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

Blue Aces Feature (1957-1968)

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

The Story

With thanks to Mick Gilligan

The Blue Aces Showband formed in Waterford around about 1957/58 from an earlier band called the Mellochords. Mick tells us "rehearsals used to take place in bass player Seamus Carew's front room. How everyone fitted in remains a mystery. The bass in those days was a full size upright bass fiddle!! Jerry O'Shea used to carry his drum kit there in an old pram... Sophistication at its finest!!"

The band started getting gigs locally in late 1958 as well as relief work further afield to the bigger bands like the Clipper Carlton in 1959. In October, 1959, they set out on their first foreign tour when they went to Glasgow to play some dates. They were calling themselves "Ireland's Youngest Showband" at the time, but this was a claim many band would make over the early years of the era. The band was being managed by Bill Mulcahy who also ran the Arundel Ballroom in Waterford where the band started as a relief group to the big bands.

In June, 1960, an article in the Munster Express Newspaper announced that the band was turning professional, joining the Royal Showband as the only "pro" bands in the town. At the time the band would undergo a couple of line-up changes when Tony Condon replaced Larry Barry on trumpet and John Cooney took over on piano from T. Murphy.

From these modest beginnings emerged one of the finest bands in the country at that time. During Mick's time with the band, from August 1961 there were quite a few changes of dress. Said Mick, "The earliest I can remember was blue shirts with yellow neckerchiefs, then blue jackets and black trousers, paisley type jackets, and finally all white suits. How they kept clean I'll never know."

Mick also told us that "during my time, the 'Van" was a white Commer minibus with seating for ten, space at the back and a roof rack. Speakers, drum cases, and bass fiddle all went on top covered with a tarpaulin, and it was parked in the open at night... innocent times! Duchy O'Meara the trombone player, had the dubious honour of loading the roof in all weathers. I was involved in the earliest record made by the band in Henry Street in Dublin in 1961 (Eamon Andrews studio I think) It was a demo: Sucu Sucu / Kon Tiki / Last Night & Rockin Goose. Other singles were made later when the band moved to the UK. These were on Pye and Columbia labels."

By 1963, Tony Dalton was managing the band and they continued to grow their reputation as one of the top bands in the country, playing all counties and the biggest venues.

In June, 1964, a report in the Cork Examiner said the band was recording in Kingsway Studios and that Charlie Cheevers (described as the "leader of the group") was at just as comfortable singing Ave Maria, Bless This House, or the latest number from Elvis." Reported to be in the session with Charlie were: John Cooney, Tony Walsh, Ron Carthy, Jimmy Phelan, Seamus Carew and Jerry O'Shea, which was the band's new line-up at the time.

The band made several records in 1964 and into 1966, but with little commercial success including Land of Love, I Beat You To It and You Don't Care.

Mick continued his story of his days with the band, "early excursions to the UK took place as with other bands during Lent, when there was of course no dancing in Ireland. Clubs visited were mainly in London, Manchester, and Coventry. I myself never appeared on TV with the band, but in the later sixties they did quite a bit of work for the BBC. In fact the Blue Aces backed Lulu when she performed "Shout" on Top of the Pops. In conclusion I have many fond memories of my time with the "Aces" I visit Waterford often and meet up with the boys. As recently as May 2002 a reunion was held in Waterford, the proceedings being filmed by WLR the local TV station. Ahh what nostalgia."

Reports from newspapers seem to indicate that sometime around mid 1965 the band went to London and did not play in Ireland for an extended period. A report in the Connacht Telegraph in October 1965 said the band had signed a recording deal with a subsidiary of EMI records called West One. There were plans for a new single and touring, but we can't find any reference to that again.

In August, 1966, several small ads appeared in the Irish Independent which read: From London, Tony Walsh, TV, Radio and recording star; lead vocalist formerly Blue Aces, seeks position with top showband only or personal manager for promotion. Waterford. We can only assume from this that the band had broken up and Tony had returned home, but if you know any more, please let us know.

We know that in 1983 Tony "Froggy" Walsh had started his singing going again changing his name to Tony Starr.

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Blue Aces Showband (BS) Blue Aces Showband (JD) Blue Aces Showband - 1960's (PB) Blue Aces - 1961 (MG) Blue Aces -1963 (LR)

Blue Aces - 1961 (MG)

Blue Aces (RF) Blue Aces (RF) Blue Aces (RF) Blue Aces (RF)
Blue Aces (RF) Blue Aces (RF) Blue Aces (PL)Blue Aces - 1962 (PL)Blue Aces (PL)
 
Blue Aces - 1959 Blue Aces - 1961 Blue Aces - 1960Blue Aces - 1961Blue Aces
Years Tmbn/Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax/Gtr Sax Trumpet Trombone
1959   Tony
Walsh
Seamus
Carew
Jerry
O'Shea
T.
Murphy
Charlie
Cheevers
  Larry
Barry
Tony
Dalton
June
1960
  Tony
Walsh
Seamus
Carew
Jerry
O'Shea
John
Cooney
Charlie
Cheevers
  Tony
Condon
Tony
Dalton
1961 Michael
O'Meara
Mick
Gilligan
Seamus
Carew
Jerry
O'Shea
John
Cooney
Charlie
Cheevers
Neil
McMahon
Tony
Condon
Tony
Dalton
June
1964
Charlie
Cheevers
Jimmy
Phelan
Seamus
Carew
Jerry
O'Shea
John
Cooney
Tony
Walsh
  Ron
Carthy
 
                   
                   

Discography

Land of Love (Charlie Cheevers) / Love Song of the Waterfall (Tony Walsh)
Pye Records / 7N.15672 / July, 1964
I Beat You To It / I Just Can't Help Loving You
Pye Records / 7N.15713 / 1964

You Don't Care / Ain't What You Say

Pye Records / 7N.15821 / 1965

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Seamus Carew:
Tommy Walsh - RIP:
Gerry O'Shea:
Charlie Cheevers:
Larry Barry:
Tony Dalton:
John Cooney:
Tony Condon - RIP:
Mick Gilligan:
Mike O'Meara:
Jim Phelan:
Tony Walsh:
Ron Carthy:

Back

 


2002-2017 GMS Productions

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