Planxty were an Irish folk music band formed in January 1972,: 99–100 consisting initially of Christy Moore (vocals, acoustic guitar, bodhrán), Andy Irvine (vocals, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, harmonica), Dónal Lunny (bouzouki, guitars, bodhrán, keyboards), and Liam O’Flynn (uilleann pipes, tin whistle). They transformed and popularized Irish folk music, touring and recording to great acclaim.
Subsequently, Johnny Moynihan, Paul Brady, Matt Molloy (flute), Bill Whelan (keyboards), Nollaig Casey (fiddle) and, briefly, Noel Hill (concertina) and Tony Linnane (fiddle) were also temporary members.
Planxty broke up twice, first in December 1975 and again in April 1983. The original quartet reunited in October 2003 and their final performance was on 31 January 2005. (wikipedia)
Along with groups like the Bothy Band, Planxty helped to usher in a new era for modern Celtic music. While their sound remained rooted to traditional music, the band’s virtuosic musicianship and high-energy delivery reflected modern influences, while their unique vocal harmonies and instrumental counterpoint were unprecedented in Irish music.
The founding members of Planxty — Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, and Andy Irvine — initially came together to provide instrumental accompaniment for Irish singer/songwriter Christy Moore’s 1973 album, Prosperous. The sessions proved so inspiring that the musicians agreed to continue working together. With the release of their debut single, “Cliffs of Dooneen,” the new band attracted international attention. An equally memorable, self-titled album, affectionately known as the “Black Album,” followed shortly afterwards.
Despite its success, Planxty was plagued by a series of personnel changes. Following the release of the band’s second album, The Well Below the Valley, Lunny departed for the Bothy Band and was replaced by Johnny Moynihan, who had previously played with Irvine in Sweeney’s Men. Moore followed after the release of the band’s third album, Cold Blow and the Rainy Night to resume his solo career, and was replaced by singer/songwriter Paul Brady. The loss of Moore and Lunny was devastating and, shortly after releasing their fifth album, The Woman I Loved So Well, Planxty disbanded in 1981.
The seeds for Planxty’s resurrection were planted in late 1983. In addition to the original members, the re-formed group featured ex-Bothy Band and future Chieftains flute player Matt Molloy and keyboardist and future Riverdance producer Bill Whelan. Fiddlers James Kelly and Noelle Casey were added for the first album by the reunited group, Words & Music. The renewed energy petered out quickly. By 1983, Lunny and Moore had gone off to form a more electric trad-rock group, Moving Hearts. (Craig Harris)
“Planxty” was a word used by people who named works by harper Turlough O’Carolan after his death, and is believed to denote a tribute to a particular person: “Planxty Irwin,” for example, would be in honour of Colonel John Irwin of Sligo. “Planxty” is thought to be a corruption of the Irish word and popular toast “sláinte”, meaning “good health.” Another possible explanation is that it is derived from the Latin planctus, a medieval lament composed in honour of a deceased person or a tragic event.
Regardless of its origin, the moniker, which replaced the provisional “CLAD” (Christy – Liam – Andy – Dónal), turned out to be a good fit, as O’Carolan’s music would play an important part in the band’s repertoire.
A formative influence on Planxty, and in particular on Moore, was the singing of Irish Traveller John “Jacko” Reilly who hailed from Boyle, Co. Roscommon. It was from Reilly that Moore learned “Raggle Taggle Gypsy”, which was recorded for the first Planxty album, in addition to “The Well Below the Valley,” which appeared on The Well Below the Valley. Moore later dipped into Reilly’s songbook again for an updated version of the lengthy ballad “Lord Baker,” which was featured on Planxty’s 1983 album Words & Music. (“Baker” appears to be a mondegreen for the “Beichan” of earlier versions.) Reilly died in 1969 at the age of 44, shortly after being found beneath his coats in the top room of his dwelling in Boyle by Tom Munnelly, who had originally collected his songs for archiving.
The music of Turlough O’Carolan appeared on a number of Planxty albums (including the B-side of their very first single), played by O’Flynn on the pipes. Much of this music first came to the attention of the band through the work of seminal Irish composer Seán Ó Riada and his group Ceoltóirí Chualann.
“The Woman I Loved So Well” is the fifth studio album by the Irish folk band, originally released in 1980. The album features eight musicians, more than any other Planxty album. The core line-up of Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O’Flynn are joined again by flautist Matt Molloy, who had left the band shortly after the release of ‘After the Break’ (1979) to join The Chieftains full-time. Newcomer Bill Whelan joined the group in the studio to play keyboards, as did the concertina/fiddle duo of Noel Hill and Tony Linnane, who completed a short tour of Ireland with the group prior to the recording.Fifth studio album by the Irish folk band, originally released in 1980. The album features eight musicians, more than any other Planxty album. The core line-up of Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O’Flynn are joined again by flautist Matt Molloy, who had left the band shortly after the release of ‘After the Break’ (1979) to join The Chieftains full-time. Newcomer Bill Whelan joined the group in the studio to play keyboards, as did the concertina/fiddle duo of Noel Hill and Tony Linnane, who completed a short tour of Ireland with the group prior to the recording. (claddaghrecords.com)
The Woman I Loved so Well , an album I first heard in the 80’s, remains unforgettable for me. Personally, this Planxty album is beautiful and magnificent and when I listen to it again today in 2016 I am happy and amazed to see that Irish music remains a great love for me and one that has never faded. I recommend this album without hesitation to anyone who loves Ireland. (Andrianaan)
Stirring stuff from the masters of Irish folk. A collection of stirring songs and tunes including Kellswater and Johnny of Brady’s Lea. An essential for any enthusiast – this is how it should be done. (H. Lindsay)
Andy Irvine (bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, vocals)
Donal Lunny (bouzouki, guitar, synthesiser)
Christy Moore (guitar, bodhran, vocals)
Liam O’Flynn (uilleann pipes, whistle)
Noel Hill (concertina)
Tony Linnane (fiddle)
Matt Molloy (flute)
Bill Whelan (keyboards)
01. True Love Knows No Season (Blake) 5.31
02. Out On The Ocean (Tierney’s) (Irvine/Lunny/Moore/O’Flynn) 3.21
03. Roger O’Hare (Irvine/Lunny/Moore/O’Flynn) 5.34
04. The Tailor’s Twist (Traditional) 3.14
05. Kellswater (Irvine/Lunny/Moore/O’Flynn) 5.00
06. Johnny Of Brady’s Lea (Irvine/Moore/O’Flynn) 6.32
07. The Woman I Never Forgot (Irvine/Lunny/Moore/O’Flynn) 4.21
08. Little Musgrave (Irvine/Lunny/Moore/O’Flynn) 11.30
A Planxty website by Andy Irvine: