The Dylan Nobody Knows: The Clancy Brothers / Restless Farewell

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

In the video below Dylan explores for a moment his admiration for traditional Irish music, and this is followed by Liam Clancy telling a story of meeting Bob and going to the White Horse Tavern, which then introduces a version of The Parting Glass followed by the best cover of Restless Farewell ever.

In case you don’t know them, the Clancy Brothers were an incredibly influential Irish folk music ensemble who came to widespread notice and acclaim in the 1960s, taking Irish traditional music in America.  If you are interested in the music that influenced Bob Dylan in the early days, they should most certainly be part of your study.

They were rather oddly known for wearing Aran jumpers – something they complained about as their fame grew, wishing they’d never started wearing clothes that became unbearable under the TV lighting of the era, which threw out a huge amount of heat.  But that was their costume, and they were stuck with it.

They were, in fact, the ensemble that prepared the way for many other Irish groups, most notably the Dubliners.

Unlike some other “brother” ensembles The Clancy Brothers did include three brothers, Paddy, Tom and Liam, along with Tommy Makem, although the ensemble changed over time as Bobby Clancy also joined the group.  Paddy died in 1998.

They worked particularly with traditional Irish ballads, sea shanties and other traditional songs.  Here Restless Farewell, after an introduction from Bob.

Liam also recorded a version in the studio with his son Donal singing

This is Dylan’s cover of the Clancy Brothers own Eileen Aroon

And The Clancy’s own version

Other articles in the Dylan Nobody Knows series

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The index to all the 603 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

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One comment

  1. Restless Farewell is one of my very favourites. Such a beauty in Liam Clancy´s rendition! Eileen Aroon is a way back in time for me… Many thanks Aaron and Tony

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