In March 1956, Tommy Makem was unemployed. He had recently moved to Dover, New Hampshire, where many of his family members had emigrated to work in the local cotton mills. He had found a job there making printing presses but had an accident when a two-ton steel press that he was guiding with his hand broke from its chain. The falling press tore the tendons from the bone in three of the fingers of his left hand. His hand in a sling, and knowing the Clancy brothers in New York, he decided that he would like to make a record with them.
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