Orange Machine (1967-1970)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The first advertisement we can find for the Orange Machine is from
April, 1967 when they played as part of a three band session at the
New Spotlight Night Out in the Television Club alongside the
Freshmen and the Irish Rovers (something for everybody). Almost
immediately they were playing all around the city in gigs like the
Club Astor (the Astor Ballroom) in Dundrum and the Ardmore Club in
the Crystal Ballroom in Dublin. In July, they were one of three
featured beat groups (along with the Vampires and Dead Centre) at
the Starliner Open Air Jamboree at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in
It would be August before they
seemed to catch the attention of Spotlight's beat group guru,
Pat Egan, when he said, "I keep getting good reports about them" in
his weekly Beat Scene column. In October, they were featured
in the Evening Herald
and were on their way to becoming of the the top beat groups in the
city. The original line-up was Ernie Durkin (vocals and guitar), Robin Crowley
(guitar), Tommy Kinsella (bass) and Jimmy Greeley (drums).
Early on the band was managed by Larry Mooney.
Finally in late September, 1967,
the band (who were playing regularly) finally impressed Pat enough
to feature them in his column, after several brief mentions. After
seeing them perform at a gig in the CYMS in Terenure, he said they
were "going a bomb and have class." This was the only real publicity
the beat groups were able to get. At the time, Pat rated them as the
Number 17 group in the country in his top twenty list, which was
based solely on Pat's opinion (as we assume feedback he received to
his column from fans). A few weeks later, Pat would write, "I don't
have anything against the Orange Machine, it's just that I think
they are a little overrated."
By the end of the year, Pat was
changing his tune and although he still thought they were overrated,
he admitted they "are currently rated as one of the top young groups
on the scene. In and around Dublin they have a great following. I
think they have a lot of talent and in time will take off in a very
In January, 1968, Pat finally
declared, "Now I do think the Orange Machine will become huge in
1968." A few months later, the band took part in a Pop Spectacular
in the National Stadium alongside such popular beat groups as
Granny's Intentions (who had gone to London) and the fledgling
Skid Row, who would soon be one of the top rock bands in the
country. At this point the band was being managed by Brian Tuite,
who was also managing the fortunes of Granny's Intentions.
Around this time (March 30th), Pat also reported the band was
expanding to a five piece by adding Paul Duffy on keyboards,
although this never happened. By mid 1968, the band was firmly
established as one of the top groups on the beat scene and had risen
in Pat Egan top twenty group list to number 8.
In June, they released their first
record, "Three Jolly Little Dwarfs," with the B side "Real Life
Permanent Dream." Even though the Irish charts at the time were
dominated by showbands, folk singers and international acts, the
record reached number 14 in the Irish charts, giving them a huge
boost as far as their popularity and gigs were concerned. They
started travelling further afield and were now playing gigs across
the country. By late 1968, the band was following what was
becoming the "typical" beat group career path which was to try and
make it in London. Unfortunately, like most of their peers, they
found it a hard slog and met with little success.
The band released its second
single on Pye in January , 1969 and based on the success of their
debut disc, goods things were expected for the band. They released
"You Can All Join In" with "Dr. Crippen's Waiting Room" on the B
side, but despite attracting a lot of attention for the band on the
beat group scene it did not sell many copies.
A month later, Pat reported in
his column that the band had split. Ernie and Tommy were joining
ex-Granny's Intentions drummer, Greg Donaghy in a new band on
the scene called Blue. Meanwhile, Robin and Jimmy set about
reforming a new version of the Orange Machine. Within a short time
(May, 1969), Blue would break up with Ernie Durkin and Greg
Donaghy joining a new version of Cahir O'Doherty's Gentry and
Tommy joining the line-up of the original
Cotton Mill Boys.
It would take a couple of months
for the New Orange Machine to finalise their lineup. The band
expanded to a five piece with the addition of a lead female
vocalist, Karen Byrne (one of the only "girls" on the beat scene at
the time), who had previously been with the Soul Foundation.
Also joining the band were Billy Boyd, former bass player with the
Gentry (which became the Nobility) as well as Joe
O'Donnell (guitar) who had been previously been with
Granny's Intentions and Sweet Street.
On June 28th, 1969, Pat wrote in
his column that Philip Lynott (who had been with Skid Row) might be
considering joining the Orange Machine, but obviously this never
happened...such was the scene in the late sixties with rumours
swirling around the relatively small beat group scene in Dublin.
Instead, Philip formed his own band, Orphanage.
In August, it was reported that
Karen Byrne had been pushed out of the group. Manager Ollie Byrne
said, "It was better for all that Karen should leave. The break was
in everyone's interest." Karen was quoted as saying, "The group no
longer found me musically acceptable, so I was asked to leave. It
upset me a lot as I was so enjoying what we were doing. I do hope
the group will have every success." With Karen out of the group, it
appears they turned away from pop and towards a more "progressive
rock" sound, which was a new buzzword on the beat scene around that
In September, 1969 it was reported
that the band had left for London (yet again) hoping to make their
names on the UK scene, but this is the last reference to them we can
find. By May 1970, Jimmy Greeley was part of Johnny McEvoy's new
country band and so we assume they had broken up.
More to come.....
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