For some, the music of the Clancy Brothers and their longtime partner Tommy Makem calls to mind visions of green beer, plastic leprechaun hats, and other long-bastardized threads of Irish culture. While they may not have presented the most authentic version of the Emerald Isle's beguiling music, beneath those cable-knit sweaters were four full-hearted, vigorous, and ultimately charming musicians who repackaged their native songs into a more accessible sound, becoming stars of the Greenwich Village folk revival in the process. Focusing less on the mournful, dark ballads of Irish traditional music, they sought their fame as entertainers, singing lusty drinking songs and humorous romps, while still managing to bring tears with occasional nostalgic ballads like "The Parting Glass" and "The Valley of Knockanure." They released countless studio albums during their tenure, but to hear them live was to visit their natural habitat. This collection compiles 20 classic tracks from their myriad live albums. Many of their best-known tunes like "The Moonshiner," "Whiskey, You're the Devil," and "Jug of Punch" are included, along with lesser-known cuts like the gritty "Brennan on the Moor" and the lovely Gaelic ballad "Óró Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile." There is a reason the Clancys and Mr. Makem became one of the most successful and beloved Irish acts of all time, and this album shows them at their best and most captivating.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger
Children's Medley: When I Was Young/Shellicky Bookey/Up the Long Ladder/Big Ship Sailing/Ahem! Ahem!/Wallflowers/Mary the Money/Frosty Weather/Man of Double Deed/The Wren Song/Up the Long Ladder/Some Say the Devil's Dead/the Irish Soldiers/Up the Long Ladder