Below are some archival materials from the Teo Macero papers about the Clancys’ dispute with Columbia Records after Tommy Makem left the group (see my previous Part I post for more). After the folks at Columbia tried to get out of their contract with the Clancy Brothers, a settlement was worked out that led to the group’s final two albums at the end of their Columbia contract (Christmas and Flowers in the Valley). I thought it was interesting to see too that their recording sessions for these two simultaneously recorded albums lasted from 10:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night! I can certainly imagine that that might have affected their performances!
Apparently, these two albums didn’t sell well in the end and Columbia conclusively dropped the boys, although the Clancys clearly wanted to remain with Columbia even under unfavorable conditions. Could they have been afraid of another label not picking them up? Or did they simply want to stay with a big name, well-known studio?
I had long wondered whether Tommy Makem’s departure affected the Clancy Brother’s relationship with Columbia, but I thought that was unlikely because they still did two Columbia albums after Tommy left. These memos, however, explain why the final two albums were done, even though Tommy’s departure did indeed greatly affect the Clancys’ earlier contract (as we saw last post):
Memo from Richard Asher to Gold and Davis, July 1, 1969:
“Last Thursday, Mort Drosnes and I met with Jerry Campbell and Joe Muraskin, the manager and attorney respectively for the Clancy Brothers. As you know, the Clancy Brothers had challenged our right to terminate the recording contract with the group on the grounds that it was unreasonable for us not to approve the replacement of Tommy Makem by Bobby Clancy. In the course of conversation, it was pointed out to them that since Bobby Clancy had never performed in the U.S. and was not known here, obviously his replacement of Tommy Makem would cause apprehension on our part as to the result and that, unfortunately, the contract did not give us any moderating alternatives (i.e. we were forced to choose between continuing under the terms of the old deal or terminating).
“As you know, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem contract had approximately two more years to run during the course of which time we would have been required to record four albums and pay an additional $30,000 in advances.
“A tentative proposal was made (to be checked by both sides with their respective principals) as a settlement of the current dispute, which proposal involved the following:
“1. Bobby Clancy would replace Tommy Makem.
“2. The remaining period of the contract would be divided into two terms, the first lasting only until the expiration of the current contract year (February 1970) and the second being for one year from February 6, 1970.
“3. During the first term we would record with them the Christmas album we have been seeking and another album. Upon completion of each of these albums, we would pay them an advance of $7,500. The second term would be an option term and would take effect only if the option were exercised. If it did come into effect, they would record two albums and receive a $7,500 advance upon completion of each. The option was not to be wholly ours in that, depending on sales, there would be three general areas:
“a) A low sales area where the exercise of the option would be solely at our discretion;
“b) A medium sales area where, if we decide we wish to exercise our option, they could (despite this) terminate the agreement;
“c) A high sales area where the option would automatically be deemed exercised.
“The exact sales figures of these various contingencies were left for possible further discussion.
“It is recommended that we conclude a deal along the lines of the above mentioned proposal if the Clancy Brothers indicate a willingness to do so. The Legal Department advises that there is a question as to our right to terminate and, accordingly, we are trading a possible liability for $30,000 and the recording of four albums for a liability of $15,000 and the recording of two albums with the opportunity for more if things go well. Approval is sought below for us to proceed with an attempt to settle along the lines above indicated. If you approve, any suggestions you or any recipients of this memo (especially Bruce Lundvall) might make with regard to the sales guidelines for the option contingencies will be appreciated.”
Memos: recording dates for the Christmas and Irish [Flowers in the Valley] albums have been cancelled
A little note from “Johnnie” to “Teo” 7/14/69:
“Jack Gold says it’s okay to book time in London at the end of August to record one Christmas and one Irish album with the Clancy Brothers.”
Memo from Teo Macero to John Lemmermeyer, John Berg, Gil McKean, July 22, 1969:
“Please reinstate these two albums which will be recorded in London the last week in August.
“I have already requested Jerry Campbell to start work on the cover and liner notes.”
Memo from someone whose name I didn’t note: I have informed Pat Clancy by phone of the new recording dates.
Corinne Chertok, Teo Macero’s secretary, to Jerry Campbell, July 23, 1969: Sessions booked at Pye Recording Studios #2, London on August 11-15, from 10AM-10PM
Dennis Katz to DICK ASHER, Oct. 16, 1969, CBS Memorandum:
“Our settlement agreement with The Clancy Brothers provides that we will pay them an advance of $10,000, less union scale, per each album which they record for us between July 15, 1969 and February 5, 1970.”
Memo from Teo Macero to Jack Gold, April 2, 1970 [after the recording of the Clancy Brothers’ final two Columbia albums and Columbia’s apparent dropping of their option]:
“I have been informed by Jerry Campbell, Manager of the group, that they are most anxious to remain with Columbia Records.
“They request no special stipulations, no advance, no guarantee, just regular royalties and scale payments.”
There is apparently some uncertainty about this album (In Concert) on the board. Perhaps this info (as sparse as it is) from the Teo Macero Papers will help. At least we know when, where, and what was sung at this (most likely from March 18, 1967) Carnegie Hall concert. There was also a track/reel list from another Carnegie Hall concert from late the previous year (1966) that was included in the folder for “In Concert.” Some of the selections from that earlier concert were apparently being considered for release on the “In Concert” album.
For comparison’s sake, here are the songs that made it onto the final In Concert album:
1. Blackwater's Side
2. MacAlpine's Fusiliers
3. Winds Of Morning
4. Cockies Of Bungaree
5. William Bloat
6. Red Haired Mary
7. Master McGrath
8. Mick McGuire
9. Peggy Gordon
10. In This Windy Old Weather
11. March Medley: Boys From The County Cork/Let Erin Remember
These are most of the songs that the writer (Teo?) of the first handwritten song list below marked as “good.” It seems that the unused songs from the concert that came the closest to getting on the album (the other songs marked with an X) were: Lime Juice Tub [New South Wales], The Auld Triangle, and D-Day Dodgers. Since Master McGrath is marked “Splice” and this was supposedly a one-time, live concert, I wonder what it was spliced with? Also, since only the end of the March Medley was considered good, perhaps the original medley was much longer and only the last part of it was included in the album. Did anybody hear them do this medley live? At just over three minutes, it is very short for a “medley” as it is. Since In This Windy Old Weather was marked both “good” and “cut,” that song may also have been longer in the original recording but may have been cut down to a shorter length for the album (there are more verses to the song--about an oyster, dolphin, shark, etc.--but I don’t know if Tommy ever sang them).
As far as the possible use of studio takes on this album is concerned, there was nothing about that in Teo Macero’s papers at all (which doesn’t absolutely guarantee anything--it could just be an omission, though I think it’s unlikely). It seems more likely from his papers that the songs were at least primarily taken from the 1967 Carnegie Hall concert, with maybe MacAlpine’s Fusiliers (still likely a live recording) and parts of Master McGrath being an exception.
In my first “Behind the Scenes” thread, lordofthedance drew my attention to an earlier post where DOCSHADOW described his experiences at this concert. I’ll bump that thread so that everyone can read what he says (it’s toward the end of the thread). His descriptions of the songs that were done and when seem to be accurate, so I would say that this likely was the concert he was at. As one can see, the audience was very rowdy during the concert, especially in between songs while the boys were speaking. This would, of course, explain both why the stage banter was removed and why the applause was tampered with (provided the audience was acting up during the applause too, which sounds more than plausible from DOCSHADOW’s description). It is also possible that the splice in Master McGrath was merely to remove a shout from the audience or something like that. Sbc also on the “In Concert” thread that I’m bumping noted something odd for about four seconds in the recording of Master McGrath. Perhaps he found the part that was spliced. This could also be the reason why In This Windy Old Weather was likely edited.
Please keep in mind that, even though I haven’t posted about them yet, Teo’s files about the Clancy Brothers’ studio albums do in fact contain sheets about recording sessions (cost authorizations, takes lists and evaluations, final track lists with recording dates & locations for each song, etc.), and there is simply nothing like that for this album. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t tweak what was recorded at the concert. He doesn’t, sadly, include all that much information in his papers on how he tweaked albums (beyond an occasional splicing note), so an omission on that front probably doesn’t signify all that much. At any rate, I believe that the selections on the disc are largely what was heard live that night at Carnegie Hall, minus the talk and the shouts.
Unfortunately, there is no contextual info included about the earlier 1966 Carnegie concert, except the one track & reel list below. Apparently, this is the “other tape” that they were considering taking MacAlpine’s Fusiliers from for the “In Concert” album (as indicated below in the first list)--I wonder if MacAlpine was indeed taken from the 1966 concert instead of the 1967 one? It also seems that all four of the unnumbered songs at the bottom of the “In Concert” song list (that they were likely considering placing on the “In Concert” album) are from this 1966 concert. Can anyone provide any context for the unreleased November 1966 Carnegie Hall concert?
I find it hard to imagine that the Columbia people would have gone through the time and expense of recording the 1966 concert if they didn’t intend to do something with it. So, what happened that they didn’t release it (or at least selections from it) at the time? I suppose the boys or the Columbia folks may have objected to the release of this concert if they thought it inferior. Several (but not even close to all) of the 1966 concert selections ended up on the “Ain’t It Grand Boys” album from 1995. The relevant recordings from that CD sound fine to me for the most part. However, all but three are from the first reel--perhaps something happened in the later parts of the concert or to the second and third reels of the recording? Here’s a list of the 1966 Carnegie Hall concert selections that made it onto “Ain’t It Grand Boys” (according to clancybrothersandtommymakem.com):
Disc 1 (from reel 1 of the original recording):
8. Jolly Plough Boy
9. Courtin’ The Kitchen
10. Ain’t It Grand Boys (Isn’t It Grand Boys)
11. When We Were Under The King
12. Whiskey Is The Life Of Man
*13. Love Is Kind
14. The Holy Ground
*15. Carol Of The Birds (Curoo Curoo)
16. The Little Beggerman
Disc 2 (from reel 2 of the original recording):
13. Johnson’s Motor Car
14. The Patriot Game
15. Lord Nelson
* Songs that were likely considered but later rejected for release on the “In Concert” album
It is also interesting to note that decades before the “Ain’t It Grand Boys” album, someone at Columbia was already referring to the song “Isn’t It Grand Boys” as “Ain’t It Grand Boys.”
If possible, I would love it if Columbia would release the whole “In Concert” recording, as well as the entire 1966 Carnegie concert, like they did the ’62 & ’63 Carnegie concerts. There are enough different songs so that there shouldn’t be excessive overlap with the other Carnegie stuff. New things like Sam Hall, Lath Grove, and even Farewell to My Sorrow, which I think was only released on one of Tommy’s solo albums, would be especially great to hear, even if they are just digital/mp3 online releases. (Does anyone know about “Lath Grove”? Was this supposed to be “Ash Grove”??? After all the same person who typed that also typed “Jolly Blough Bow” for “Jolly Plough Boy”!)
Letter from Joseph I. Levine to Al Knopf, March 10, 1967:
“This is to advise you that we tentatively intend to record a live performance of our artists, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, at Carnegie Hall on March 18, 1967, at about 8:30 p.m.
Handwritten page, probably by Teo Macero (spelling mistakes are the original writer’s):
“Carnegie Hall Concert Clancy Bros.”
2 Galway City
3 23 June
X4 Blackwater’s Side Good
X5 Mac Alpine’s (check other tape)
X6 Winds of Morning Good
X7 Lime Juice Tub (No) [whole line crossed out in different ink]
X8 Cockies of Bungaree Good
9 Wild Colonial
X10 William Bloot [“A” written above the second o] Good
X11 Red-Haired Mary Good
12 Rocky Road
X13 March Medley Good at end [“at end” underlined three times]
14 Galway Races
X15 Master McGrath Good (Splice)
X16 Mick McGuire Good
X17 Peggy Gordon Good
X19 Ald [drawing of a triangle] ? [whole line crossed out]
X21 D Day Dodgers ? [whole line crossed out]
X22 Windy Old Weather Good (Cut)”
[unnumbered songs at bottom of sheet; apparently from the 1966 Carnegie Hall concert]
“Dirty Old Town Good
Carol of the Bird Good
Love is Kind Good
A list of songs from the concert that appears to be in Tommy Makem’s handwriting:
Includes all the numbered 1-22 songs above, plus at the end:
Isn’t It Grand
Jug of Punch
Carnegie Hall, 11/5/66
Producer David Rubinson
[all spelling/punctuation mistakes in original document]
“1 Jolly Blough Bow
2 Courtin’ in the Kitchen
3 Ain’t It Grand Boys
4 Lath Grove
5 Good Old Colony Days
6 Whisky is the Life of Man
7 Blood Red Rose
8 Love is Kind
9 Holy Ground
10 Carol of the Birds
11 Beggar Man
12 Travellin People
1 Navy Boots
2 Mack Alpine
3 Farewell to my Sorrows
4 The Rising of the Moon
5 Freedom’s Sons
6 Doctor Johnson’s Motor Car
7 Patriot Game
8 Lord Nelson
9 D Day Dodgers
10 Will Ya Go Lassie Go
11 Reilly’s Daughter
12 Dirty Old Town
14 William Blot
15. Nancy Whisky
1. Sam Hall
2. Whistling Gypsy
3. Wild Rover
4. Galway Bay
5. Breman on the Moor
6. The Parting Glass”
[Edited by RMM on 18-Mar-11 22:23]
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