The largest digital showband archive in the world!
Based In Sligo, Ireland / email: showbands@gmsproductions.com

CLICK FOR:     FREE FORUM        HOME PAGE        GUESTBOOK      MAKE A DONATION

Barleycorn (aka Barley Corn) Feature (1971-1995)

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

The Story

Few bands get the attention and notoriety that came to the Barley Corn (aka The Barleycorn) with the release of their first single in December, 1971. Released a month before "Bloody Sunday" (January 30, 1972) the song highlighted the growing tensions in the North which would soon change Ireland forever.  

The first mention we can find of Barleycorn was in the January 15, 1972 issue of Spotlight magazine. In reporting the story behind the record, The Men Behind The Wire, the article told a little bit of the band's history. Paddy McGuigan was an out of work plumber in Belfast who sang in pubs. In June, 1971, he got together with Liam Tiernan, Brian McCormick and John Delaney (referred to several times in Spotlight as John Knox) to form Barley Corn (written at the time as two words). 

They sang rebel songs, along with the odd song written by Paddy. In November, 1971 Paddy wrote the now famous song about the internees in the North. The song was recorded by Belfast music mogul, Billy McBurney, but was to be pressed (manufactured) in London. English companies reportedly refused to press the record and it was then sent to Release Records in Dublin.  

The song was released on December 14th and quickly went to Number 1 in the Irish Charts, making it one of the fastest selling Irish singles ever. It would stay in the Irish top twenty for a staggering 40 weeks. The article went on to describe that Paddy was, himself, interned by the British Army under the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act. The record was released on the new CRC (Civil Resistance Committee) record label. All this success was despite the fact that the record was receiving no airplay at home or abroad. Royalties from the record's sales were donated to the families of the internees.

They had been a semi-professional band and played the pub circuit around their native Belfast. After the release of the single, they were soon playing ballrooms gigs all around the country, usually supported by a showband for dancing afterwards. Adverts for the gigs proclaimed they were "direct from Belfast's Republican Pubs."             

With Paddy interned, the group carried on as a three piece and toured constantly in support of their massive hit record. During most of 1972, there was no stopping the band. Released from prison, Pat rejoined the band in April, 1972. They would play in  every corner of the country in all the top cabarets spots as well as the ballroom circuit. Ireland couldn't get enough of the Barleycorn. 

Francis McPeake would also play with the band for a short time in place of Liam during Lent, 1972. However, we also found a picture of the band as a three piece which was labeled "the first picture of the Barleycorn," however, in the beginning the band was a four piece. On October, 1972, Men Behind the Wire finally dropped out of the Irish Charts.

By the end of 1972, the band was ready to release its second single and Dermot Hegarty was considering recording "Sing Irishmen Sing" as an album track but instead offered it to the Barley Corn. Paddy wrote a new set of lyrics and the record ended up reaching Number 4 in the Irish charts, the band's second smash hit. In February of 1973 the band did a short tour of English clubs and in March they headed off on a tour of the States for nearly two months. In April they released their first album, Live At the Embankment. 

In August, the band released their next single, This Land is Your Land, a Woody Guthrie songs for which Paddy wrote new lyrics. Unlike their first two singles, it did not make the charts. Late in 1974, the group was faced with a major transition when founding member and main songwriter, Paddy McGuigan, left to pursue a solo career. He was replaced with Paul Anderson.

In September 1981, Paddy Sweeney joined the band replacing original member Liam Tiernan. Paddy had previously played with Paddy Byrne in The Paddys and also the band, Stout

By 1983 the band was being managed by Tony Byrne and they had a major overhaul when Derek McCormack from Drogheda joined the band to replace Brian McCormick as lead singer. It was reported that Brian had quit to go into music production. Derrek had previously played with Dermot O'Brien's Clubmen and remained with Dermot in the Dermot O'Brien Trio. Dennis O'Rourke also joined the band making them a four piece again for the first time in several years.

After a decade on the road, the band's popularity was waning in Ireland , but they were still in high demand in the United States and European having joined the elite ranks of bands like the Clancy's and Dubliners internationally.

Sometime around 1986, Paddy Sweeney left the band, he would eventually join the Dublin City Ramblers in August, 1989.     

More to come......

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1972
Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn - 1973
Barleycorn - 1974 Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn - 1974 Barleycorn - 1974 Barleycorn - 1974
Barleycorn (BK) Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn - 1974

Barleycorn - 1975

Barleycorn - 1975

 
Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn - 1982 Barleycorn - 1989 Barleycorn (RF)

Coming Soon

Barleycorn - 1972 Barleycorn - 1973 Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF)
 
Barleycorn (RF)

Coming Soon

Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF)
   
Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF) Barleycorn (RF)

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Years Guitar/Fiddle Bass/Guitar Guitar Banjo
June
1971
Paddy
McGuigan
Brian
McCormick
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney
Sept
1971
Paddy interned -
band went on as a 3 piece
Brian
McCormick
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney
Feb
1972
  Brian
McCormick
Francis
McPeake
John
Delaney
April
1972
Paddy
McGuigan
Brian
McCormick
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney
Nov
1974
Paul
Anderson
Brian
McCormick
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney
    Brian
McCormick
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney
Aug
1981
  Brian
McCormick
Paddy
Sweeney
John
Delaney
1983 Dennis
O'Rourke
Derek
McCormack
Paddy
Sweeney
John
Delaney
1986 Dennis
O'Rourke
Derek
McCormack
  John
Delaney
1990 Maurice
McCarthy
Derek
McCormack
  John
Delaney
1993   Derek
McCormack
Liam
Tiernan
John
Delaney

The New Barleycorn

1995     Alec
DeGabriele
John
Delaney

Discography

Singles:

Men Behind The Wire / Freedom Walk - #1 Irish Charts
CRC Records - CRC.71 - December, 1971
Sing Irishmen Sing / On The One Road
- #4 Irish Charts
Solo Records - SOLO 110 - December, 1972
This Land Is Your Land / 100 Miles From Shore
Release Records - Unknown - August 1973
Bring Them Home / Boys of the Old Brigade
- #4 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 116 - February, 1974
Songs of Ireland / If I Could Be A Rover
- #16 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 128 - December,. 1974
Donegal Danny / Sing All Your Troubles Away

Dolphin Records - Unknown - 1975
The Unicorn /
Buachaill On Eirna
Dolphin Records - DOS 150 - 1979
Now I'm Easy / Shamrock Shore
Dolphin Records - DOS 152 - 1980
Lakes of Corofin / God Bless This Land
Dolphin Records - DOS 158 - December, 1981
The Fields Of Athenry / Chief O'Neill's Favourite / Geo White's Fancy
- #7 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 161 - April, 1982
The Men Behind the Wire (rerecorded) / James Connolly
Dolphin Records - DOS 162 - July, 1982
A Man You Don't Meet Every Day /
- #27 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - Unknown - November, 1982
Cavan Girl / Lakes of Corofin
- #13 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 178 - July, 1984
Portland Town / Reels / I See The Light
Dolphin Records - DOS 183 - May, 1985
A Song for Ireland / Over The Mountains
- #12 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 184 - July, 1985
Dublin In My Tears / Charlie on the MTA

Dolphin Records - DOS 189 - 1985
The Last Farewell /
- #17 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 184 - March, 1988
Roisin / Grace
- #28 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS 195 - July, 1988
Sing An Irish Song / The Man Who Never Returned
 
Dolphin Records - Unknown - 1989

Albums:

Live At The Embankment
Release Records - DRL.2004 - April, 1973
The Winds Are Singing Freedom
Dolphin Records - DOLM 5011 - November, 1974
For Folk Sake
Dolphin Records - DOLM 5016 - 1975
Live In New York
Dolphin Records - DOLM 5022 - 1979
Fields Of Athenry
Dolphin Records - DOLM 5034 - 1982
A Song For Ireland
Dolphin Records - DOLX 9004 - 1987
My Last Farewell
Dolphin Records - DOLX 9010 - 1988

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Paddy McGuigan: Paddy was the first to leave the band, despite arguably contributing the most to its success with his songwriting. In 1975 he brought out a solo album called, My Country, My Songs and Me. As far as we could tell, he was living north of Dublin, but sadly, he passed away in March, 2014.  
Brian McCormick:
Liam Tiernan: Liam left the band in August 1981 and he emigrated to Boston were he started his own pub, Tiernan's. A check of the Internet in 2010 shows that Tiernan's website no longer exists and Liam's postal address is now in San Francisco, California. We have learned he moved out to the West coast and opened another Tiernan's pub. .
John Delaney: Founder of the band, John stayed with the group through its entire history. Finally in 1995, the group broke up and John emigrated to the States. He had met Alec DeGabriele (formerly of the Fairways) several years earlier and they became friends. When Barleycorn broke up in Ireland, John ended up in Cleveland, Ohio where Alec and his bride Mary O'Toole (Karen King) had emigrated many years earlier. They teamed up to form The New Barleycorn, which is based in Cleveland. 
Francis McPeake:
Paul Anderson:
Paddy Sweeney: Paddy left the band around 1986 and joined the Dublin City Ramblers.
Derek McCormack - RIP: Derek sadly passed away on January 30, 2005. After the break up of The Barleycorn, he continued to sing and worked with such luminaries as The Fureys and Daniel O'Donnell. He released a solo album in 2000 and regularly took part in Irish cruises.
Dennis O'Rourke:
Maurice McCarthy:

Back

 


2002-2017 GMS Productions

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