June 2022 update: 13, nearly 14 years on from when this item originally appeared, I have finally got round to adding the song I most easily associate with the Grehan Sisters, Cricklewood. There was something irresistable about the Grehan Sisters, three Irish siblings who'd crossed the Irish Sea to live, not in Cricklewood (a part of n0rth-west London where the Irish often put down roots) but in Manchester.
There was nothing sophisticated about the Grehans. But their performances, spanning the last six years of the 1960s, had a sense of exuberant abandon perfectly suited to the age. They were instantly likeable while also seeming fiesty - long, it feels now, before that over-used word started to be applied to strong women) and just a little bit wild. The eldest sister Marie (on the right in the photo) died in 2020 aged around 75. I am not sure how Francie and Bernie are doing ....
PS: maybe the sisters weren’t remotely wild after all - see Dave Eyre’s second comment, just added
Image: Tony Rees
Dave Eyre , whose programme Thank Goodness It's Folk broadcasts to Britain's fourth largest city each Friday 10am-noon on Sheffield Live! (93.2 FM), has added a great comment.....
So here's something to be going on with. This posting started out as an excuse to bring you a film clip from the 1960s, rediscovered in the 1990s, which is described as a sort of uncompleted Irish Spaghetti Western, a musical that fell foul of financial constraints.
Its appearance here was inspired by a rekindled Mudcat thread about the Grehan Sisters. Fondly remembered from the folk clubs of North-eastern England back in the late 1960s, they were seen singing** (though not, sadly, Cricklewood, which is the song of theirs that streams into the consciousness at any mention of their name) and also offering a burst of the trademark spoon-playing.
There was a lot more of the Dubliners, and some Johnny Moynihan, plus one or two others lost on me through lapses of memory or gaps in knowledge.
I did wonder whether the jailer's daughter who visited Ronnie Drew, sentenced to hang as a serial burglar, in hopes of springing him from his condemned cell, might be the girl from the Tinkers. But that was just a guess. It was good stuff. And it lasted 37 minutes. That gave me time to come up with some winner in a Maddy Prior-related competition ...... but now, four five years later, the clip is no more, as a reader (Jan 2013) points out.
In its place I have put the sisters singing The Lake of Coolfin. AT least I was at last able to correct the spelling of rediscovery, from resdiscovery, in the headline.
** not for the squeamish: remember, however, that it was entirely commonplace in those days, even in English folk clubs, for people to sing Irish rebel songs.
We were at the early stage of the Troubles, that is to say before bombs started going off in England, and the songs related to risings and individual episodes from history.