A Tribute To The Late Paul Furey
The youngest member of the Furey brothers folk group has died in
The 54 year old accordion player passed away at 9pm in Beaumont
Hospital after a short illness .
Paul Furey is survived by his wife Catherine and their three grown up
What a great talent the world has lost.
Paul made an impression most people he met ., he always had a smile and
a kind word to say about others . If times were hard he would have been
the one there with the hand reaching out to you.
A friend to many was Paul Fury and many were his friends around the
The Fureys have always been in the forefront of Irish music with their
innovative expressions ,
and traditional depth.
They contributed a unique Global Irish ness in their sound and Paul
Furey was the heartbeat to that mix on stage with his extraordinary
skills on the accordion.
His spirituality was one that had influenced the music experience
The Fureys toured the world their large audience of fans grew.
In Australia they are celebrities and household names. The same can be
said for the band in New Zealand. They have carved themselves a notch
in the roots of Folk Music. .
Appearing on Countdown on Australian television in the early seventies
propelled the band to instant stardom.
Touring Australia was always a regular event for the Fureys and on one
of their National Tours Paul had mentioned to Gerry a close friend of
theirs and mine about this eerie feeling he got about one of the venues
where they would be playing. It was some Arts Centre in Victoria,
anyway as it turned out
This arts centre was actually built over an ancient Aboriginal burial
In the early years Paul's Father Ted played the Fiddle and took the
boys with him when he performed .on stage. In 1959 the Furey boys
played with their Father in their first session at O'Donoghue's Bar
along with The Dubliners founder Ronnie Drew. And the late Ciaran
O'Donoghue's later became part of Dublin Folklore.
In the early 60's Eddie, Finbar, and Paul also won the Rose Of Tralee
International Festival Award.
In fact they scored a Hat Trick that day by winning all three sections
of the competition.
The Main Event, The Pub Event, and the Street Event.
Irish Folk music was put on the map by these tigers of Traditional
music and their input on the world stage was enormous.
Playing as support to The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in The USA,
Eddie and Finbar where appearing in venues like Carnegie Hall and The
Before Paul and George teamed up with their other brothers Eddie and
Finbar they were working in a band with Davy Arthur called The Buskers
. One of their well-known songs was entitled Mini Minor.
The Fureys have just released a new album in tribute to the silent
movie legend Charlie Chaplin .
On the album are some of Charlie's songs one in particular is entitled
"Weeping Willows " which is sung by Paul. I'm told it is one of the
rare moments when Paul Furey actually has performed the lead
Irish Singer Dolores Keane who many people have said is the Voice Of
Had said to me that Paul Furey was the best backing box player in the
A few stories about Paul, I can remember him telling me about the time
they had got the big break through into the mainstream music scene two
numbers that where Maggie and Sweet Sixteen.
He needed to get away for a while to clear the head a bit. He had a
good friend who runs a scrap yard and in this escape from the music
business he was handed a song written by Phil Coulter from Derry.
The song was Steal Away, and it reminded him of his friend in the scrap
yard, so he and the boys recorded it, and it became one of the biggest
selling songs for them.
No one would have expected that one day The Fureys would be there on
Top Of The Pops,
But it happened.
Only three Irish Folk groups have made this claim to fame.
If it wasn't for playing music Paul would have spend every second with
his wife Catherine and his family. He had a son who many called the
miracle child who loved his Father very much. Each time he was on tour
was difficult but music had a big call on Paul's life. I have heard
many say that Paul's marriage was very special, and there wasn't many
like it on this Earth.
Paul Furey had no easy ride to the top in the music business. Coming
from a Gypsy background it was almost impossible to get recognition as
a professional artist. But he did so and left a legacy for the world.
Paul Furey R.I.P.
We owe a lot to people of such high caliber and we are all the
wealthier for such a talented life.
By Paul McCann