Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The Royal Blues Story
in Claremorris, Co. Mayo in April, 1963, the Royal Blues were one of The
West's first successful top tier showbands. They were managed by the late
Andy Creighton, who would later guide the fortunes of the
Plattermen, Memories, and a host of other bands. The band made it
big very quickly and within six weeks of being formed, went on a
tour of the Irish halls in the United States. They would also tour
the States every year after that during Lent, during which time the Irish
dancing scene closed down.
The band was formed when four members of
Pete Brown's Band of Renown from Kiltimagh left to strike out on
their own. Frank Gill (sax), his brother Vincent (trombone), Brian
Carr (bass), and Doc Carroll (guitar) rounded out the new lineup
with Shay O'Hara (vocals),
Don Flanagan (drums), Bobby Smith (trumpet),
and Brendan Arnold (guitar). Doc, Brendan and Vincent were also
featured vocalists along with Shay. Based in Claremorris, their reputation grew
very quickly and in only a few months,
they became one of the industry's top draws, and they were soon
packing them in across the country.
Their first record in 1965 was Loves Going
to Live Here which was sung by Shay O'Hara, but wasn't a great
success. However, their big break came with their next single,
Old Man Trouble, which featured Doc Carroll on vocals. The
record shot straight to number 1 in the Irish charts and made the
band a household name. Even though the band would never again enjoy
a number one hit, they did continue to make records that reached the
Irish top ten.
Far Away From You featuring Doc Carroll went to number 8 in
1966, as well as Shay's Santa Natale which also reached
In April, 1968, Shay O'Hara left the band to
replace Houston Wells in the Premier Aces, and
manager Andy Creighton was quoted in Spotlight magazine and
saying he would not be replaced. Shay was quoted in Spotlight's
April 20th, 1968 issue saying, "I was unhappy with the Blues because
they weren't doing enough of my kind of music." Although they continued on as a
seven piece for a time, they eventually added Dublin man, Joe Quigley.
In the meantime, Doc Carroll had become
the main vocalist after the success of Old Man Trouble.
During the mid 60's, the Royal Blues also toured the Irish dance
halls in the United States on an annual basis. They were in America
during the turbulent times following the assassination of Martin
Luther King, Jr.
In the October 3rd, 1969 issue of Spotlight,
the band announced they were going to record a country and western
album, and also mentioned the addition of a new singer, Joe
Quigley and new trombone player, Pat Lynch who was replacing manager
Vincent Gill in the band. Vincent was also quoted as saying, "Shay
O'Hara, who has gone to Australia." So we know he had left the
band to emigrate and, in fact recently passed away in Australia in
March, 2009. Strangely enough though, Vincent was still
pictured as being part of the lineup in March, 1971 and apparently
did not leave the stage.
In June, 1971, the band released the last
single to feature Doc Carroll. Night Runners b/w Be My
Guest did not make an impact on the charts and it came just before a new
lead singer joined the band.
In October, 1971, Pascal Mooney announced in
his Dateline London column in Spotlight that the band
had added singer, whom he described as a "comparative unknown."
Although not named in the article, this was Jon Lord. At this point
Doc Carroll was still with the band and Pascal mentioned Doc would
"continue to play an important part in the group's restructuring." A
few months later, it was reported that Jon had been discovered by
manager Tommy Hayden who saw him in cabaret in the Drake Inn,
By the early
seventies, the era of the big ballrooms and the big showbands was
waning and the band underwent a major change. In February, 1972, Doc Carroll followed
the lead of peers like Brendan Bowyer and Dickie Rock and left the
Royal Blues after 10 years to form his
own band, The Nightrunners. The new band would boast two future
superstars in addition to Doc...Tom Allen (who became TR Dallas) and
his brother Tony, who would go to worldwide fame as half of Foster
and Allen. The last single Doc recorded with the Royal Blues was
The New Blues take over
The Royal Blues, like several
other bands of the era, faced a dilemma after losing Doc. They also
apparently lost lead singer Jon Lord as they
brought in a new lead singer who used the stage name (we think), Bobby Magee,
along with Dave and Larry Flood and renamed themselves The New
Blues. Vincent Gill remained a member of the new lineup for at
least a short time. Additionally Jon Lord was gone at this time.
Meanwhile, late in 1971, a relatively young (23)
Glen Curtin came home to Cork after spending 3 years in England on
the cabaret scene. He was recruited to front a new band called
simply, Glen Curtin's Band. Along with a 16 year old Cork girl who
went under the name, Tara, the new band was managed by Matt Nodwell
who had previously looked after the fortunes of Pat Lynch.
In May, 1972, an article in Spotlight reported
that Glen (whose own band had not done well) had been drafted
into a reconstituted New Blues along with Tara, the girl singer who had
also been with his own band previously. We think this was a mistake
as around this time a girl named Tara joined the new Sands and it
was Lola (aka Anne Mooney) who joined the New Blues. Glen's own band had only been
on the road for nine months. Explained Glen, "things didn't go as
well as expected and after nine months I was on the point of going
back to London when Tommy Hayden asked me to front the New Blues."
After this major change in personal, the band was not yet done. They
released a single with Glen called Don't Say A Word, which
introduced Glen, but didn't sell very well. At the same time, nearly
half the band left. Vincent Gill took over management was left the
stage. Also gone were Dave Flood, Bobby Smith and Brian Carr. They
were replaced by Brendan Arnold (bass), John O'Brien (guitar) and an
unknown musician who may have played trumpet (we are still
As with many bands who underwent
major changes, the New Blues never quite lived up to the success of
the Royal Blues, although they continued to do reasonable business
and had the very talented Glen Curtin, who recorded their only chart
single, I'd Love You to Want Me in 1973.
In 1974 Glen was tapped to replace
Red Hurley in the Nevada. Frank Gill joined Lola (Anne Mooney) as the band's two lead
singers. Larry Flood also left the band to move to Johnny McEvoy's Band, but had also left that band by February, 1975.
Based on info we received from Kieran Cavanagh, Vincent Gill had
returned to the stage and was playing trumpet and trombone.
1975 proved to be a tumultuous
year for the band. Early in the year, shakeups in the lineup lead
to big changes. Kieran
Cavanagh joined the band in March 1975. At that time Lola was still
there, but Glen Curtin had just left a short time earlier. Lola
departed later that year in July and an
article in Spotlight announced
the signing of Ballinasloe native, Nora Larkin as the band's new
female lead singer. She had previously been singing in England in
the Birmingham area, but returned home to take up the new position
with the Blues.
At the same time Lola, who was quoted in
Spotlight that "singing in the dance halls was repetitive and
uninteresting, moved into cabaret. There was talk of a single with
Tony Kenny, but we're not sure if it was released.
Frank Gill and the original
drummer, Paddy Glynn, were still in the band.
In early 1976, the
"new" New blues were formed with the exception of Kieran and Tommy
Lyndsey (both from Easkey, Co. Sligo), it was a new line up. The
band was then fronted by Carole Wallace from Drogheda and Keith
Beattie from Dublin.
Kieran Cavanagh takes
up the story from a recent email, "We were together until mid 1982
when I disbanded the band as manager and bass player. Everyone
scattered to various bands and walks of life, but of course our then
sax player, Ritchie Buckley, went on to great things playing with
Van Morrison and other well known International artists."
More to come....
click on thumbnails for full image
Love's Going To Live Here (Shay O'Hara)
Parlophone Records - Unknown - 1965
Old Man Trouble / You Never Know What You're Missing (Doc Carroll) -
#1 Irish Charts
Parlophone Records - DIP.508 - January, 1966
Far Away From You / Rosa Lee (I Can't Go On) (Doc Carroll) -
#8 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.17166 - September, 1966
Santa Natale / Stop The World (Shay O'Hara) -
#8 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.17228 - September, 1966
There Goes My Heart Again / Another Bridge To Burn (Doc Carroll)
Pye Records - 7N.17360 - August, 1967
Croce D'Oro / Here's A Toast to You, Claddagh (Shay O'Hara) -
#18 Irish Charts
Pye Records - Unknown - October, 1967
Santa Natale / Stop The World (Shay O'Hara) Re-released
Pye Records - Unknown - September, 1966
Mountain of Love / Wishful Thinking
Pye Records - 7N.17670 - December, 1968
Mendocino / Hi-Lilli, Hi-Lo
Pye Records - 7N.17732 - May, 1969
Proud Mary / Sunny Girl Friend
Pye Records - 7N.17769 - June, 1969
High As A Mountain / Wildwood Flower
Pye Records - 7N.17847 - November, 1969
Slaney Valley / She's Leaving Town (Frank Gill)
Release Records - RL.575 - March, 1971
Night Runners / Be My Guest (Doc Carroll)
Release Records - RL.586 - May, 1971
Golden Guinea Records - GGI.0449 - November, 1969
Don't Say A Word (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records - 1972
Love Me Love Me Love Me (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records - 1973
All For The Love of Sunshine (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records, October, 1973
I'd Love You To Want Me / Meadow Green (Glen Curtin) -
#7 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - November, 1973
Down By The River / Little Pleasure Acre (Lola)
Hawk Records - HASP 324 - 1973
Over and Over (Lola)
Hawk Records -
Unknown - September, 1974
I'm So Afraid of Falling / The Snows of '49 (Lola)
Hawk Records - HASP 355 - December 1974
Dance / You Lose A Lover (But Gain A Friend) (Lola)
Tap Records - TAP 003 - 1976
Never Can Tell / If I Could Ever Win Your Love (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 103 - 1977
Turn Away / Lovin On (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 107 - 1977
Baby You Should Be Laughing / All We Need Is Love (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 111 - 1978
Wayward Wind / Lovin On (Carole)
Dallas Records - DAL 103 - February, 1981
You Keep A Knocking / He Still Thinks I Care (Carole)
Dallas Records - DAL 105 - 1981
Our thanks to Peter
Kinsey for his help with this discography
Where Are They Now?
Shay O'Hara - RIP: After
leaving the Roya Blues in 1968, Shay went on to front the
Premier Aces from nearby Castlerea. Eventually, Shay
emigrated to Australia in 1969. Shay lived and worked in
Australia, gaining great popularity with the vast number of
Irish living "down under." Sadly, Shay passed away on March
Doc Carroll - RIP:
Doc left the Blues in 1972 and formed his own band, the
Nightrunners. He eventually changed the name of the band to
the Doc Carroll All Stars and continued to enjoy a very
successful career during the 80's, 90's and up until his
passing in 2005. One of the best loved of the showband era
stars, Doc had a long and very successful career both on and
||Brendan Arnold: If
you have info regarding Brendan,
please let us know.
||Brian Carr: Michael
Halligan writes us in early 2017 to say Brian is living in
Fuengirola, Spain and is a keen golfer
and a playing member in Cerrado del Aguila. He frequents
Finnegan's Pub in Fuengirola. If you
have more info regarding Brian,
please let us know.
||Don Flanagan: If you
have info regarding Don,
please let us know.
||Frank Gill: Peter
Kinsey writes to tell us that Frank Still tours around
Britain and Ireland with his own band these days.
||Bobby Smith: We
received an email from John Delaney in October, 2009 telling
us that Bobby lives in Dublin and still does various gigs
around the country, although we have no more details. If you
have additional info regarding Bobby,
please let us know.
||Vincent Gill: Peter
also tells us that Vincent is living in Killiney Dublin and
has a courier business.
Glen Curtin - RIP: Glen
left the New Blues to join the Nevada for a short time
before going out on his own to front The Galaxy Band. He
then enjoyed a very successful solo career and released a CD in
2001 called Wild Colonial Boy. Sadly, Glen passed
away on September 20, 2009 at the age of only 66.
||Lola (Anne Mooney):
Annie left the band to join the Big Eight. Annie (now
Mullin) writes us to tell us that after leaving the Big
Eight she did not work for about a year or two, but stayed
on in Las Vegas. She then formed her own band and worked on
the Las Vegas strip and eventually went on to have a very successful
duo called, simply "Annie and Kenny." She also got married.
Around 2001 she actually rejoined the band for a while and
worked with Brendan and Aisling Bowyer, but eventually gave
it up as it was too hard to be away from her family. Today
she currently manages a psychologist's office in Las Vegas,
but still sings regularly.
||John O'Brien: After
leaving the New Blues, John became the guitarist with
Ireland's pop group of the late 70's and early 80's,
Bagatelle who he is still with today.
||Paddy Glynn: John
Corless writes to tell us Paddy is living in Claremorris
these days and still gigs frequently. His son is a
professional soccer player.
Larry wrote us in January, 2011 to tell us he
left the New Blues in 1976 and formed a group called the
Hustle which became the House band in the Hitching Post,
Leixlip until 1980. He then then retired from music and
became a flight Instructor. Today he has his own phone and
electronics business in Dublin and is also Captain at
Knockanally Golf Club in Kildare for 2011.
Kieran hung up his bass and moved into management in the
late 70's. Today he runs KCP Promotions and over the years,
he has managed Gloria, Brush Shiels, Ray Lynam, Roly Daniels
and the Rascals. He even looked after the fortunes of Jerry
Lee Lewis for a time in the 1990's.
||Carole Wallace: Carol
retired from the entertainment business and today lives in
||Tommy Lyndsey: Kieran Cavanagh
tells us Tommy
runs a delivery service in his native Easkey and still
performs in his own one man band.
||John McManus: If you
have info regarding John,
please let us know.
||Tommy O'Gorman: Tommy
O'Gorman currently lives in Dublin where he is involved in
the transportation business.
Tommy O'Connor - RIP: We
received an email from Donal Cronin that Tommy sadly passed
away on December 2, 2013. Our sincere sympathies are
extended to his family and friends.
Ritchie went on to become one of Ireland's greatest
musicians. He has collaborate with Van Morrison, Freddie
Hubbard, Bob Dylan, Georgie Fame, Carlos Santana, Barry
Manilow, and Elvis Costello. He has also recorded and
performed with major Irish artists including The
Cranberries, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Sinead O’Connor,
Paul Brady and Bill Whelan. His critically acclaimed album
'Your Love is Here', featuring his own compositions and
guest artists Lew Soloff and the Robin Aspland Trio, was
recorded in September 2000.
||Keith Beattie: Keith
is now a teacher and as far as we know, he no longer