Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

PLANXTY

Irish folk group, with the Chieftains the most infl. of all. Original lineup: Andy Irvine, vocals, mandolin, bouzouki; Donal Lunny, guitar, bouzouki, synthesizer; Christy Moore, vocals, guitar, bodhr n; Liam Og O'Flynn, Uileann pipes, whistle. They demonstrated the incestuousness of the Irish folk scene through various formations, having direct or indirect links with nearly every other major act; Lunny had played in short-lived but infl. Bothy Band, others went on to play in Chieftains, Moving Hearts etc. They arose from Moore's album Prosperous '72 on Tara (with all four on it); became well-known for use of bouzouki and early embracing of Balkan music in repertoire, the infl. of Irvine (ex-Sweeney's Men). Planxty and The Well Below The Valley '73 and Cold Blow And The Rainy Night '74 on Polydor/Shanachie were an impressive if at times uneven body of material; Lunny left after two LPs, replaced by Johnny Moynihan, who left to join De Dahann; Moore left, replaced by Paul Brady, but the lineup made no commercial recordings. With energy spent they broke up; reunited late '70s with Matt Molloy, who went on to Chieftains; released After The Break '79, The Woman I Loved So Well '80 on Tara, appeared on Nyon Folk Festival 1979 on Cat and anthology The High Kings Of Tara '80. Suite Timedance was commissioned for intermission in the Eurovision Song Contest '81, an unusual feature in that context. Next phase was arguably their best work, Words And Music '83 on WEA Ireland a blend of Bob Dylan ('I Pity The Poor Immigrant'), Si Kahn ('Aragon Mill'), and trad. ballad 'Lord Baker', illustrating their ease with folk music in the wider sense. 'Lord Baker', like 'The Well Below The Valley' and 'Raggle Taggle Gypsy' before it, acknowledged a debt to the traveller John Reilly (b c'26, Shannon; d '69, Boyle), whose The Bonny Green Tree '78 on Topic was a testament to his unique talents. The Best Of Planxty Live featured the original quartet plus Nollaig Ni Cathasaigh and Bill Whelan; apparently recorded live at the Olympia Theatre, it appeared '87 with no label: by then they had returned to other careers, for Planxty had not been their sole occupation at any stage.