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Jack Ruane Band Feature (1932-1977)

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

The Story

While the bulk of the showband entertainment giants came from the East, North, and South of Ireland, The Jack Ruane Band, from Ballina (along with the Royal Blues from Claremorris) was one of Mayo's major contributions to the showband era.

The first advert we could find for the band was in 1932 for the "Jack Ruane Band of Five." Several months later the band was being advertised as the Jack Ruane Band and eventually the Jack Ruane Orchestra. (Editor's note: our research has shown that tags like "band" and "orchestra" were applied in no set way, we assume it must have been at the discretion of the ballroom owner.) Starting out in its native Ballina the band was soon travelling all across Mayo.

Based on our research, for the next fifteen years, the band played mainly in Connacht and by 1941, the band was being advertised as Jack Ruane and his Seven Piece Dance Orchestra (although in 1946, we found one advert that specified an "8 piece" band). In March, 1946, the first advert for the band on a national stage appeared in the Irish Independent's "Stage" section of the classified ads. A few months later, we found the band playing in Longford, possibly their first time outside "The West."     

It would take a few years, but by the end of 1947, the band was playing about 50/50 between Connacht and the rest of the country. During the forties, fifties and sixties Jack Sr. was one of the top figures on the music scene west of the Shannon and across the nation. His son, Judd, who also played with the band has said that his dad was one of the first bands to leave Ireland during the Lent season and toured England in the late forties. By 1965 he was on his 22nd tour of the UK.

During the 1950's the band made the slow transition from orchestra to showband. Eventually following the lead of the biggest bands of the day and kicking away their music stands and sheet music. They also dropped their lineup down from 15 members at one point in the 1950's to an eight-piece band in the early 1960's. 

Jack finally retired from the scene in the mid sixties and his son, Judd took over as band leader and his other son, Jack Jr. became the band's front man, playing bass and doing most of the singing. They continued to be one of the leading bands out of the West.

In 1967, Jack Jr., flew to London and appeared on the BBC's Monday show, alongside Lulu (pictured below). 

In December, 1970, the band was involved in an interesting situation when they advertised the first "budget priced" single record in Ireland at 6/6 (78 old pence or in decimal currency that would have been about 33p). However, the following week, an article in Spotlight explained that the advert had been a mistake. Pye records had thought of bringing out a record with only one side to bring down the cost, but Pye bosses in London realized that bringing out a record with only one side was technically unfeasible and so the idea was dropped. Jack's record went on sale for the usual 10 shillings (about 50p).

In March 1972, Paschal Mooney reported that Jack had been off the road for a short time due to a throat infection, but by March he was ready for the band's tour of England.

From what we can tell, the band basically went off the road in early 1977, but had continued to come together on a rare basis for local gigs in the Ballina area as late as 1992.  

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Jack Ruane - 1932 Jack Ruane - 1933 Jack Ruane - 1946 Jack Ruane - 1947 Jack Ruane - 1965
Jack Ruane - '65 (DD) Jack Ruane (LR) Jack Ruane Showband Jack Ruane (LR) Jack Ruane (JB)
Jack Ruane - 1966 Jack Ruane, Jr - 1966 (LR) Jack Ruane Jr-1967 Jack Ruane Band-1967 Jack Ruane Jr-1967
Jack & Lulu - 1967 Jack Ruane Jr-1967 Jack Ruane Jr-1969 Jack Ruane Jr-1969 Jack Ruane Jr-1970
Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane - 1969 (RF) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (DD)

Jack Ruane Jr-1972

Jack Ruane Jr - 1972 (JR) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (RF)
Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane - 1966 (RF) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (RF) Jack Ruane (RF)
       

Jack Ruane - 1966

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Lineup Changes  (more to come)
 

Years Vocals/Bass Guitar/Keyb Guitar Drums Sax Sax/Gtr Trumpet Trombone
Nov
1962
Jack
Ruane, Jr.
Joe (Keyb)
Bollard
Joe
Sweeney
John
Fennessy
Frasier
French
Jack
Ruane, Sr.
Judd
Ruane
John
Russell
1965 Jack
Ruane, Jr.
Eugene (Gtr)
McCaffrey
Joe
Sweeney
Johnny
Crean
Alex
Reid
Jack
Ruane, Sr.
Judd
Ruane
Ray
Wordsworth
1966 Jack
Ruane, Jr.
Eugene
McCaffrey
Johnny
Cleary
George
Hunter
Alex
Reid
  Judd
Ruane
Ray
Wordsworth
April
1969
Jack
Ruane, Jr.
Eugene
McCaffrey
Unknown George
Hunter
Stan
Burns
  Judd
Ruane
Aidan
Canning
1972 Jack
Ruane, Jr.
Eugene
McCaffrey
Tommy
McDonagh
George
Hunter
Unknown   Judd
Ruane
Aidan
Canning
                 

Discography  (more to come)

My Heartaches Got Heartaches / Wow, Wow, Wow
Pye Records - 7N.17045 - February, 1966
What About The Last Time / The River Moy
Pye Records - 7N.17149 - 1966
I Get The Fever / Pictures From The Past
Pye Records - 7N.17359 - July, 1967
Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven / Just For Fun
Pye Records - 7N.17529 - April, 1968
Bonnie Bonnie Bonnie / The Pick Up
Pye Records - 7N.17717 - April, 1969
The River Moy /
Pye Records - 7N.17997 - October, 1970
It Feels So Good / Pretend
Pye Records - Unknown - November, 1970

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (more to come)

Jack Ruane Sr. - RIP: Jack formed his first band in 1932 and would go on to entertain audiences across Ireland, England and America for more than three decades. He left the band in the mid 1960's but continued to play in local concerts and jazz sessions right up until his death on May 6th, 1997. He was 85 years old.
Judd Ruane:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Jack Ruane, Jr.:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Tommy McDonagh - RIP: Tommy had always been working, either in bands, groups and as a backing musician. Tommy came to Ballina from Sligo and joined the Jack Ruane Showband, later the Fairways. After years on the road he settled into the group scene around Mayo and played for many years with Dermot Hopkins. He was active on the music scene in Ballina up until the time of his death which sadly occurred 18th January, 2015.  
Eugene McCaffrey:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Joe Sweeney:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
John Crean: RIP Johnny was killed in a fatal traffic accident outside Killala, Co. Mayo on July 25th, 1979 after a successful career which saw him play drums with both the Fairways and previously with the Jack Ruane Showband.
Alex Reid:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Ray Wordsworth:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Johnny Cleary:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
George Hunter:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Stan Burns: Stan Burns retired from the road and became an International basketball player as well as an Irish surfing champion in the 70's and 80's. All the while, Stan has played locally and in jazz clubs in the Northwest with The Jazz Ladds and his own band, Katch. Today Stan lives in County Leitrim area where he teaches music and also plays the local club scene with his own jazz trio.  
Aidan Canning:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 

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