Liam Weldon was undoubtedly one of the finest Irish singers of any generation. He was also an outstanding songwriter and a champion of the oppressed, and of the Traveller community in particular, whose influence on his singing stretched back to his Dublin childhood. Unaccountably, his singing never really received the accolades it deserved, and he remains largely forgotten since his death, 25 years ago.
But that has been rectified, thanks to a 20-minute YouTube video featuring snatches of interviews and extracts from his singing, with other compositions of Liam’s performed by Dara Yeates. It’s a concise but commendably inclusive summation of a man whose lyrics have been described as “direct” and even “abrasive”, and whose songs have the ability to whip up emotions ranging from outrage at injustice in The Blue Tar Road to the tenderest love of Via Extasia. It should be pointed out that Dara’s not alone in recognising the value of Liam’s singing – Daoiri Farrell is also a keen protagonist of his songs, and so it is to be hoped that Liam Weldon’s legacy will not be lost.
I can’t resist one quote from the video: “for some little period of your life, you and the songs possess each other.”
I would strongly recommend that you watch this limited video on YouTube (search for Liam Weldon Macdara Yeates) and make the acquaintance of a great singer. The intensity and integrity of a man who I met a couple of times (in the archive at UCD) comes over well. I believe his LP, Dark Horse On The Wind, has been re-issued and hopefully is still available. You’ll probably want to get it.