Liam Clancy, Last of the Folk Group, Dies at 74
Liam Clancy, an Irish troubadour and the last surviving member of the singing Clancy Brothers, who found fame in the United States and helped spread the popularity of Irish folk music around the world, died on Thursday in Cork, Ireland. He was 74.
His death was announced by his family and reported on the Web site www.liamclancy.com. He had been treated for pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, The Associated Press reported.
Wearing white Aran sweaters, the Clancy Brothers, joined by a fellow Irishman, Tommy Makem, won fans with musicality, sentimentality and irreverence, not unlike the Smothers Brothers a few years later, though without their penchant for patter.
Both authentic Irish and expatriate Irish, they were cultural crossovers, and, for a while, celebrities. When they were criticized, it was as the epitome of staged Irishness, as a documentary about Liam Clancy put it.
Mr. Clancy played guitar, sang in a bell-clear baritone, wore a friendly, slightly roguish expression and exuded a humorous world-weariness that made him beloved by his countrymen as quintessentially Irish. But he and his musical clan made their name in America....
The first concert I ever attended with friends instead of parents was The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. My Campfire Girls troupe all went with our very Irish-American leader, who got us backstage. I told Paddy he was my favorite, and he gave me a big, alcohol-fueled kiss.
I still have their songbook. Gotta go cry now.
Rest in peace.
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