Fancy knit-wear


The Clancy Brothers were a four piece Irish folk group who mostly found fame in America, where they were known for their trademark off-white Aran jumpers which one of their mothers had knitted back home in Ireland one winter and posted out during a cold spell. On this groovy 1968 sleeve someone had the idea of posing four girls in the same Aran knit-wear the blokes wore, a play on the album title (which itself was a nod at their 1962 album The Boys Won’t Leave The Girls Alone.) The resulting image is very like knitting pattern covers of the time.
The photograph was taken by Stanley Matchett, a Belfast photographer.  It was just a credit on a sleeve to me, but Stanley is a very respected news photographers who has won a number of awards, culminating in the MBE a few years ago (and a retrospective just last year). Locally he is remembered for his coverage of the Beatles shows in Belfast in 1963. I have dropped him an email to see if he recalls the session.  The cover also uses one of my favourite decorated Futura stencil fonts, very redolent of the time.
It turned up in two second hand shops I visited recently, the copy I bought seems to have had an international history.  The album itself is an Australian pressing on EMI Parlophone, the sleeve is printed in England, and the album was originally issued in Northern Ireland by Emerald Records, but distributed by Decca in London.
Emerald was one of the first labels to cater for the Irish showbands, very popular over there. Founded by a guy called Mervyn Soloman in 1964, they had offices in Dublin and Belfast. The label is still going but has moved into traditional music and reissues of their back-catalogue under the name of Emerald Music.

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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2 Responses to Fancy knit-wear

  1. dermot Carroll says:

    In my shop I was asked if the girls were Irish. I said that I supposed they were.
    “In 1968 Irish girls wouldn’t have posed like that; they’re bound to be English. The blond hair gives it away.” was the reply.
    So who are those fine girls?

    • simon robinson says:

      Except it was taken by a Belfast based photographer, and at least one of the models isn’t blonde. Hard to imagine an Irish label paying to fly four models over from the Uk specially. He never replied to my email.

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