Remembered both for his work in Planxty and Moving Hearts and as a solo artist, Christy Moore remains one of Ireland’s most socially conscious writers and performers. He was born today in 1945.
Singer-songwriter Christy Moore was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. Leaving school and finding employment in the National Bank, Christy’s yearnings to become a full-time musician were aided by prolonged industrial action within that industry in 1966.
Taking the chance visit England and play live in bars and folk clubs, Moore moved to London and worked on as a labourer on building sites. A meeting with writer Dominic Behan at a benefit gig in 1968 would result in the recording of Christy’s debut album, “Paddy On The Road” the following year, Moore terming himself “the apprentice Paddy folkie greenhorn” at that time.
A rather more representative effort, “Prosperous” followed in 1970, recorded back in Ireland with a cast of contemporary folk including Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn (rather than the drinking pals from London Jazz clubs that had contribute to, “Paddy….”) And that trio would soon join Christy in forming Planxty, a band famed for refashioning traditional Irish music with a contemporary edge and energetic delivery.
Remaining with the band for a manic period of touring and recording, Moore followed Donal Lunny in exiting and returned in 1975 with “Whatever Tickles Your Fancy”. Subsequent solo releases would see Christy embrace more politicised material, including support for the IRA “H” Block hunger strikers protest. Meanwhile a further burst of activity for the original Planxty lineup would bring two more albums.
A further collaboration with Donal Lunny saw the establishment of Moving Hearts, who attempted to inject elements of jazz and rock into Celtic music – soon aided in their task by the addition of Declan Sinnott from Horslips, a band who had earlier trodden a similar path. Further musicians joined and Moore remained on board for two albums before quitting, having strained his voice to the point where surgery was needed.
Since then Christy has worked as a solo artist, releasing a string of studio and live recordings and establishing himself as a concert favourite. Alcohol-related issues and a heart condition saw Moore scale down his commitments in the late 1990s and even announce his retirement from performing. Thankfully though 2012 finds him back on stage with his regular playing partner, Declan Sinnott.
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And here’s some footage of Christy in action: