Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 08:48:13 -0600 From: Mark Gonnerman (markg@LELAND.STANFORD.EDU) Subject: Who's Who/ Planxty Dylan: There's a group you have here, what's it called, Plankston? Bono: Planxty. Dylan: They're great! Dylan: I'd like to have them. You know Planxty? I also like Paul Brady a lot. -- THE BONO VOX INTERVIEW JULY 8, 1984. (What was it you wanted? #6) Conducted at the Slane Castle, Dublin, prior to Dylan's show. *************************** Who's Who/ Planxty Planxty (planxty being an old Irish word meaning "a tune written for someone") was formed in 1971 by singer-guitarist Christy Moore with uillean pipes player Liam O'Flynn, mandolinist Andy Irvine and multi-instrumentalist/producer Donal Lunny. The musicians revitalized traditional Irish folk music, and, next to the Chieftains, this dynamic group became one of the most influential Irish bands of the early '70s. They broke up (when?) and regrouped for another three-year stint from 1979-82, but then left fans once again high and dry. Both Moore and Irvine have been called the "Irish Woody Guthrie." Could someone provide a discography? Any Dylan covers? --Mark
**************************** >From Geoffrey Himes, "Patrick Street: The Pluck of the Irish," THE WASHINGTON POST, 27 February 1987, p. C7. "Someone once said that the Chieftains are pre-Beatles Irish music," says fiddler Kevin Burke, "and that our bands are post-Beatles Irish music. There's an element of truth in that." The "our bands" that Burke is referring to are De Danann, Planxty and the Bothy Band, the three great progressive folk groups that blossomed in Ireland in the '70s. Following the lead of Bob Dylan and the Byrds in America and Pentangle and Fairport Convention in England, these Irish bands revitalized folk traditions with the more aggressive rhythms and lyrics of the '60s. Unfortunately, the bands proved rather unstable. The Bothy Band broke up for good in 1979, while Planxty and De Danann have been on-again, off-again affairs with constant turnover. Now, however, four alumni of these bands have joined forces as a group called Patrick Street, in hopes of reviving the tradition of progressive Irish folk bands. The founding members of Patrick Street are Kevin Burke from the Bothy Band, singer Andy Irvine from Planxty, accordionist Jackie Daly from De Danann and guitarist Arty McGlynn from Planxty. They have just released their self-titled debut album on Green Linnet Records . [According to Burke,] "Planxty was very influenced by Woody Guthrie and Eastern European folk music. " Burke grew up in London with a family from western Ireland. "At that time you could hear more traditional Irish music in London than in any town in Ireland," he insists. "There was just so much of it, both around the house and in the pubs. Meanwhile, the popular music at school and around the neighborhood was rock 'n' roll. I kept them very separate in my head until I was 15 and started seeing the links. "Someone gave me a Bob Dylan record with a couple of ballads on it," remembers Burke, "and I said to this fellow, 'Hey, this isn't so different from the traditional Irish tunes I know. '"
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 12:46:00 +0000 (added 14:44:02 +0000 correction of names in Moving Heart. Karl Erik) From: Tiernan Henry (HENRY.TIERNAN@UCG.IE) Subject: planxty/paul brady Now you're all talking! The bio details on Planxty are pretty accurate, but their musical importance here was immense. There was a folk revival in Ireland at the start of the 70s spearheaded by the likes of Planxty, De Dannan and the Bothy Band. Young, extremely talented musicians, they really did do for Irish music what the Beatles/Stones etc did in Britain, and what Baez and Bob et al. were doing in the States. Until then Irish traditional music was untouchable, and wasn't to be messed about with by the masses. Along come this bunch of upstarts in woolly pullovers, jeans, and sucking Guinness like it was going out of style, and they revitalised the music. It was accessible, it was fun, and shit it was exciting. (Planxty in full swing were a sight to behold.) The nature of these bands was dynamic however. Christy left Planxty, to be replaced by Paul Brady, but the band broke up about '77. Needless to say all the players still appear on each other's releases, and in various combinations. Brady and Irvine made the gorgeous "Andy Irvine and Paul Brady" album (still available here and in Britain and the USA -- and I presume elsewhere???), which has Brady's reading of "Arthur McBride" that Bob so admires. (I posted this before, but at Slane in '84, Bob met Brady and learned how to play "Arthur" and "The Lakes of Ponchatrain" from him.) Brady then did a Bob, and went electric in 1981, releasing the Donal Lunny produced "Hard Station". He's released several records since, though he's perhaps best known -- and certainly wealthier -- through Bonnie Raitt's version of "Luck of the Draw". He's on tour in Ireland in January. And definitely worth seeing live. Be warned, though, he can be as sour as Van on a bad day. Lunny, after Planxty, went into production mostly. A multi-instrumentalist, he's most at home on a bazouki, or behind the desk. He's worked with Brady, Christy (a friend of God in Ireland), Clannad, Moving Hearts, done tons of TV work and can also be heard on "Bringing It All Back Home", Philip King's documentary about the movement of Irish music abroad (it's a still available double disc, defintitely worth searching out, released on BBC records. Contains great stuff from Mary Black, Dolores Keane, Costello, Hothouse Flowers -- doing a simply lovely version of "Ponchatrian" by the way, Luka Bloom, and indeed Brady and Lunny cooking up the proverbial acoustic storm on Brady's fiery "Nothing but the same old story"). When Christy left PLanxty he started a somehwhat patchy solo career. Linked with every movement you could think of, Christy appeared at every festival show in Ireland. He was with Moving Hearts (more on them in a bit) for a couple of years, and then his solo career took off. He now pretty much reigns in Ireland. His shows sell out instantly, and though his albums are really good, it's in a live setting that he needs to be seen and heard. (The last time I saw him was at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, several months ago. The Gallery Press, Peter & Jean Fallon's press, celebrated its 25th birthday with readings from ten of its poets. The evening was chaired by a jovial Heaney, and Mary Robinson, the Irish President, gave a moving speech. Christy, introduced by Heaney, did the music at the intermission.) Donal Lunny was and still is deeply interested in Eastern European music, and has recorded several albums with Hungarian artists, in particular. In the early 70s, there was a band called Horslips on the go. They began as a strictly trad group but quickly adopted electric instruments. They played electrified Irish music. The purists didn't approve, but the kids (!) loved it. And of course, if you were a teen here in the 70s the first show that most of us were allowed go to see was Horslips. They were perhaps the main impetus for Moving Hearts. Christy, Lunny, saxophonist Keith Donald (now chair of the Irish Arts Council), guitarist Deccie Sinnott (until recently Mary Black's producer and collaborator), uileann piper Davy Spillane, and a drummer whose name eludes me right now (yikes). And the bassist was Eoghan O'Neill. Again, the Hearts had to seen and heard to be believed. Their debut had stunning version of "Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette" and Jackson Browne's "Before the Deluge". Live, they were phenomenal. Christy left aftera couple of years -- the live buzz never really clicked on record, to be replaced by (first) Mick Hanly and then Flo McSweeney on vocals. The Hearts fizzled for a few years, and then shot back with the stunning instrumental album "The Storm". Find it somewhere. Let's see now... no Dylan covers at all in that lot (though Christy would on occasion play I Pity the Poor Immigrant at his shows). And of course, Christy is big brother to Luka Bloom (aka Barry Moore), and plays bodhran on "The Acoustic Motorbike". At this years Galway Arts Festival De Dannan celebrated their 21st birthday with a great celebratory show. Former vocalists Mary Black, Dolores Keane, and Eleanor Shanly (whose new solo release has a version of "Tomorrow is a long time") joined the band again for a wonderful show. (De Dannan are a Galway band as well.) Does that help? As far as I know, all the Planxty and Brady stuff is available still on cd (and tape), as is De Dannan and the Bothy Band. All the above is from memory, but if anyone does want a discography I'll piece it together. If you're in the States, contact Green Linnet, they handle Brady's pre-electric stuff, and probably Planxty's too (the one to get is "The Well Below the Valley", purely personal fave though!). tiernan
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 17:51:11 GMT From: NAME (scch6114@BUREAU.UCC.IE) Subject: Re: Who's Who/ Planxty Message subject:Dylan covers by planxty In 1983 Planxty recorded an album called Words and Music featuring I pity the poor emigrant from JWH , with Christy Moore on vocals . Of further interest Christy recorded Song To Woody on a "solo" album called Prosperous. However this album is widely regarded as the start of Planxty as the ensemble of musicians assembled for this album eventually formed Planxty . Other worthwhile albums by Planxty are (a) the first one simply called Planxty which features a version of Arthur Mcbride and (b) The Well below the valley oh Also (c) Cold Blows the Rainy Night. That's all i can think off at The top of my head. Hope it helps . Yours Martin O' Connell University College Cork,Ireland
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 09:02:41 -0600 From: Mark Gonnerman (markg@LELAND.STANFORD.EDU) Subject: Re: Who's Who/ Planxty Well, I must be livin' right! Yesterday morning I posted a "Who's Who" on Planxty and last night I chanced across a used Planxty CD in a nearby shop: THE PLANXTY COLLECTION, 1989 (Shanachie 79012). This morning I find two excellent, very helpful posts on Planxty from Martin O' Connell and Tiernan Henry (don't miss his excellent "planxty/paul brady" post below). Many thanks! THE PLANXTY COLLECTION includes a beautiful "The Lakes of Pontchartrain," reels, and other danceable tunes. Excellent musicianship throughout. The liner notes by Colin Irwin mention the following recordings: PLANXTY, 1972 THE WELL BELOW THE VALLEY, 1973 COLD BLOW AND THE RAINY NIGHT, 1974 "The third and final album earned selection as MELODY MAKER's folk album of 1974, although by the time of its release that autumn, Christy Moore had reluctantly quit, wanting to spend more time at home in Ireland with a quieter lifestyle. Paul Brady, who'd been with the much under-rated Johnstons, was rescued from America to take his place." --Mark