Across the ‘60’s I’d heard The Clancy Brothers, John Reilly, The Dubliners, Luke Kelly solo, and then I began to be influenced by the British folk revival. I heard Sweeney’s Men, Moynihan and Irvine, Mick Moloney, and I was drawn back by the kind of music that was coming from the island.
Having failed my Transatlantic audition I returned once more to the producer Bill Leader who had begun releasing albums on his two record labels, ‘Trailer‘ and ‘Leader’. He liked my idea of going to Ireland to record with musicians I had long admired. In July 1970 Bill arrived in Prosperous, Co. Kildare where I had been rehearsing with Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O’Flynn. We recorded work that was subsequently released as
We loved what we heard and agreed to re-converge the following year and try forming a band. The band commenced on Monday, 3 January 1972 with a residency at The Mug’s Gig held upstairs in Slattery’s of Capel St., Dublin. For a short while we went under our four names and we briefly were called “CLAD” but then settled on “Planxty”. Our first Planxty tour began at the M.S.G Manchester on April 22nd 1972, which was also the first time that Nicky Ryan ever did our sound. Planxty were on the road.
Over the next two years Planxty continued to tour and became very popular. We recorded three albums; ‘Planxty’, ‘The Well Below The Valley’ and ‘Cold Blow The Rainy Night’. Donal left in ’74 and I followed in ’75. Back solo again.
Looking back I was fortunate to come through these years intact. My work was poor and the sort of gigs I was doing were not memorable. I did a German tour in March 1977, which was a particular low point both personally and musically. The rock bottom of my musical life was Club Stubo, Bremen, Germany on 5th March 1977. The promoter was one mean bastard, God bless him.
In 1978 I made my first visit to Long Kesh Prison. Planxty reformed and began to rehearse for the ‘After The Break’ album. The original four members were augmented by Matt Molloy. In January 1979 we began to rehearse for our longest tour. It commenced in The Hammersmith Odeon, London on Saturday, April 15th and finished in The Stadium, Dublin on Monday 11th June. We performed 54 concerts in 8 countries and arrived home pretty wrecked. Financially we would have made a lot more money had we just played the first date in London and the last date in Dublin. There were some good moments on the tour but for me personally it was a very difficult time and the tour was very badly organized. I was playing solo again
I’d learned a lesson in the early ‘70’s. The first time I left Planxty I had no solo career to return to and I vowed never to become entirely immersed in a band again.