I must have seen him perform 20 times - in the Makem and Clancy years of his life, when I lived in New Hampshire as Tommy did. I'm ashamed to say that I have hung out in circles where Tommy was not considered authentic enough. I'm actually too young to remember the Clancy Brothers, and I never had much patience with those purist. Yes, the Weavers and the Clancy Brothers brought folk music to people who were not devotees of NH"s Grammy Fish and the others who made the pc cut. But they brought me music and joy and sorrow.
There has been nothing in my life as sad and as stirring as Tommy singing "Four Green Fields". I remember Liam introducing it, explaining that many thought of it as a folksong. Tommy wrote it in NYC in 1967. I can still feel the chills up my back as I stood and bowed my head to listen. I must have stood there 20 times. I only wish I could do it again.
I will sing it alone here in Alaska in Tommy's honor, with gratitude.