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Caroline Showband Story (1964-67-in Ireland)

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

The Story

In December, 1964, it was reported in the Entertainment Guide that the band was to be launched that week. The same week, a story appeared in the Sunday Independent saying that Jim Craig of Caroline Enterprises had approached drummer Kevin Brady to form a showband. The band made its debut at a reception in Dublin's Gresham Hotel on Tuesday, December 22nd, 1964. The original lineup included: Kevin Brady (Dublin-drums), Earl Jordan (New York-vocals), Tony Kearns (Drogheda-sax), Reginald Dunne (Dublin-guitar), Kevin Gregan (Dublin-bass), Tony Coffey (Dublin-keyboards), Harry Burrows (Birmingham-sax), and Michael Burns (Sligo-trumpet). The manager was Frank Traynor of Dublin. On stage the band wore dark blue suits with Earl decked out in a white blazer.

The band made its first appearance at a reception in Dublin's Gresham Hotel on Tuesday, December 22nd. Interestingly, the band debuted at the same time as the new Nevada Showband featuring Maisie McDaniel and the Millionaires Showband. Lead singer Earl Jordan, although born in Buffalo, New York, came to England with the US Air Force and arrived in Dublin in December, 1963.

The band hit the ground running and was soon playing around the country. They also had the "backing" of pirate radio station Radio Caroline which helped promote the band as much as it could. On January 21st, 1965 a note appeared in Tom Hennigan's Going Places column in the Evening Herald saying the band was looking for "a lady vocalist, one who can sing pop numbers in in the dynamic, personality-plus manner of today's showbands." Apparently this never happened. In April 1965, Kevin Gregan had his guitar stolen along with his car from outside a Cabra cinema. 

In June, 1966, the band traveled to Monte Carlo and played at the Monte Carlo ball for Princess Grace of Monaco. By December, 1966, Dave Coady had left the band and we're not quite sure who replaced him. .   

Former member, Mel Dean (who joined the band in 1966) sent us an email in 2009 and told us the band was put together by Ronan O'Rahilly who owned the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. Earl Jordan was recruited from the Derek Joys Showband (also managed by Frank Traynor) to front the new act. Mel told us that the band's program featured a lot of soul music (James Brown) and they never quite hit it off with the punters on the Irish dance circuit. The band lineup was: Earl Jordan (vocals), Mel Dean (guitar) Tony Coffey (keyboards), Gerry Ryan (bass), Kevin Brady (drums), Mike Burns (trumpet), Harry Burroughs (sax), and Tony Kearns (sax). Earl Jordan was one of the first black singers to tour Ireland, making the band a bit of a novelty act, but to no avail. 

In August, 1967, the band emigrated to England (minus Tony Coffey) and settled in Manchester where their brand of pop, rock and soul was more acceptable to English audiences. The band stayed in England for five years, playing the clubs and dancehalls. Earl Jordan left the band almost immediately and was replaced by Tony Woods and the band changed its name to the Dunes. Eventually, the boys became homesick and the band broke up with Mel Dean staying in the UK, while the rest returned home.     

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Caroline - 1964 (LR) Caroline - 1966 (LR) Caroline - 1965 Caroline - 1964 Earl Jordan - 1964 (LR)
   
Caroline - 1964 (RF) Caroline - 1964 (RF) Caroline - 1964

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Lineup Changes (More to come)
 
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Sax Keyboard Sax Trumpet
Dec
1964
Earl
Jordan
Reginald
Dunne
Kevin
Gregan
Kevin
Brady
Harry
Burrows
Tony
Coffey
Tony
Kearns
Mike
Burns
June
1964
Earl
Jordan
Mel
Dean
Kevin
Gregan
Kevin
Brady
Harry
Burrows
Dave
Coady
Tony
Kearns
Mike
Burns
Late
1966
Earl
Jordan
Mel
Dean
Gerry
Ryan
Kevin
Brady
Harry
Burrows
Tony
Coffey?
Tony
Kearns
Mike
Burns
1967 Earl
Jordan
Mel
Dean
Gerry
Ryan
Kevin
Brady
Harry
Burrows
  Tony
Kearns
Mike
Burns
Aug
1967
Tony
Woods
Mel
Dean
Gerry
Ryan
Kevin
Brady
Harry
Burrows
  Tony
Kearns
Mike
Burns
               
               
               
               

Discography

S
M

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

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