The Odeon Showband
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
It was 1962 and the showband era
was in its early years. The Clipper Carlton had broken the shackles of
the sit down orchestras and showbands were cropping up around the
country. The Odeon got its start when several members of the
Clonmel-based Mick Delahunty band realised the writing was on the
wall for big bands as more and more "orchestras" were trimming their
numbers and remaking themselves as showbands.
It was November, 1962 when the
band got together with their debut gig on St. Stephen's Night (Dec
26th), 1962. The original line-up was Jack
Bayle (trombone), German-born Horst Henchel (RIP-sax and clarinet), Paddy Byrne
Ernie Pigott (RIP-vocals) who all decided to leave Mick Del and form their
own band. They brought in a new rhythm section which included Clonmel
drummer, John Fennessy, who at the time was with playing with the
Ballina-based Jack Ruane Band, Fergie Gibson (bass) who at the time was with a band in
Dublin and local guitarist Alan Gregory from Clonmel who was also
in a band in Dublin. (We think Jimmy Dunny's band).
The band started life based in Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary, but would eventually decide that because many of their gigs were in the North
(Northern Ireland) so would be better off moving to Dublin which was
more central to all parts of the country. It is hard to pinpoint
when they moved as even in 1964, they were being advertised as
"coming to Dublin from Clonmel." They were initially managed by Dee O'Kane from Dundalk.
They were doing quite well and the fact that the bulk of the band
came from Mick Delahunty's Orchestra meant patrons were already
assured of a quality night's entertainment. Their reputation grew
steadily, but they were lacking something.
After a little more than a year on
the road, change was in the air for the band. They were taken over
by Dublin businessman and photographer Aidan Moore, which all
parties hoped would bring them a broader audience across the entire
32 counties. As well as that, the singer Jimmy Ledwidge came in as vocalist
when Ernie Pigott left the band. During 1964, the band seemed to be
going from strength to strength and suddenly, without warning, they
disappeared. The last advertisement we can for them in on December
John Fennessy wrote us a couple of
years ago to say that after the band broke up Jack and Paddy joined
the Tommy O Brien Band
(resident in Clery's Ballroom) for a while Paddy eventually went back
to Clonmel and is still playing. Horst went back to Germany where he
passed away some years ago. Allan still lives in Dublin as does
Fergie Gibson. John then joined the RTE Light Orchestra (now called the
Concert Orchestra) and remained there until he retired.
More to come.....
Click on thumbnails for full images