Monday, December 7, 2009

A great voice is silenced

I think it was a year ago when I learned, belatedly, that Tommy Makem, the Bard of Armagh (and of Ireland, truly), had died.  I felt my heart would break as I had had the absolute joy of having seen him and the Clancy Brothers live at Marquette University back in the late 60s, when Tommy sang right to me.  I saw  Tommy and Liam again in 1986 at Frank Brittingham's Irish Pub, Lafayette Hills, PA.  I was three rows from them as the venue was small, and how I enjoyed this performance.  The years had diminished them in no way at all.  Now, both voices are forever silenced, with the recent passing of Liam Clancy, on 12/4, at age 74!  I cannot believe he was that old as he always seemed so full of life.  He died of pulmonary fibrosis.  While I liked the Clancy Brothers as a group, I LOVED Makem and Clancy, especially Four Green Fields, Peter Kagan and Sound the Pibroch.  What truly astounded me was that Tommy Makem remembered singing Four Green Fields to me at Marquette, and remembered that I was "the pregnant young lady in the front row" - and yes, I was, expecting my first child, my only daughter.  He looked at me and said "I hope you never know the pain that the 'mother' in this song has experienced".  Of course, the song spoke of a broken Ireland, part in bondage.  Tommy, if only you knew!  So now their voices are stilled, at least in our world, and they are all together again, singing in Heaven, while we can only remember and be grateful we knew who they were.  Yes, I will remember.  Thank you both for all the joy you have brought me with your music.  Liam, I am glad your suffering is over. 

So, in saying "Goodbye", let me share with you one of my favorite Makem and Clancy songs, and let us all lift a "parting glass" to Liam and the others, for all the joy they have brought so many.  God bless you, boys!  Say Hi to my Dad!

The Parting Glass

O, all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that ever I've done,
alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
to mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

O, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wished me one more day to stay.

But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Goodnight and joy be with you all.

Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Good night, boys.  It was a grand ride you had.  You will be missed!  Ireland will be more the poor for your loss, as are we.

1 comment:

Patty Skypants said...

Sorry to hear he's left us for a bigger venue!! Even in the middle of nowhere, Clancy Bros. ruled! Saw them live myself! xxoo P