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Interview with Gerry Timlin Podcast

Remembering The Bard of Armagh

 by Chris Poh

"Let it flow outta ya as it's been flowin' inta ya for the last couple a hours!"

                                                                                       - Tommy Makem
(Tommy's signature appeal for audience sing-along participation)

The Shanachie Pub and Restaurant in Ambler, PA as seen in PartingGlasssMedia.com
The Shanachie Pub and Restaurant in Ambler, Pennsylvania

My good friend Gerry Timlin remembers first listening to the 1963 recording of THE CLANCY BROTHERS AND TOMMY MAKEM IN PERSON AT CARNEGIE HALL on something called the “Elizabethan Pop 10” phonograph at his home in Coalisland, County Tyrone, Ireland. Although there seems to be scant photographic evidence as to the existence of this particular machine, I was able to locate a picture of the ultra modern “Astronaut” model by the same manufacturer. And one aficionado in the field of home audio did recall the efficient “Elizabethan Pop 10,” boasting that it came fully equipped with a Garrard Autoslim deck and a valve amp.

Elizabethan LTD. "Astronaut" record player as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Elizabethan LTD "Astronaut" Record Player
A postage stamp with the image of Tommy Makem & The Clancy Brothers as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
An Irish Postage Stamp

As for me, my earliest memories of Tommy Makem and the Clancy brothers sprang from social gatherings during the early 1970s at the home of my brother-in-law Jim’s parents, May and Phil Clarke. The family would celebrate and indulge their Irish heritage with great frequency. And I, having little prior knowledge of my own lineage or ancestry decided to adopt the ways of Erin - especially the music, the melancholy, the mischief and the mash.

The bar at Shanachie in Ambler, PA as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
The Bar in The Shanachie Pub and Restaurant

During the last four decades I’ve spent a good bit of time in Irish Taverns, and while ensconced in those sessions I’ve experienced some remarkable Celtic music. The level of musicianship has excelled over the years, and yet there is still nothing sweeter than hearing the harmonies of Paddy, Tom and Liam Clancy with Tommy Makem on ballads such as Carrickfergus or Will You Go Lassie Go. Those glorious incantations resonate like a soft rain on a spring morning. Unfortunately, the music world and the Irish community lost Tommy Makem on August 1st, 2007.

Dinning room at the Shanachie in Ambler, PA as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Sit down and enjoy some Irish fare

Instruments at The Shanachie in Ambler, PA as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Music is always on the menu

Interview with Gerry Timlin Podcast

The taps at Shanachie in Ambler, Pa as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
And there is a great selection of brews

On a recent afternoon while enjoying an unhurried pint at The Shanachie, I spoke at length with Gerry Timlin about his longstanding personal and professional relationship with The Bard of Armagh. Gerry recounted stories that exemplified the marvelous wit and generous nature of Tommy Makem. They had last performed together at the University of Notre Dame in September of 2006, and these two old friends shared their parting words the day before Tommy passed away.

Gerry Timlin and Tommy Makem as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Gerry Timlin (left) and Tommy Makem together in concert

Just as these sad recollections were about to bring on a case of Gaelic melancholia, it occurred to me that I was in the presence of a man who not only was the proprietor of this very pleasant Irish pub; but who, by way of his own talents, could spin a yarn and sing a traditional tune as well as his fallen comrade. Now if only I could convince Mr. Timlin to wear a white Irish-knit Aran sweater all would be right with the world! 

Shanachie Pub and Restaurant in Ambler, PA as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
We will miss you!

Interview with Gerry Timlin Podcast

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