It really was a magical night of music, song and story-telling tonight at the Millennium Forum in Derry. The Furey’s might be on the music scene for 40 years, but like a fine wine, they really are getting better with age.
As a regular contributor to Irish Music Magazine, I’ve seen many Irish trad and folk bands from all over the world, but this being my first visit to The Furey’s, it really was magical in every possible musical way.
The Fureys’ timeless catalogue is studded with enduring classics that audiences know and love, including I Will Love You, When You Were Sweet 16, The Green Fields Of France, The Old Man, Red Rose Café, From Clare To Here, Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway and Leaving Nancy.
Earlier tonight they sang these alongside a number of new songs from the new album. One of those new ones in particular stood out for me (and my sister). Written by a Donegal man (legend) The Day Will Come just resonates in the contemporary world. It’s about the pollution and other issues we have today and how the day really will come when we will see the disaster we’re creating right here on earth.
But this music from these guys is just timeless. I was swaying from beginning to end. I’m very much NOT a singer, but I even sang earlier. One just couldn’t help it. There’s just something special when you hear ‘The Green Fields of France’ and that tale of the futility of war and Wille McBride. Even more special when sung by The Fureys. And I just love ‘The Streets of London’ which always reminds me of my student days.
These guys have enjoyed standing ovations in concert halls all over the world for their performances, from Dublin’s National Concert Hall to the Sydney Opera House. They’ve played in front of Irish Presidents and international leaders that have included the late Pope John Paul.
The enduring legacy of The Fureys goes right back to the 1960s when
Eddie Furey travelled to Scotland at the time of the great folk revival, where he met and shared accommodation in Edinburgh with then unknown folk singers Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and Alex Campbell. He told us the story tonight about how this meeting and living arrangements came about. It was these stories that really did win me over tonight. In 1969 the world stage beckoned as Eddie and Finbar Furey joined the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem as special guests on their tour of the USA and Canada.
Changes have of course taken place over the years. Paul Furey died suddenly in June 2002 and Finbar left the band in December 1996, however George and Eddie have continued to front The Fureys and delight audiences on their extensive national and international sold-out tours. And they did just that to a very grateful Derry audience tonight.
40 Years On… to be continued is the album by The Fureys and celebrating the band’s incredible legacy and current anniversary tour. As George said tonight, “we ain’t done yet.” Hearing those new compilations earlier has me convinced these guys have a lot more to give musically yet.
Superb night of music from beginning to end.