Connoisseurs of the folk world will already be familiar with the group Planxty, mostly from the incredible fanfares that have preceded them from Eire, and also their various concert appearances in this country. In Ireland the word "supergroup" has been re-adapted to describe them, and reviews during their tours have to be seen to be believed.
Planxty's first British concert was as part of the Fanfare for Europe in January 1973, attended by the Prime Minister, and an unqualified success. This was followed in February by an extensive British College tour and release in Britain of their first LP "Planxty". Happily both were very well received and in the following months Planxty's reputation went from strength to strength. Their schedule was kept very full including German, Dutch, French and Swiss dates as well as their Irish and British itineraries.
In 1974 Planxty appeared at the Edinburgh Festival for three weeks in August and early September. They played the music for Finn MacCool, a play about a mythical figure. The play was not too well received by the critics, but significantly the music received a great amount of praise. Whilst in Edinburgh Planxty also played a few concerts.
In September Planxty were guests on The Old Grey Whistle Test and this was their first national television appearance. In the Autumn, Planxty's third album was released. Produced by Phil Coulter at Sarm Studios, the album is entitled "Cold Blow And The Rainy Night" and is regarded by the group as a musical progression.
This is a group made up of successful solo performers. Musically there is a massive potential.
JOHNNY MOYNIHAN ran a Folk Music Society in University College Dublin for a while, realised an architectural career was not for him and went on the road. Alongside a general interest in classical jazz and rock music his early traditional influences included Joe Heany, Maggie Barry, Willie Clancy, Martin Burns and on the urban scene - Ronnie Drew, Andy Irvine and Luke Kelly. His association with Andy Irvine led to his inclusion in Sweeney's Men when Andy and Joe Dolan formed that group in 1966. Described as a seminal influence on the folk scene, the Group continued through various changes (one with rock guitarist Henry McCullough) until late '69 when Johnny went off to lead a quieter life doing occasional gigs with Andy Briggs. All of this took place in Ireland and England with occasional trips to the continent, but for the past few years, Johnny has been based in his native Dublin. When Dónal Lunny left Planxty in late '73 Johnny was an obvious choice to replace him. As well as singing and playing bouzouki and whistle he has been known to chance his arm at the fiddle and the harmonium.
LIAM O'FLYNN at the age of twenty-six is one of Ireland's leading Uilleann Pipers. He has won the first prize at The Oireachtas Piping Competition on three occasions and was all Ireland Champion at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. He started learning the pipes first from Leo Rowsome, the noted piper and pipe maker, at the College Of Music in Dublin at the age of twelve years. Since then he has heard much of his music from such noted pipers as Willie Clancy and Sheamus Ennis and other well-known traditional musicians. Liam comes from Kill, Co. Kildare and started playing the tin whistle at the age of six years. He has played many times on the radio and has appeared regularly on traditional music programmes for television. Last year he spent six months in the U.S.A. touring with the singer-songwriter Patrick Sky.
ANDY IRVINE became interested in Folk music through listening to Woody Guthrie at the end of the 1950s. He travelled with Jack Elliot and Derrol Adams, and switched from Classical to Folk guitar and Mandolin. He played a part in the Dublin folk revival together with Ronnie Drew, Johnny Moyniham etc., After returning from a spell in Copenhagen, formed a group in Galway which became "Sweeney's Men". The group made two hit singles and an L.P. record before parting company in 1968. He travelled to Eastern Europe where he stayed for more than a year writing songs and busking. After a TV show in Yugoslavia and some radio in Romania and Germany he returned in 1969 to pursue a solo career in Dublin. He plays Mandolin, Guitar, Portuguese Guitarra and Harmonica. Christie [sic] Moore asked him to play for his second L.P. recording along with Dónal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn and things worked out so well, that at Christie's [sic] suggestion they formed a group. He has appeared on TV in Germany, Ireland, England, Denmark and Yugoslavia.
PAUL BRADY originally from Strabane, Co. Tyrone, began his musical career in 1964- playing semi-professionally in a rock-n-roll band in Dublin when he was studying for his BA in Gaelic. He gave up his studies to join an Irish group the Johnstones. He toured for the past ten years with that group in Britain, Europe and America, writing and recording many songs. He has played informally with members of Planxty for some years and he returned from the USA (where he had been living for two years) to join Planxty in July of last year. He plays a variety of stringed and keyboard instruments but favours the guitar as his main instrument.