Cover Isn't It Grand Boys

Album info

Album-Release:
1966

HRA-Release:
17.03.2015

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • 1Nancy Whiskey02:53
  • 2Galway Races02:09
  • 3What Would You Do If You Married a Soldier01:03
  • 4Eileen Aroon03:36
  • 5Isn't It Grand, Boys03:00
  • 6Galway City02:12
  • 7My Son Ted01:54
  • 8Westering Ho01:33
  • 9The Cobbler02:57
  • 10Mingulay Boat Song02:49
  • 11O'Donnell Abu01:40
  • Total Runtime25:46

Info for Isn't It Grand Boys

A long time ago, when I was a lump of a lad running around, I remember many a summer afternoon climbing up into a great ash tree, sitting in the leafy branches near the top singing away to myself, and the only competition I had was from a temperamental thrush in a nearby oak.

Another favourite place for singing was underneath a bridge on an old, disused railway line where the echo roared back at you at the top of its voice and you felt as if there were three or four people answering your song. But perhaps the best place to sing was sitting on a cartload of empty creamery cans where, with the clopping of the horse's hooves, the rattling of the ironshod wheels on the white road and the ringing of the creamery cans, it sounded as if you were being accompanied by a symphony orchestra, and you couldn't help but sing.

Later, when my fingers grew a little longer and I could cover all the holes on a tin whistle, my brother Jack taught me to play. You should have heard how great the whistle sounded being played under the railway bridge!

But that's how it is in Ireland, there's music around you all the time, and it's almost as essential to living as eating and drinking.

I went recently to visit a woman called Ellen Reilly, who lives near Keady where I was born and reared, and we were sitting chatting when she said to me, 'You're a bit of a musician, but can you tell me — what is music?' Well, now, I'm sure you'll agree that is a very difficult question to answer, so after I had wracked my brain and come up with nothing, I asked Ellen to give me her definition of music.

'Music,' said she, 'is the soul of the world embedded in sound.' Whether she had read it somewhere, or come up with it herself, I don't know; but I do know that you'd travel around a brave few corners before you'd find anyone, man, woman or child, who could come up with better.

Anyhow, a couple of days after last Christmas we returned to CBS Records in New York City to make this album. As the guitar and banjo rang out, I closed my eyes and sang with a vengeance because I wasn't really in a soundproof room full of microphones and twisted cables, I was sitting on a horse cart loaded down with empty creamery cans. And I'm sure Paddy, Tom and Liam were on their own particular creamery carts, for they enjoyed singing these songs as much as I did. If you like the songs, learn them; and if you feel like singing, just throw back your head open your mouth and fire away. Never let it be said that your mother reared a jibber. (Tommy Makem)

Paddy Clancy, vocals, harmonica
Tom Clancy, vocals
Liam Clancy, vocals, guitar
Tommy Makem, vocals, banjo, tin whistle

Recorded in December 1965, New York City
Produced by David Rubinson

Digitally remastered


The Clancy Brothers
are a family of singing Irish expatriates who have been important figures in re-popularizing their native music in North America and are still among the most internationally renowned Irish folk bands. Some even credit the band as important figures in starting the folk revival of the '50s and '60s.

The Clancys, Tom, Pat and Liam were born in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tiperrary, Ireland to a family of nine, all of whom were musically inclined. Tom and Pat emigrated to New York around the early '50s to become actors. Liam and his friend Tommy Makem, born in Keady, County Armagh the son of noted balladeer Sarah Makem, came to the U.S. in 1956. Before Liam emigrated, he had founded a dramatic society and had put on a play taking over the direction, producing and set design himself. He had also acted at the famed Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Both he and Makem also hoped to have acting careers in New York. The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem (as they were first billed) came together to sing fund-raising concerts for the Cherry Lane Theater and at the Guthrie benefits. Forgoing the stereotypical maudlin Irish ballads in favor of lusty party songs, traditional American and Irish folk songs and even protest tunes sung in close harmony and performed most theatrically, the Clancys soon became popular folk performers around Greenwich Village. In the mid-'50s, Pat founded Tradition Records so the Clancys and Makem could begin recording. Early recordings include 'The Rising of the Moon' and 'Come Fill Your Glass with Me.'

By recording and touring often, the Clancys continued to become more and more popular in Eastern and Midwestern clubs, but it was their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961 that brought them national exposure. Originally scheduled to only play three minutes, they ended up playing for 16 minutes and became an instant national sensation and soon signed a major contract with Columbia Records. The Clancys continued recording and performing together through 1969. That year Makem left to pursue his solo career. In 1975, Liam departed; he and Makem were replaced by brother Bobby Clancy and their nephew Robbie O'Connell. Since then, the original members have occasionally regrouped for reunion concerts. Tom Clancy died in 1990 but the band continued on. (Sandra Brennan, All Music Guide)

Booklet for Isn't It Grand Boys

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