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Annalees Showband Photos (1968-)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

Based on newspaper reports, we have discovered the band started out as a five man ballad group in 1967 when leader Tom Leonard grouped together with Tom Leonard and Gerry, Mattie and Frankie Smith from Ballyhaise. The Smiths and Leonards were cousins (except for Frankie who was no relation).

After building their reputation playing in local variety shows and charity concerts (as they had no equipment of their own), they added drummer Bud O'Neill and were on their way to becoming a bona fide showband. By the end of 1968, they had save enough to afford proper equipment, added keyboard player Howard Lowry and turned semi-professional.

A little later, as they were starting to make a name in the bigger halls , they were described in the Longford Leader as "Larry Cunningham's relief band." The band boasted some interesting members including the late Brian Harkin who was only with them for a short time before going on to a career with other major country bands of the era. (Editor's note: The only reference of this kind I have found is when a Brian Herron joined the band for a short stint, so perhaps this is Brian Harkin's real or stage name at the time). They were based in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. The band was being managed by Jimmy Smith of the Mighty Avons (whose lead singer was Larry Cunningham, hence the reference above I guess).

In July, 1969 Tom Corrigan (who managed the Erne Palais Ballroom, Belturbet, Co. Cavan) took over the management of the band and had planned a big future for them and followed with a major publicity campaign to get them playing further afield from their native Cavan. Due top Tom's connections, they boys were able to play a greater number of ballrooms and started to travel further afield, although still mainly in the North and midlands. 

In October, 1969 the band announced that Jim Simpson from Cavan had joined the group as lead singer. However, this would not last long as in February 1970 it was reported that the band had both parted company with then manager Tom Corrigan and Jim had retired from show business. A week later it was reported that Brian Herron from Dungannon was joining the band as the new lead singer. Although somewhat confusing it appears Jimmy Smith have taken over managing the band again as he claimed responsibility for recommending Brian to the band. 

In May, 1972, the band was joined by country singer Ian Corrigan, who had previously been front man for a time with the Casino Showband. They changed their name to the Country Style.

The lineup at the time (which I am pretty sure was the same for the previous few years) included: Ian Corrigan (vocals), Gerry Smith (trombone), Jim Leonard (bass), Thomas Leonard (sax), Mattie Smith (guitar), Howard Lowry (keyboards), Bud O'Neill (drums) and Frankie Smith (trumpet).   

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Annalees (KS) Annalees - 1971

Annalee's Showband

Annalees (RF) Annalees (RF)
Annalees (RF) Annalees (RF) Annalees (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax Trumpet


Little Pedro / Threw Away A Rose (featuring Brian Herron)
Dolphin Records / DOS.69 / July, 1970
Mary Dear
/ (featuring Jim Leonard)
Velvet Records / VE 002 / March, 1971

Audio Clips

Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006