The Fureys To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
56 messages

The Fureys

25 Nov 02 - 10:05 PM (#835062)
Subject: The Fureys
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

I have just bought their CD today "The Fureys & Davey Arthur-Alcoholidays", I am listening to it now it is exellent, has anyone else heard them? If not I would reccomend you do.

25 Nov 02 - 11:14 PM (#835117)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: toadfrog

Afraid I didn't know about the Fureys. Am I ignorant? If not, can you let us know what they do, and where they are found?

25 Nov 02 - 11:21 PM (#835122)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

heloo toadman, they are an irish band and they play traditional irish stuff, i don't know if they have goy a website but i will have a look.

25 Nov 02 - 11:32 PM (#835129)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Big Mick

They are one of the oldest of the Irish folk revival bands. Finbar Furey is a wonderful piper, and whistle player, as well as a singer. They have songbook available. Do a google search on "Furey Brothers" or "Furey Brothers and Davey Arthur". You will get a ton of hits.

All the best,


28 Nov 02 - 02:57 AM (#836283)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Hrothgar

Lovely musicians, but somtimes I wonder if they have a good feel for the lyrics of a song. Some of the things they sing aren't as good as the originals for this reason.

But lovely musicians!

28 Nov 02 - 03:34 AM (#836294)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Roger the Skiffler

I saw them in Windsor (UK) on Sunday. Paul is dead, Finbar went solo, only George (guitar, vocals) and Eddie (guitar, mandolin, bodhran, vocals)Furey, with Derek (forgot his surname)from the Barleycorns on guitar, bass and tenor vocals (best singer of the three IMHO)and a splendid young box player and a very good tenor banjo & mandolinist(didn't catch their names).
Apart from the instrumentals they played mainly popular songs and 60's songs (all written "by our good friend....") rather than Irish folk songs.
Also a couple of good jokes I'll recycle sometime!
It was a good evening but more like going to a local dance than to a folk session.

(but what do I know?)

28 Nov 02 - 04:31 AM (#836308)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Ian

Their father was a great fiddle player and released several records of mainly traditional tunes. Early records by Finbar and Eddie were more trad based.

28 Nov 02 - 06:06 AM (#836365)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: barrygeo

The Fureys are a musical family from Dublin, Ballyfermot I think.
In the 60's / 70's Eddie and Finbarr gigged together and released a couple of good albums which I still have somewhere. Paul and George had a band called The Buskers along with Davey Arthur. I think they only released one album which I have somewhere as well.
Finbarr was the piper - good but played a bit too fast for my taste.
The all came together to form the Fureys and Davey Arthur.
Finbarr had a go at singing, I think his first was Sweet Sixteen, and they got a chart hit. Other hits followed such as REd Rose Cafe, a version of Eric Bogles Willie McBride etc - more easy listening than trad.
Last time I saw Finbarr was in Athlone but by the time he got up to play he was pissed drunk and was crap.

28 Nov 02 - 04:27 PM (#836707)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Sandy McLean

Finbar's voice is rather coarse , as is my own. While he may not have the greatest range there are few who can pack such emotion into a song as he did with The Old Man, Willie Mac Bride or Belfast Mill.
The Fureys rank with the Clancys & Makim and the Chieftains.

28 Nov 02 - 08:50 PM (#836830)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Gurney

They've been around a while. I remember them from 30 years ago, just Eddie and Finbar then.

29 Nov 02 - 04:18 AM (#836967)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Boab

FINBAR'S voice is rather coarse? Am I to assume that ye've never heard EDDIE singing? I find Finbar has a warm kind of style--and what an elbow-pipe player!---Eddie? Och! ---craikin like a craw or no---I enjoy his contributions too!

29 Nov 02 - 04:33 AM (#836970)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar

No offence, but I'm amazed that anyone would ask "who are the Fureys". Along with the Dubliners they were one of the main agents of the initial post-Clancy phase of the Irish folk/trad revival and its spread throughout Europe. At one stage they were probably better-known in Germany than in Ireland.

In addition to pure trad, their repertoire came to include some of the Victorian/Edwardian ballads and parlour songs that had been popular in Dublin in the early twentieth century.

They were neighbours of the Keenans (as in Paddy Keenan), and Finbar and Paddy would be the main transmitters of the so-called "travelling style" of piping from earlier generations like the Dorans. Ted Furey (who I assume was their father, but I may be wrong) was a well-known fiddle player.

Finbar left Ireland a few years ago declaring that he was tired of discrimination against travellers. I heard recently that his hands have been badly affected by arthritis, which may be the main cause of the bad performance mentioned above (I think he generally had the name of being able to "hold his drink").

29 Nov 02 - 08:44 AM (#837059)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Tony -Dublin

I have being going to gigs by The Fureys for a long time before they became famous and they are truly wonderful musicians.

The Furey's best album is titled The Scattering, released in 1998 (Harmac Label). There is a most stunning song on it called "We Dreamed Our Dreams" which they do a very haunting version of.

Being a big Finbar Furey fan, I can tell you that Finbar again recorded this song on a solo album a few years ago. The CD is also called "We Dreamed Our Dreams" and he is joined by the BBC Radio Orchestra. He sings it even better than he did on The Fureys & Dave Arthur recording.

It is interesting to note that this song was written by the late Dick Farrelly who was most famous for his great song "The Isle Of Innisfree" - theme of film, The Quiet Man. I believe Finbar was a very good friend of the songwriter. Anyone interested can get the lyrics of both of these songs on the website

This is a website for the singer Sinead Stone & Gerard Farrelly. Gerard is the son of Dick Farrelly and they have released a wonderful album of Dick's songs titled "Legacy of a Quiet Man".

Slan all you Furey fans.

29 Nov 02 - 08:49 AM (#837063)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,ta2

sweet sixteen is fields of france is too

29 Nov 02 - 08:56 AM (#837073)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Tony - Dublin

I should have mentioned that there are many sites where you can get the lyrics to both of these songs but in a lot of cases the lyrics are wrong.

The proper lyrics as written by Dick Farrelly are on the site.

As you can see, as well as being a big Fureys fan I am also a big fan of Dick Farrelly's songs.


29 Nov 02 - 08:57 AM (#837074)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

and Steal Away!

28 Mar 08 - 02:16 PM (#2299761)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,John

they piss all over the Dubliners any day

28 Mar 08 - 03:11 PM (#2299816)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Rumncoke

If I hadn't met the fiddle playing Furey years ago at a folk event - possibly Cambridge - and he took a shine to me, I would not have heard of the Fureys.

I still have the necklace he gave to me, somewhere.

Just because they are well known to some it doesn't mean that they are universally famous - folk seems to be like that.

28 Mar 08 - 03:19 PM (#2299820)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Shaneo, can't log in

It must have been Ted Furey you met, Ted was the father who travelled with Finbar around Ireland and England during the 60s I don't recall any the Fureys Brothers playing Fiddle, I could be wrong.

28 Mar 08 - 03:27 PM (#2299826)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Leadbelly

Great artists! I own their LP "Mornins on a distant shore" performed by Eddie, Finbar, George, Paul Furey and Davey Arthur. It's from the 60'or 70' I do believe.

28 Mar 08 - 04:35 PM (#2299892)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Herga Kitty

I remember Finbar piping "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" at Herga, in the late 60s, when he was guesting with Eddie.....


28 Mar 08 - 06:15 PM (#2299972)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: the fence

I named my daughter after the song 'Katriona' on their album 'Steal Away'. Wonderful group!!!

28 Mar 08 - 06:42 PM (#2299987)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Thompson

Hey, it's not a competition, GUEST,john. The Dubliners are brilliant musicians, and so are the Fureys. A different generation, a different style.

I love the way they sing with eyes closed, in the old style.

It's a much easier way to sing, keeps you tuned true to the melody and the soul of the song.

28 Mar 08 - 10:25 PM (#2300132)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Gurney

Eddie was the fiddler in Coventry 30+ years ago. A heroic toper in those days, he could play The Mason's Apron, The Fourposter Bed, and The Orangeblossom Special when he was falling-down drunk, and still make a top job of it. Oh, and the Hen's March to the Midden, too.

You'd be right not to place much reliance in the lyrics, though. They tend to sing 'their' way, and folk-process the songs.

I've only heard them on record since then.

29 Mar 08 - 07:29 AM (#2300258)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Northerner

I saw Finbar and Eddie many years ago when I was just starting to get up and try one or two songs at the floor spots. Not only were they very fine performers but they were really encouraging about my singing. I have always remembered and thanked them for that. I believe their programme may have changed a bit these days, but I would love to see them again.

29 Mar 08 - 10:54 AM (#2300356)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: goatfell

they were at the Marymass folk festival in Irvine (Scotland) and I thought that they were all right, but mind you it was just Eddie and George Furey and Davy Arthur that lead the group because Finbar doesn't play with them anyway or at lest that night and Paul furey is now dead.

but they were all right not great but all right, but as I say I think that they have past their best really.

but all right (again)

29 Mar 08 - 04:12 PM (#2300556)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Rog Peek

I must admit, I also was rather amazed that someone into folk music would not have heard of them, it must have been a wondwerful discovery.


29 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM (#2300566)
Subject: RE: The Fureys

For me they went downhill from the time of "Sweet Sixteen" .Finbarr ,great piper though he is ,can't sing for shit. Eddie was the singer in that family .

29 Mar 08 - 04:46 PM (#2300580)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Sandy Mc Lean

FINBAR'S voice is rather coarse? Am I to assume that ye've never heard EDDIE singing? I find Finbar has a warm kind of style--and what an elbow-pipe player!---Eddie? Och! ---craikin like a craw or no---I enjoy his contributions too!
For me they went downhill from the time of "Sweet Sixteen" .Finbarr ,great piper though he is ,can't sing for shit. Eddie was the singer in that family .

       Ain't subjectivity great? ;-}

29 Mar 08 - 07:36 PM (#2300698)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Jack Blandiver

Didn't they do an album with Bob Stewart? I'm sure I've got a copy somewhere.

I saw The Fureys at The Glasgow Green Folk Festival in 1983 (or 84) - one of the surreal highlights of my life thus far, given that they swelled the festival audience fifty-fold at least with hundreds of working-class weegies (not folkies by any stretch of the imagination) coming in just to see them. Amazing music in a highly charged emotional atmosphere - from the mawkish overkill of Sweet Sixteen to the demonic pipe and bodhran duelling that took the place apart.

30 Mar 08 - 04:25 AM (#2300909)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Kiss Me Slow Slap Me Quick

Finbar Furey, the best Irish piper I have ever seen. Not the best I've heard but definately the best I've ever seen. As a band they were chasing the money and made no real pretence about that and they made themselves a bob or two. But Eddy and Finbar made their bones playing for the music and the crack and had real joy in their performance. Check out their, Lonesome Boatman, recording if you can find it, a real classic.

30 Mar 08 - 04:54 AM (#2300917)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Wolfgang

I've seen them often in Germany some decades ago. Eddie was a great singer in my ears and Finbar a great instrumentalist. Their old recordings have more traditional tracks. I second the praise of the LP Lonesome Boatman. Some of their early records have been released in Germany and seem to be unknown elsewhere, like for instance the double LP Four Green Fields.

For all the enjoyment they have given I have three quibbles with them:
(1) They have retitled many of their tracks (Cock of the North and Green Fields of France for instance), perhaps to evade paying royalties to the songwriters. But they have even retitled Child ballads...
(2) After the first two or three recordings they have always recycled old tracks.
(3) No band should ever be allowed more than three farewell tours.

But I still like them


30 Mar 08 - 05:05 AM (#2300920)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: eddie1

Ah, The Fureys! Memories come flooding back - like the time Eddie and Fin played The Cottage Theatre in Cumbernauld and the only "dressing room" was the beer cellar. After the gig, they were staying at my place and we had to walk back. I, fool that I was, offered to carry Fin's pipes. The weight of the case had my knuckles dragging on the ground until I realised he was carrying the pipes under his arm! When we got home the contents of the case were revealed! Two dozen cans of the black stuff!
The University Folk Club (or The Crown Folk Club which was basically the same organisation) brought Ted over for the Edinburgh Festival. Year 1 - he was paid daily which resulted in some monumental lunchtime sessions in Sandy Bell's and a distinct effect on that evening's performance. Year 2 - he was given a daily allowance for food, fags etc and paid at the end of the week. No difference, people just kept buying him drinks! Year 3 - I picked him up in the morning and after a couple of drinks, swept him off for a tour of Edinburgh and it's environs (I had a car by then) then back to my parents or in-laws for a meal and a sleep before delivering him to the gig in a relatively sober condition. My daughter was about 4 months old at the time and Ted kept apologising for not being able to buy her "a little sweety" Come pay day, he bought her a 5lb box of chocolates! Perfect fodder for a 4 month old child!
When I moved to Germany. I arrived to find my German buddy, Martin, had bought us tickets to see The Fureys & Davy Arthur in Nuremberg. This was "Sweet Sixteen" time and we're talking tour bus and posh hotels. In their hotel afterwards I realised that Martin, who speaks excellent English, didn't have a clue about the conversation and I found myself translating Furey English into understandable English!
Last saw Finbar at Hamish Imlach's funeral. Must try to catch up sometime.
Yes, they had an eye for the big bucks - what's so wrong with that? Still excellent musicians. Finbar's recording of "The Fox Chase" is up there with the best of them.


30 Mar 08 - 11:32 PM (#2301731)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Gurney

Ah, eddie1, you bring back memories. A bunch of guys going into a 'dry' club, some with bare guitars, some with suspiciously rattling guitar cases..... Maybe a big bottle of Coke that smelled different!

31 Mar 08 - 03:36 PM (#2302362)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Dave Higham

Barrygeo mentioned Finbar playing everything a bit too fast. I remember the story of him being asked in an interview why he played so fast. His growled reply was "Because I f****n' can".

It may be apocryphal but, having seen Eddie and Finbar in the old days, it sounds right.

31 Mar 08 - 03:46 PM (#2302375)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Folkiedave

I seem to remember it was said at Cleethorpes Festival and my version was:

"That tune is a dance tune - why do you play it so fast?..


Their drinking exploits were legendary - so was their music. They were known to busk queues waiting to see them in big halls and spend the money on drink.

And there Dad used to make genuine Michael Coleman fiddles......

31 Mar 08 - 08:52 PM (#2302738)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Tattie Bogle

Saw them a couple of years agon in Edinburgh: Finbar had already left, of course. Somewhat disappointed in the performance: agree with Arran, past their best: as was the bodhran, stuck together with tape as far as I could see! (Could they not afford a new one - the price of just a very few tickets for that show?)

01 Apr 08 - 05:38 AM (#2303034)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: banjoman

saw them in Liverpool in the late 60's, but believe that they in fact had their upbringing in Coventry where they were well known on the local folk scene in those days. Perhaps some other catters will remember them from Coventry?

01 Apr 08 - 05:34 PM (#2303756)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Gurney

Yes, Banjoman, they were there in the late 60s and 70s, but their accents were not local.
Not local at all....

12 Sep 08 - 05:58 AM (#2438166)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Magdaline

Who's voice do you prefer out of the lot of theM?

12 Sep 08 - 07:31 AM (#2438216)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Les in Chorlton

Eddie & Finbar were brilliant as were all the other collections of Fureys and friends. I bought a compilation recently great songs, great tunes.

Sean / Insane Beard,

"Didn't they do an album with Bob Stewart? I'm sure I've got a copy somewhere."

They did indeed, I picked up a copy about a year ago in our local second-hand record shop. It's a cracker. We lived in Bath a million years ago, as did Bob Stewart. He played some excellent music on a plucked dulcimar. Where is he now? Google time I guess?

12 Sep 08 - 12:02 PM (#2438421)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Shaneo not logged in

Paul Furey died back on the 16th June 2002. R.I.P. a chara. Sorely missed

Finbar's left to work on his solo albums (has no plans to re-join)

Which leaves Eddie & George Furey with their friend Davey Arthur, Montey Mooney (accordion), Derek McCormack (bass and Stephen Leech (banjo, mandolin).

12 Sep 08 - 01:12 PM (#2438510)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Jay777

I saw The Fureys in April, and they were brilliant- a very friendly bunch too, happy to chat with punters during the interval. The line-up now includes Luke Crowley and Dominic Leech, I believe.

13 Sep 08 - 08:52 AM (#2439120)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,beachcomber

Surely there is no question about the origins and careers of the Fureys ?
Ted was father of Finbarr, Eddie, Paul and George and Davy Arthur was a "more or less" adoptive member of the family who lived in Ballyfermot, Dublin. Ted, with long grey beard, was an excellent traditional fiddler who was known to sing one of those "Sweet Sixteen" type music hall songs on occasion at a pub session .
I have many memories of meeting them and seeing them , over the years , at various Festivals in Ireland as they often busked their way around the country in varied combinations.
This was before the Clancy Bros gave Fin barr and Eddie a "spot" on one of their tours and started them on their careers in the mainstream of the Folk Circuit.
Ted loaned himself out, as a Guide to Traditional Music, to patrons who would recompense him for his services, much in the way of some Old Irish Bards
I see that Finbarr's son is now joined with Bobby Clancy's in a group called "The High Kings".

13 Sep 08 - 12:20 PM (#2439225)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: theballadeer

Jay777 is correct on the current line up. Derek McCormack passed away in 2004.

13 Sep 08 - 03:18 PM (#2439363)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Steve Gardham

They were great scrappers too, particularly Fin. Always scrapping with the Moores. IMHO their earliest wild stuff was their best. They had good memories too. Eddie and Fin once stayed at my place in Hull in the 60s and we had good craic. Didn't see them again till about 30 years later in Dublin at a gig and you'd have thought we were long-lost relatives, they remembered everything.

14 Sep 08 - 01:29 PM (#2440089)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Ray

Not seen them for years - I recall that Finbar was a major influence on Davy Spillane. Apart from that, Finbar used to play a mean bluegrass banjo.

31 Oct 08 - 10:35 AM (#2480851)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Turriffgal

The Fureys and Davey Arthur. Wonderful! Such evocotive performances. I just love their music. Wish I could have seen them live. Many of their songs have such emotive lyrics, and can drag you with them into the past and make you see a wealth of wonderful images.

Also you can almost see the twinkle in their eyes when they sing some of their songs, and the tears when they sing such songs as "The Old Man".

Glad to see that others appreciate them too.

31 Oct 08 - 10:40 AM (#2480854)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw

The Fureys and Davy Arthur are still touring occasionally, but without Finbar.
Finbar now has a career as a film star - a part in "Gangs of New York", and recently has been fiming in the States on a new film with Vinnie Jones. They usually manage to get him playing pipes or whistle somewhere in there.


31 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM (#2480934)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: Folkiedave

I seem to remember Finbar telling me that their father Ted - who I remember as having a Guinness stained beard - made genuine Coleman fiddles, indeed apparently he made dozens.

31 Oct 08 - 05:28 PM (#2481161)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: trevek

A friend of mine told me Ted Furey (the father) used to sport a badge saying "Hell hath no Furey like Ted"

05 Dec 08 - 10:41 AM (#2508647)
Subject: RE: The Fureys

I remember the Fureys from Coventry. They used to play at the Irish folk club at the Bear in the High Street with Billy Davoran

02 Apr 09 - 01:58 PM (#2603279)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,sam co antrim

luke crowley plays bass, whistle and keyboard while dominic leech does accordian, along with davey eddie and george, seen them last week great show

02 Apr 09 - 10:47 PM (#2603638)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Gerry

I note that "Belfast Mill," cited by Sandy McLean way above, was written, as "Aragon Mill," by Si Kahn.

03 Apr 09 - 04:45 AM (#2603734)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie

Last time I saw the Fureys and Davy Arthur was at Cropredy quite a few years ago - they were great. I remember our friends Philomena and Paul only went because of "Sweet Sixteen". Unfortunately Paul missed 9/10ths of the set cos the weather was really hot and we'd been drinking 6X in a pub earlier on!

Danny Thompson did an incredibly long intro to the Fureys, involving Finbar's promise to get Dan an Irish wolfhound. About ten years go by, Dan forgets all about it, then one day Finbar turns up on Dan's doorstep with said animal. "And 'ere 'e is!" says Dan and brings the wolfhound on stage.

One of the classic Cropredy moments (along with a certain singer losing somebody's ashes).

22 Apr 11 - 01:19 PM (#3140438)
Subject: RE: The Fureys
From: GUEST,Jonjo

Does anyone know where I could possibly get a backing track for "Annies song" by the fureys? I think it is far superior to John Denvers original, I have tried to perform it by slowing down the original but it's just not got the same feeling. The flute and the tempo give the song more meaning, I have written to the Fureys manager but, he was quite short in his response with no assistance whatsoever. I have all the Fureys albums and some backing Tracks, just can't get this one, HELP.