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The Odeon Showband Story (1962-1964)

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

The Story

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 (trumpet) and 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 19th, 1964.

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.....

Photo Gallery

Click on thumbnails for full images

Odeon (BK) Odeon (JF) Odeon (JR) Odeon (JF) Odeon
Odeon (PL) Odeon (PL) Odeon (RF) Odeon (RF) Odeon (RF)
Odeon (RF) Odeon (RF) Odeon (RF) Odeon - 1964 Odeon - 1962
       
Odeon - 1963 Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Trumpet Sax Trombone
Nov
1962
Ernie
Pigott
Alan
Gregory
Fergie
Gibson
John
Fennessy
Paddy
Byrne
Horst
Henchel
Jack
Bayle
April,
1964
Jimmy (Gtr)
Ledwidge
Alan
Gregory
Fergie
Gibson
John
Fennessy
Paddy
Byrne
Horst
Henchel
Jack
Bayle
Mid
1964?
Jimmy (Gtr)
Ledwidge
Unknown Fergie
Gibson
Unknown Willie
Walsh
Horst
Henchel
Unknown

Discography

As far as we know the band did not release any records.

Audio Clips

As far as we know the band did not release any records.

Where Are They Now?  

Jack Bayle: John Fennessy tells us that Jack (along with Paddy) joined the Tommy O'Brien band, which at the time was the resident band in Clery's Ballroom in Dublin.
Horst Henchel (RIP):
Paddy Byrne: John Fennessy tells us that Paddy (along with Jack) joined the Tommy O'Brien band, which at the time was the resident band in Clery's Ballroom in Dublin.
Ernie Pigott (RIP):
John Fennessy: After leaving the band, John joined the RTE Light Orchestra (now know as the Concert Orchestra) and he played with them until he retired a couple of years ago.
Fergie Gibson:
Alan Gregory:
Jimmy Ledwidge:

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