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 on September 16 on LP, 2CD and digital platforms via Claddagh Records/UMe.
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 1 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.