Bear’s Sonic Journals: The Foxhunt, The Chieftains Live In San Francisco 1973 & 1976

Los Angeles – August 30, 2022 – Following last year’s relaunch of Claddagh Records, through the signing of a worldwide licensing agreement with Universal Music Ireland, and the flagship release Chronicles: 60 Year of The Chieftains, comes another singular release: Bear’s Sonic Journals: The Foxhunt, The Chieftains Live in San Francisco 1973 & 1976.

This never-released-before project from The Owsley Stanley Foundation and Claddagh Records is the last ever by the legendary member of The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney. It will be released worldwide September 16th on 1LP, 2CD and digital platforms via Claddagh Records/UMe. Pre-order here.

Bear’s Sonic Journals: The Foxhunt, The Chieftains Live in San Francisco 1973 & 1976 was recorded live by legendary soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley, at Boarding House on October 1st, 1973, where The Chieftains appeared at the personal invitation of The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. Owsley Stanley, known as Bear to his friends, was a diversely talented, iconic figure of the 1960s. While perhaps most widely known as the ‘Acid King’ for his early role manufacturing the highest quality LSD to help fuel the psychedelic revolution of the ‘60s, he was a self-educated innovator, scientist, artist, and patron of the arts with wide-ranging interests. As such, he had a profound and well-documented influence on other artists, musicians, and sound engineers, among others.

Bear started recording when he was the soundman for the Grateful Dead so he could develop his technique, evaluate his equipment, and fine-tune his mic arrangements. He called these recordings his ‘Sonic Journals’ and they helped to improve his approach to live concert sound.

Bear’s Sonic Journals: The Foxhunt, The Chieftains Live in San Francisco 1973 & 1976 is one of these ‘Sonic Journals,’ which are lovingly maintained by The Owsley Stanley Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Owsley’s archive of more than 1,300 live concert soundboard recordings from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including recordings by Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, and more than 80 other artists across nearly every musical idiom.

Hawk Semins of The Owsley Stanley Foundation says: “Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead’s lead guitarist, was playing banjo in the rollicking bluegrass band Old & In The Way, and after Jerry appeared with The Chieftains on Tom “Big Daddy” Donahue’s radio show on KSAN, he wanted them to open for him. During the KSAN broadcast, Jerry explained the influence of Irish traditional music on American country and bluegrass music, saying that “the nature of the songs is like what the fathers of country and western music, American music, grew up singing.”

“Perhaps, Jerry was also resonating with his own heritage when he invited The Chieftains to open for Old & In The Way— after all, his grandfather William Clifford was Irish American. In any event, when Jerry brought these two bands together onstage, he was reuniting two musical traditions separated by an ocean and centuries of migration: bluegrass and its Irish progenitor.”

You can actually hear exactly what Jerry had in mind by listening to this recording of The Chieftains at the Boarding House, recorded that night by Owsley “Bear” Stanley.”

The project features art by the young, celebrated Irish painter Conor Campbell, and contains extensive sleeve notes from the members of the Owsley Stanley Foundation and legendary bluegrass musician, Ricky Skaggs; this live album is a true piece of music history and revolutionary innovation in live music recording.

The 2CD also features bonus material of the last interview Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains ever gave before his passing in 2021 and a history of Irish roots in Bluegrass music by Jerry Garcia.

Claddagh Records was set up in 1959 by the Hon. Garech Browne (19) and his friend, Ivor Browne, both students of Leo Rowsome, one of Ireland’s leading uilleann pipers. Their efforts to interest the Established international record companies in recording a long-playing record of Rowsome’s music met with little enthusiasm. And so, the two young men set about establishing a record company that would record traditional Irish music, poetry and the spoken word. The following year Claddagh Records was born when Leo Rowsome’s “Rí na bPíobairí (King of Pipers)” was released. The Chieftains recorded their first album on the label in 1964. Other artists that recorded on the label included Tommie Potts, Willie Clancy, Seamus Ennis, Liam O’Flynn and Sean O’Riada. Spoken word albums with Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett, Austin Clarke, John Montague, Thomas Kinsella and Seamus Heaney were also released on Claddagh.
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Disc One: The Boarding House, October 1, 1973
1. Drowsy Maggie
2. Band Introductions
3. Morgan Magan
4. Carrickfergus (Do Bhí Bean Uasal)
5. The Morning Dew
6. Lord Inchiquin
7. An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach (The Munster Cloak)
8. The Foxhunt
9. Mná na hÉireann (The Women of Ireland)
10. Carolan’s Concerto
11. Kerry Slides
12. Opening Medley: Strike the Gay Harp/The March of the King of Laois/The Lady on the Island/The Sailor on the Rock
13. Lord Inchiquin
14. An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach (The Munster Cloak)
15. Kerry Slides
16. Samhradh, Samhradh (Summertime, Summertime)
17. The Foxhunt
18. George Brabazon

Disc Two: Great American Music Hall, May 5th, 1976
1. Golden Gate Medley: Seán Chuilfhionn /Clare Reel/ Róisín Dubh/John O’Connor/Golden Gate Slides/Steam Packet Selections (reels)/Pretty Girls Reel
2. Timpán Reel
3. Marbhna Luimnigh (Limerick’s Lamentation)
4. O’Keefe’s Slide/Round the House and Mind the Dresser
5. Ceol Bhriotánach (Breton Music) (4 pieces)
6. Humours of Carolan: Planxty Maguire/Charles O’Conor/Carolan’s Farewell to Music/SíBeag, Sí Mhór (Small Fairy Mound, Big Fairy Mound)/Bumper Squire Jones/Planxty Johnston
7. Introduction to the Battle of Aughrim
8. Battle of Aughrim
9. The Morning Dew
10. Mná na hÉireann (The Women of Ireland)
11. Kerry Slides
12. Tabhair dom do Lámh (Give Me Your Hand)
13. Ríl Mhór Bhaile an Chalaidh (Great Reel of Baile an Chalaidh)

The Boarding House, October 1, 1973

Side One
1. Drowsy Maggie
2. Band Introductions
3. Morgan Magan
4. Carrickfergus (Do Bhí Bean Uasal)
5. The Morning Dew
6. Lord Inchiquin

Side Two
1. An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach (The Munster Cloak)
2. The Foxhunt
3. Mná na hÉireann (The Women of Ireland)
4. Carolan’s Concerto
5. Kerry Slides