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The Dubliners

The Dubliners circa 2005.
From left to right: Eamonn Campbell, John Sheahan, Barney McKenna, Séan Cannon and Patsy Watchorn.
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Irish folk
Years active 1962–present
Labels Columbia, Epic, Legacy, Major Minor, EMI, Transatlantic, Polydor, CHYME, Lunar, Harmac, Baycourt, Celtic Collections
Members
Barney McKenna
John Sheahan
Sean Cannon
Eamonn Campbell
Patsy Watchorn
Former members
Ronnie Drew
Luke Kelly
Ciaran Bourke
Bobby Lynch
Jim McCann
Paddy Reilly

The Dubliners are an Irish folk band founded in 1962.

Contents

Formation and History

The Dubliners formed in 1962 and made a name for themselves playing regularly in O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin. Initially known as "The Ronnie Drew Ballad Group", the founding members were Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Ciaran Bourke and Barney McKenna. [1] The change of name came about due to Drew's unhappiness with the name, coinciding with the fact that Kelly was reading Dubliners by James Joyce at the time. [2]

Drew spent some time in Spain in his younger years where he learned to play Flamenco guitar, and he accompanied his songs on a Spanish guitar.[3] Drew left the band in 1974 to spend more time with his family, to be replaced by Jim McCann. He returned to The Dubliners five years later, but left the group again in 1995.[4] Ronnie Drew died at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Dublin on 16 August 2008 after a long illness.[1] Paddy Reilly took Drew's place in 1995. Some of Drew's most significant contributions to the band are the hit single "Seven Drunken Nights", his rendition of "Finnegan's Wake", and "McAlpine's Fusiliers".

Luke Kelly was more of a balladeer than Drew, and he played chords on the five-string banjo. Kelly sang many defining versions of traditional songs like "The Black Velvet Band", "Whiskey in the Jar", "Home Boys Home"; but also Phil Coulter's "The Town I Loved So Well", Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" and "Raglan Road", written by the famous Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh. Kavanagh met Kelly in a pub, and asked him to sing the song.[citation needed]

In 1980, Luke Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumour [5]. Occasionally Kelly was too ill to sing, though he was sometimes able to join the band for a few songs, while on tour in Germany he collapsed on stage. When Kelly was too ill to play, he was replaced with Sean Cannon.[citation needed] He continued to tour with the band until 2 months before his death. Kelly died on January 30, 1980. [2] One of the last concerts he took part in was recorded and released: Live in Carré, recorded in Amsterdam, Netherlands, released in 1983. In November 2004, the Dublin city council voted unanimously to erect a bronze statue of Luke Kelly.[6] Kelly is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Ciarán Bourke was a singer, but he also played the guitar, tin whistle and harmonica. He sang many songs in Irish ("Peggy Lettermore", "Preab san Ól"). In 1974 he collapsed on stage after suffering a brain hemorrhage. A second hemorrhage left him paralyzed on his left side.[3] Bourke died in 1988.[4] The band did not officially replace him until his death.[citation needed]

Barney McKenna is a renowned tenor banjo and mandolin player. In The Dubliners' stage shows he sings sea shanties and love songs to minimal instrumental accompaniment.

John Sheahan and Bobby Lynch joined the band in 1964. [7] They had been playing during the interval at concerts, and usually stayed on for the second half of the show.[citation needed] When Luke Kelly moved to England in 1964, Lynch was taken on as his temporary replacement. According to Sheahan, he was never (and still has not been) ever officially asked to join the band.[citation needed] Sheahan is the only member to have had a musical education.[citation needed]

Band members

Band Members Through The Years

  • 1962-1964: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, Ciarán
  • 1964-1965: Ronnie, Barney, Ciarán, Bobby, John
  • 1965-1974: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, Ciarán, John
  • 1974-1979: Luke, Barney, John, Jim
  • 1979-1983: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, John
  • 1983-1988: Ronnie, Barney, John, Seán
  • 1988-1995: Ronnie, Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn
  • 1996-2005: Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn, Paddy
  • 2005-  : Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn, Patsy

Instrumentals

They also played many instrumental tunes, mostly traditional reels, jigs and hornpipes. In the early days when they played at O'Donoghue's Pub, Bobby Lynch and fiddle/tin whistle player John Sheahan would play during the breaks, and sometimes they stayed on stage after the interval. When Luke Kelly left for England in 1964, they were asked to join the group. During this period without Luke Kelly, their 1965 LP In Concert was recorded; Lynch can be heard singing "Roddy MacCorley" (with Ciaran Bourke), Dominic Behan's "Patriot Game", "The Kerry Recruit" and "The Leaving of Liverpool" (with Ronnie). When Kelly returned in 1965, Lynch left the band and Sheahan stayed. Bobby Lynch committed suicide in Dublin in 1982.

Popularity

The Dubliners became very well known, not just in Ireland; they were also pioneers for Irish folk in Europe and also (though less successful) in the United States. Their 1967 recordings of "Seven Drunken Nights" and "The Black Velvet Band" were released on the fledgling Major Minor label, and were heavily promoted on pirate radio station Radio Caroline. The result was that both records reached the top 20 in the UK pop charts. A third single, "Maids, When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man" reached number 43 in December 1967. It was their last UK hit single till they recorded with The Pogues in 1987.

Also in 1974, Ronnie Drew decided to quit the band, to spend more time with his family. He was replaced with Jim McCann. Before joining the band McCann had a TV show in the early seventies called The McCann man. He is best known for his incarnations of "Carrickfergus", Makem's "Four Green Fields", and "Lord of the Dance". He stayed with the band until 1979 to start a solo career; then Ronnie Drew rejoined the band. First Ronnie went to Norway to record two songs in the Norwegian language with the Norwegian band Bergeners.

The Dubliners also gained popularity amongst famous musicians such as Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason, who were all self-proclaimed Dubliners fans.

The Dubliners are not directly concerned by the Northern Ireland status. They sing songs associated with the unionist movement ("The Old Orange Flute") as well as songs associated with the IRA( "Off To Dublin In The Green" or "The Belfast Brigade"),

Reunions

25th Anniversary

In 1987, The Dubliners celebrated their 25th anniversary. They recorded a double CD, produced by Eamonn Campbell, long time friend and guest musician. He introduced them to The Pogues, and their collaboration resulted in a hit with "The Irish Rover". It reached number 8 in the singles charts. In 1990 their final hit single was "Jack's Heroes/Whiskey in the Jar", again with The Pogues, which reached number 63. Campbell, who plays the guitar on stage, has been touring with the band ever since. Christy Moore, Paddy Reilly and Jim McCann also featured on the CD; Moore sings a tribute to Luke Kelly, and McCann sings the song "I Loved the Ground She Walked Upon", written by Phil Coulter and Ralph McTell. The following year, to coincide with Dublin's millennial celebrations, Radio Telefís Éireann produced an hour long special on the band and the city's influence on their music, titled The Dubliner's Dublin.

In 1996 Ronnie Drew quit the band, and Paddy Reilly came on to replace him. Reilly, a long time friend of the group, toured with them before on several occasions; he was already a successful solo artist in Ireland, scoring hits with "The Fields of Athenry" and "The Town I Loved So Well".

40th Anniversary

In 2002, they temporarily reunited with Ronnie Drew and Jim McCann, for their 40th anniversary tour. During this tour, they recorded their first DVD. They also made a string of appearances on Irish television throughout this time, including a memorable appearance with Phil Coulter and George Murphy on RTÉ 1.

After the tour, Jim McCann was diagnosed with throat cancer and though he fully recovered his voice was severely damaged, and he has not been able to sing since his illness. Despite this, Jim regularly acts as MC at folk gigs, notably at Dubliners reunion shows and at the 2006 'Legends of Irish Folk' shows (where he also played guitar in the finale).

In 2005 Paddy Reilly moved to the United States, and Patsy Watchorn joined the group. Watchorn made a name for himself with The Dublin City Ramblers; like Luke Kelly, he accompanies his songs on the 5 string banjo.

After 47 years, the band still tours Europe every year, though instrumentalists Barney McKenna and John Sheahan are the only original members left in the band.

Discography

Note: This discography is incomplete.

Original albums

Compilation albums

  • 1969 It's The Dubliners
  • 1969 A Drop Of The Dubliners
  • 1977 Home, Boys, Home
  • 1978 20 Original Greatest Hits
  • 1979 The Dubliners Collection
  • 1981 20 Original Greatest Hits Volume 2
  • 1981 18 Original Greatest Hits Volume 3
  • 1992 Off to Dublin Green
  • 1993 Original Dubliners
  • 1995 Milestones
  • 1997 The Definitive Transatlantic Collection
  • 1998 At their best
  • 1998 Ageless Classics - The Transatlantic Years Revisited
  • 2000 Collection (reassembling)
  • 2000 Definitive Dubliners
  • 2002 The best of The Dubliners
  • 2002 The Transatlantic Anthology
  • 2003 Spirit of the Irish
  • 2006 The Dubliners Collection (reassembling)
  • 2006 Too Late To Stop Now: The Very Best Of The Dubliners
  • 2009 The Very Best Of: The Dubliners

External links

References

  1. ^ CBC News, Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew dies, 16 August 2008. Retrieved on 13 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Luke Kelly Dies at Age of 44", The Irish Times: Page 7, January 31, 1980, "LUKE Kelly of the Dubliners died last night in the Richmond Hospital in Dublin. He was 44, and since 1980 had undergone two major operations following a brain tumour." 
  3. ^ Mary Hardy (1978), The Dubliners Scrapbook, Wise, 1978, pp. 96, ISBN 0860015300, 9780860015307, http://books.google.com/books?id=q5wvGwAACAAJ&dq=The+Dubliners+Scrapbook&cd=1, retrieved March 13, 2010, "The night of 5 April 1974 was little short of catastrophic. [...] There the doctors diagnosed a brain aneurysm." 
  4. ^ Associated Press (May 11, 1988), CIARAN BOURKE, 48 A FOUNDER OF BAND DUBLINERS, Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass., http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/boston/access/59625005.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS&type=current&date=May+11%2C+1988&author=Associated+Press&pub=Boston+Globe+%28pre-1997+Fulltext%29&edition=&startpage=73&desc=CIARAN+BOURKE%2C+48+A+FOUNDER+OF+BAND+DUBLINERS, retrieved March 13, 2010, "[CIARAN BOURKE], a ballad singer, guitarist and tin-whistle playing founding member of the Dubliners folk group, died yesterday. He was 48." 

The Dubliners
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Irish folk
Years active 1962–present
Labels Columbia, Epic, Legacy, Major Minor, EMI, Transatlantic, Polydor, CHYME, Lunar, Harmac, Baycourt, Celtic Collections
Members
Barney McKenna
John Sheahan
Sean Cannon
Eamonn Campbell
Patsy Watchorn
Former members
Ronnie Drew
Luke Kelly
Ciaran Bourke
Bobby Lynch
Jim McCann
Paddy Reilly

The Dubliners are an Irish folk band founded in 1962.

Contents

Formation and History

The Dubliners, initially known as "The Ronnie Drew Ballad Group", formed in 1962 and made a name for themselves playing regularly in O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin. The founding members were Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Ciaran Bourke and Barney McKenna. [1] The change of name came about due to Drew's unhappiness with the name, coinciding with the fact that Kelly was reading Dubliners by James Joyce at the time. [2]

Drew spent some time in Spain in his younger years where he learned to play Flamenco guitar, and he accompanied his songs on a Spanish guitar.[3] Drew left the band in 1974 to spend more time with his family, and was replaced by Jim McCann. He returned to The Dubliners five years later, but left the group again in 1995.[4] Ronnie Drew died at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Dublin on 16 August 2008 after a long illness.[1] Paddy Reilly took Drew's place in 1995. Some of Drew's most significant contributions to the band are the hit single "Seven Drunken Nights", his rendition of "Finnegan's Wake", and "McAlpine's Fusiliers".

Luke Kelly was more of a balladeer than Drew, and he played chords on the five-string banjo. Kelly sang many defining versions of traditional songs like "The Black Velvet Band", "Whiskey in the Jar", "Home Boys Home"; but also Phil Coulter's "The Town I Loved So Well", Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town", "The Wild Rover", and "Raglan Road" , written by the famous Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh. Kavanagh met Kelly in a pub, and asked him to sing the song.[citation needed]

In 1980, Luke Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumour [5]. Occasionally Kelly was too ill to sing though he was sometimes able to join the band for a few songs. While on tour in Germany he collapsed on stage. When Kelly was too ill to play, he was replaced with Sean Cannon.[citation needed] He continued to tour with the band until two months before his death. Kelly died on January 30, 1984.[2] One of the last concerts in which he took part was recorded and released: Live in Carré, recorded in Amsterdam, Netherlands, released in 1983. In November 2004, the Dublin city council voted unanimously to erect a bronze statue of Luke Kelly.[6] Kelly is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Ciarán Bourke was a singer, but he also played the guitar, tin whistle and harmonica. He sang many songs in Irish ("Peggy Lettermore", "Preab san Ól"). In 1974 he collapsed on stage after suffering a brain hemorrhage. A second hemorrhage left him paralyzed on his left side.[3] Bourke died in 1988.[4] The band did not officially replace him until his death.[citation needed]

Barney McKenna is a renowned tenor banjo and mandolin player. In The Dubliners' stage shows he sings sea shanties and love songs to minimal instrumental accompaniment.

John Sheahan and Bobby Lynch joined the band in 1964. [7] They had been playing during the interval at concerts, and usually stayed on for the second half of the show.[citation needed] When Luke Kelly moved to England in 1964, Lynch was taken on as his temporary replacement. When Kelly returned in 1965, Lynch left the band and Sheahan stayed. According to Sheahan, he was never (and still has not been) ever officially asked to join the band.[citation needed] Sheahan is the only member to have had a musical education.[citation needed] Bobby Lynch committed suicide in Dublin in 1982.

Members

Line-ups

  • 1962–64: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, Ciarán
  • 1964–65: Ronnie, Barney, Ciarán, Bobby, John
  • 1965–74: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, Ciarán, John
  • 1974–79: Luke, Barney, John, Jim
  • 1979–83: Ronnie, Luke, Barney, John
  • 1983–88: Ronnie, Barney, John, Seán
  • 1988–95: Ronnie, Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn
  • 1996–2005: Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn, Paddy
  • 2005–present: Barney, John, Seán, Eamonn, Patsy

Popularity

The Dubliners became very well known, not just in Ireland but also as pioneers for Irish folk in Europe and also (though less successful) in the United States. Their 1967 recordings of "Seven Drunken Nights" and "The Black Velvet Band" were released on the fledgling Major Minor label, and were heavily promoted on pirate radio station Radio Caroline. The result was that both records reached the top 20 in the UK pop charts. A third single, "Maids, When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man" reached number 43 in December 1967. It was their last UK hit single till they recorded with The Pogues in 1987.

In 1974, Ronnie Drew decided to quit the band, to spend more time with his family. He was replaced with Jim McCann. Before joining the band McCann had a TV show in the early seventies called The McCann man. He is best known for his incarnations of "Carrickfergus", Makem's "Four Green Fields", and "Lord of the Dance". He stayed with the band until 1979 to start a solo career; then Ronnie Drew rejoined the band. First Ronnie went to Norway to record two songs in the Norwegian language with the Norwegian band Bergeners.

The Dubliners also gained popularity amongst famous musicians such as Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason, who were all self-proclaimed Dubliners fans.[citation needed]

In the 1960s, The Dubliners sang rebel songs such as "The Old Alarm Clock", "The Foggy Dew" and "Off to Dublin in the Green". However, due to the conflict in Northern Ireland from 1969 onwards, they dropped most of these from their repertoire. They have begun to occasionally perform songs such as these again only in recent years.

Reunions

25th Anniversary

In 1987, The Dubliners celebrated their 25th anniversary. They recorded a double CD, produced by Eamonn Campbell, long time friend and guest musician. He introduced them to The Pogues, and their collaboration resulted in a hit with "The Irish Rover". It reached number 8 in the singles charts. In 1990 their final hit single was "Jack's Heroes/Whiskey in the Jar", again with The Pogues, which reached number 63. Campbell, who plays the guitar on stage, has been touring with the band ever since. Christy Moore, Paddy Reilly and Jim McCann also featured on the CD; Moore sings a tribute to Luke Kelly, and McCann sings the song "I Loved the Ground She Walked Upon", written by Phil Coulter and Ralph McTell. The following year, to coincide with Dublin's millennial celebrations, Radio Telefís Éireann produced an hour long special on the band and the city's influence on their music, titled The Dubliner's Dublin.

In 1996 Ronnie Drew quit the band, and Paddy Reilly came on to replace him. Reilly, a long time friend of the group, toured with them before on several occasions; he was already a successful solo artist in Ireland, scoring hits with "The Fields of Athenry" and "The Town I Loved So Well".

40th Anniversary

In 2002, they temporarily reunited with Ronnie Drew and Jim McCann, for their 40th anniversary tour. During this tour, they recorded their first DVD. They also made a string of appearances on Irish television throughout this time, including a memorable appearance with Phil Coulter and George Murphy on RTÉ 1.

After the tour, Jim McCann was diagnosed with throat cancer and, though he fully recovered, his voice was severely damaged, and he has not been able to sing since his illness. Despite this, Jim regularly acts as MC at folk gigs, notably at Dubliners reunion shows and at the 2006 'Legends of Irish Folk' shows (where he also played guitar in the finale).

In 2005 Paddy Reilly moved to the United States, and Patsy Watchorn joined the group. Watchorn made a name for himself with The Dublin City Ramblers; like Luke Kelly, he accompanies his songs on the five-string banjo.

After 48 years, the band still tours Europe every year, though instrumentalists Barney McKenna and John Sheahan are the only original members left in the band.

Discography

Note: This discography is incomplete.

Original albums

Compilation albums

References

  1. ^ CBC News, Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew dies, 16 August 2008. Retrieved on 13 March 2010.
  2. ^ [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Luke Kelly Dies at Age of 44"], The Irish Times: Page 7, January 31, 1980, "LUKE Kelly of the Dubliners died last night in the Richmond Hospital in Dublin. He was 44, and since 1980 had undergone two major operations following a brain tumour." 
  3. ^ Mary Hardy (1978), The Dubliners Scrapbook, Wise, 1978, pp. 96, ISBN 0860015300, 9780860015307, http://books.google.com/books?id=q5wvGwAACAAJ&dq=The+Dubliners+Scrapbook&cd=1, retrieved March 13, 2010, "The night of 5 April 1974 was little short of catastrophic. [...] There the doctors diagnosed a brain aneurysm." 
  4. ^ Associated Press (May 11, 1988), CIARAN BOURKE, 48 A FOUNDER OF BAND DUBLINERS, Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass., http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/boston/access/59625005.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS&type=current&date=May+11%2C+1988&author=Associated+Press&pub=Boston+Globe+%28pre-1997+Fulltext%29&edition=&startpage=73&desc=CIARAN+BOURKE%2C+48+A+FOUNDER+OF+BAND+DUBLINERS, retrieved March 13, 2010, "[CIARAN BOURKE], a ballad singer, guitarist and tin-whistle playing founding member of the Dubliners folk group, died yesterday. He was 48." 

External links








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