of sisters, Mr. Clancy told interviewers. Recalling that time in an interview on Irish television two years ago, Mr. Clancy said that he, a Roman Catholic from rural Ireland, and Mr. Dylan, a Jew from a small Minnesota town, shared an important quality.

“People who were trying to escape repressed backgrounds, like mine and Bob Dylan’s, were congregating in Greenwich Village,” he said. “It was a place you could be yourself, where you could get away from the directives of the people who went before you, people who you loved but who you knew had blinkers on.”

Mr. Dylan told an interviewer in 1984: “I never heard a singer as good as Liam ever. He was just the best ballad singer I’d ever heard in my life. Still is, probably.”

Follow the link and enjoy the video.



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