Planxty came about in 1972 when folk singer Christy Moore gathered a bunch of musicians for his upcoming album Prosperous. From this grouping, Moore, along with traditional uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn, Dónal Lunny and Andy Irvine, formed Planxty (the name refers to a tune composed for a patron, particularly associated with O'Carolan). Their first eponymous album, known generally as the "Black Album" for it's cover art, stands as a landmark in Irish folk music, mixing authentic traditional music, with the fire of modern folk, and the ballad singing that the likes of the Dubliners and the Clancys were popularising. The harmonies and counterpoint of the group were relatively new to Irish music, which traditionally had been based on solo melodies. The singing of Moore and Irvine was backed by O'Flynn on uileann pipes and whistles, as well as guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and bodhran.
The group grew to huge status in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe, recorded two other albums in the next two years and then split up, with "The Planxty Collection" coming out as a good compilation of the first three albums. Personnel changes along the way included Johnny Moynihan replacing Donal Lunny in July of 1973 (Lunny guested on Cold Blow and the Rainy Night) and Paul Brady stepping in for Christy Moore in 1974.
Late in 1978, the original lineup reformed Planxty, and the band continued for another five years, though on a more low-key note, and with several additions and changes on their albums. One noted addition was Matt Molloy, flautist from the Bothy Band, and now with the Chieftains. Others included fiddlers James Kelly and Noelle Casey on Words & Music, and concertina/fiddle duet Noel Hill and Tony Linnane on The Woman I Loved So Well. Bill Whelan, plays keyboards on both albums, and was also on Prosperous (yes, the same Bill Whelan who created Riverdance). In the end, Christy Moore and Donal Lunny left to concentrate on Moving Hearts and Planxty broke up for the second and final time.
One other postscript to the group, and another link with Bill Whelan and Riverdance: in 1981, Planxty performed a Bill Whelan arrangement called Timedance as the intermission piece during the Eurovision song contest, held that year in Ireland, and later released it as a single. Fourteen years later, Bill Whelan was back doing the intermission piece for another Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, with a piece that lauched the Irish dancing revolution: Riverdance.
Albums 1972 Planxty Polydor 2383186 Shanachie 79009 1973 The well below the valley Polydor 2383232 Shanachie 79010 1974 Cold blow and the rainy night Polydor 2383301 Shanachie 79011 1976 The Planxty collection Polydor 2389397 Shanachie 79012 1979 After the break Tara 3001 1980 The woman I loved so well Tara 3005 1982 Words & Music WEA Ireland 2401011 Shanachie 79035 1984 Aris! Polydor 815 229-1 Singles 1972 Three drunken maidens EMI 1972 The cliffs of Doneen Polydor 1981? Timedance/Nancy spain [12"] WEA IR28207The Polydor and WEA Ireland releases appear to be out of print now.
Side One: The Kid On The Mountain/An Phis Fhliuch Arthur McBride The Old Torn Petticoat/Dublin Reel/Wind that shakes the Barley Yarmouth Town Johnny Cope Only Our Rivers Side Two: Dogs Among the Bushes/Jenny's Wedding Cliffs Of Dooneen Si Bheag Si Mhor Fisherman's Lilt/Cronin's Hornpipe The Well Below The ValleyA more detailed discography, with full track and musicians listings has been compiled by Peter Cassidy as part of his Christy Moore pages.
CD Universe sells all of their albums online and has Real Audio sound samples for several.
Copyright (c) 1997 Ceolas.