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Last Updated

Dec 17, 2007

The Johnsons
This mid-1960s close harmony group enjoyed immense success in Ireland. The original line-up, which used to play in the family pub in Slane, consisted of Adrienne Johnston, vocals, her sister Luci, vocals, and brother Michael, guitar.They were only performing as a group for six weeks when they came to national prominence by winning the first Wexford Ballad Competition in February 1966. (The Emmet Folk Group came second). They won £100 and a slot on the Late Late Show. At that stage Luci was 16 and still going to school
Their debut single, a cover of Ewan McColl's Travelling People, reached No 1 in the Irish charts. Michael left the trio, and the sisters were joined by instrumentalists and singers Mick Moloney and Paul Brady.
After the group moved base to London in 1969 they enjoyed wider success and remained there for three years. In 1971 they played the Philadelphia Folk Festival, receiving favourable reviews in the American media. While The Barleycorn was a traditionally-based album, Give a Damn saw the group working with more contemporary material.
By the time of Bitter Green, Luci had left the group, which continued as a trio. By the time they recorded If I Sang My Song, the group was just Paul Brady and Adrienne, Moloney having left. The majority of the songs on that album came from the pen of Brady and Chris McLoud. The album boasted backing musicians such as Tim Hart, Royston Wood and Rick Kemp. Adrienne recorded one solo album Adrienne Johnston of the Johnstons in 1975 before her premature death.
Brady left to join Planxty in 1974. Then Moloney left to spend a year as a social worker in London before recording a solo album.

Discography
If I Sang My Song, 1972
Colours of the Dawn, 1971
The Johnstons Sampler, 1970
Bitter Green, 1969
Both Sides Now, 1969
The Barleycorn, 1969
Give a Damn, 1969
The Johnstons, 1968
Travelling People, 1966


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