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Plainsmen Feature (1969 - 197?)

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

The Story

Dermot Hegarty started his career as a solo ballad/folk singer in Ireland and had several major hits before being team up with new band, The Plainsmen in early 1969. The band was formed at the same time as the country and western rage was sweeping the country. Bands like the Cotton Mill Boys, Virginians, Plainsmen and others were seeking to emulate the success enjoyed by bands like the Smokey Mountain Ramblers, who had been around for a some time.

The original lineup of the band included Dermot (vocals), Roger Ferrell (guitar), Seamus Roddy (bass), Pat Hogan (guitar-formerly of the Monarchs and Gallowglass Ceili Band), Tony Farrell (drums), Vinnie Somers (sax), and Francie Middleton (trumpet). The band hit the road as a seven piece, but soon realised something was missing. In May, 1969, the band announced the addition of Owin St. John, a fiddle player from Nashville and the Plainsmen were complete.

The band released two singles in 1969, neither of which made much of an impact as neither made the charts, unlike Dermot's earlier hit records. At the end of the year, the band lost its fiddler when Owin St. John left to join the Country Folk, a new band being formed to showcase the talents of Donegal singer, Margo O'Donnell (sister of Daniel). He was replaced by Barry McCusker, a sax player.

In 1970, Dermot released 21 Years which ended up topping the Irish charts for 16 weeks. Only Dana's Eurovision winner (Ireland's first) All Kinds of Everything outsold Dermot's massive hit, but was not at the top of the charts as long as 21 Years.

In an article in the February 15, 1973 issue of Spotlight, Pascal Mooney reported a split in the band. At the time, he said Frank McKenna had left to go to the States and Vinnie Sommers left the band reportedly to team up with Brian Harkin's new band, Harkisaw. Tony Farrell was also reported to be leaving the band to go into the boutique business. We will try to find out what happened because two months later, Brian Harkin was the lead singer with the Plainsmen and it was Dermot Hegarty who was gone from the band.  

In the April 26, 1973 issue of Spotlight, Pascal Mooney was once again highlighting the band, this time reporting that he had received word from their Manager, Peter Sheridan, that Dermot Hegarty was leaving the band to move into the cabaret scene. It was also reported that Brian Harkin (who had recently finished standing in for Gene Stuart in the Mighty Avons) was joining the band which helps explain the earlier confusion. Around this time Vinnie Sommers did leave the band as well as Tony Farrell. In December, 1973, Pascal Mooney reported that Roger Farrell had also left the band leaving Seamus Roddy and Francie Middleton as the only original members of the lineup.

Dermot formed his own trio with Frank McKenna (guitar) and Brendan Kearney (drums) and hit the cabaret circuit.

When the dust finally settled, the new lineup of the band was Brian Harkin (vocals), Vinny Baker (RIP- guitar), Francie Canning (keyboards), Barry O'Mahony (bass), Seamus Roddy (drums), Barry McCusker (sax) and Francie Middleton (trumpet). The following summer (August, 1974) an article in Spotlight reported that Dermot was doing quite well with his trio on the cabaret scene, including stints in the United States where he toured for six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Plainsmen, fronted by Brian Harkin, continued to do well on the ballroom scene. Their singles, Forgive Me For Calling You Darling (number 12) and Walk On By (number 18), both made the Irish charts, firmly establish Brian as the new front man with the band.           

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Dermot Hegarty & The Plainsmen (DD) Dermot Hegarty & The Plainsmen (DL) Plainsmen - 1971 Dermot Hegarty -1975

Dermot Hegarty - 1970
(KS)

Plainsmen - 1973 Plainsmen - 1973 (LR) Plainsmen - 1973 Plainsmen - 1974 (DL) Plainsmen - 1973
Plainsmen - 1976 (PH)

Brian Harkin - 1973

Brian Harkin Brian Harkin Plainsmen (KS)
Plainsmen Dermot Hegartyx Dermot Hegarty - 1971 Dermot Hegarty - 1971 Dermot Hegarty - 1968

Dermot Hegarty - 1970

Dermot Hegarty - 1970

Dermot Hegarty - 1970

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

Dermot Hegarty - 1970

Dermot Hegarty - 1969

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

Dermot Hegarty - 1967

Dermot Hegarty - 1971

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

Dermot Hegarty - 1970

Dermot Hegarty (KS)

Dermot Hegarty - 1972

         

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Years Vocals Guitar Keyboards Bass Drums Fiddle/Sax Sax Trumpet
1969 Dermot
Hegarty
Pat
Hogan
Roger
Farrell
Seamus
Roddy
Tony
Farrell
  Vinnie
Somers
Francie
Middleton
1969 Dermot
Hegarty
Pat
Hogan
Roger
Farrell
Seamus
Roddy
Tony
Farrell
Owin
St. John
Vinnie
Somers
Francie
Middleton
1970 Dermot
Hegarty
Frank
McKenna
Roger
Farrell
Seamus
Roddy
Tony
Farrell
Barney (Sax)
McCusker
Vinnie
Somers
Francie
Middleton
1973 Brian
Harkin
Vinnie
Baker
Roger
Farrell
Barry
O'Mahony
Seamus
Roddy
Barney (Sax)
McCusker
  Francie
Middleton
Dec?
1973
Brian
Harkin
Vinnie
Baker
Francie
Canning
Barry
O'Mahony
Seamus
Roddy
Barney (Sax)
McCusker
  Francie
Middleton
1975 Brian
Harkin
Tony
McDermott
Francie
Canning
Martin
Gildea
Chris
Collum
Barney (Sax)
McCusker
  Francie
Middleton
                 
                 

Discography (more to come)

Singles:

The Shores of Amerikay / Wild Colonial Boy (Dermot Hegarty Solo) - #4 Irish Charts
King Records - KG.1064 - September, 1967
Circle Game
 (Dermot Hegarty Solo)
King Records - Unknown - May, 1968
Mary Ann Regrets / Galway Bay
 (Dermot Hegarty Solo) - #15 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.502 - September, 1968
Wings Of A Dove / Finlola
 (Dermot Hegarty Solo)
Release Records - RL.507 - 1969
The Gay Galtee Mountains / Jimmy Brown The Newsboy (Plainsmen)
Release Records - Unknown - June, 1969
Misty Rolling Midlands / Time to Move Again (Plainsmen)
Release Records - RL.525 - September, 1969
Twenty One Years / Sing Me Back Home  (Plainsmen)
- #1 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.533 - January, 1970
I'll Be There / The Spinning Wheel  (Plainsmen)
- #15 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.570 - February, 1971
Two Little Girls In Blue  (Plainsmen)
Release Records - Unknown - June, 1971
Love Is Teasing / Paddy's Navy (Plainsmen)
- #7 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.604 - December, 1971
Four Green Fields / (Plainsmen)
- #5 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.626 - March, 1972
4 Great Irish Hits EP (Plainsmen)
- #4 Irish Charts
Release Records - Unknown - July, 1972
After Twenty One Years / Carnlough Bay (Plainsmen)
- #9 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.644 - September, 1972
4 Great Irish Hots EP, Volume 2 (Plainsmen)
- #10 Irish Charts
Release Records - Unknown - October, 1972
No, It's Not Love (Brian Harkin)
Release Records - Unknown - May, 1973
Send Me No Roses / To Get To You (Brian Harkin)
Release Records - RL.684 - August, 1973
Forgive Me For Calling You Darling / Derravarra's Water / Poppin Johnny (Brian Harkin)
- #12 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.699 - October, 1973
Walk On By (Brian Harkin)
- #18 Irish Charts
Release Records - Unknown - June, 1974
Bobby Wants A Puppy Dog For Christmas / Make It Through Christmas (Brian Harkin)
Release Records - Unknown - December, 1974
Ramblin Boy / I'd Love To Say I Love You (Brian Harkin)
- #16 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.803 - April, 1976

 
Albums:

The Hits of Ireland's Dermot Hegarty
Release Records - BRL.4001 - November, 1969
Ireland's Most Wanted Band
Release Records - BRL.4002 - November, 1969
Dermot Hegarty Sings 21 Years
Release Records - SRL.3001 - 1970
The Irish Side of Dermot Hegarty
Release Records - SRL.3006 - 1971
 

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

  Dermot Hegarty:
  Pat Hogan:
  Roger Farrell:
  Seamus Roddy - RIP:
  Tony Farrell:
  Vinnie Somers:
  Francie Middleton:
  Owin St. John:
  Frank McKenna:
  Barney McCusker:
  Brian Harkin - RIP:
Vinnie Baker - RIP: In 1982, Vinny quit the business and took a job in a factory and stopped playing guitar for about 4 years. He got back into playing when he started teaching his son and was soon into recording trying to have his own songs demo'd. The recording bug took Vinny and he was soon the owner of a new recording studio with a live recording room that doubles as a classroom to do guitar lessons in. He released his first solo album, 'So', in 2003 and he continued to play and record regularly with the Tennessee Country Breakdown Band, along with other groups throughout the Midlands and across the country until his death. Sadly, Vinnie died very suddenly on the 20th of July, 2013. Our sympathies are extended to his family and friends.  
  Brian O'Mahony:
  Francie Canning:
  Tony McDermott:
  Martin Gildea:
  Chris Collum:

 

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