Tallmen Feature (1971-79?)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The Tallmen were launched by manager Greg Hughes in
April, 1971 and starred Hugo Duncan. Hugo had previously been doing
cabaret around his native Strabane, but this was his first
experience fronting a showband. The original lineup included: Hugo Duncan
(vocals), Damien Given (trumpet - Derrick & the Sounds), Pio McCann
(bass-Buckaroos), Leo Doran (sax-Plattermen), Paddy Phillips
(keyboards), Sean Phillips (drums) and Aidan McPeake (keyboards).
The last three members had been playing together locally as
Pieces of Eight. They new band was based in Omagh.
Hugo had started singing early on and was a
regular prize winner at local feisanna throughout the North. At age
11, he got a part in the local pantomime production and knew performing
was in his future. After leaving school, Hugo got a job in the local
nylon factory and while there, he got friendly with members of the
Melody Aces. In May, 1970, he joined the band and shared lead vocal
chores with Shay Hutchinson while playing the bass.
After six months, Hugo left the Aces and was
spotted by bassist Pio McCann of the Polka Dots during a local
talent contest. Frankie McBride had just left the Polka Dots and
Hugo was asked to join. Unfortunately, the union didn't last long as
the Polka Dots soon went off the road. Pio McCann got a job in a new
band being put together by Greg Hughes which would become the Tallmen. He suggested Hugo and the band hit the road on Easter
Hugo's first record was
Little Sweetheart c/w Morning Dew which was produced by
legendary accordionist, footballer and singing star, Dermot O'Brien
However, the record was banned on RTE because it contained the line,
"when old Ireland's wrongs are righted." They followed it up quickly
with "Dear God," which climbed to number 3 in the Irish charts,
giving the band the push they needed to quickly establish themselves
on the ballroom circuit.
In November, 1974 Pascal Mooney reported in
Spotlight that Hugo had been signed by Top Rank Entertainment and
would be fronting a new band. A few weeks later, the new band
advertised as the "New Tallmen," was on the road with Anne Lynch (formerly of the
Tribesmen and sister of Jan "Shelly" Lynch ) sharing lead vocals
As for the original Tallmen, it is a
little unclear what happened. However, an advert in December, 1975
in Spotlight announced a new lead singer with the band, Har, who had
previously fronted the Escorts in the early 1970's. We are not sure
what happened with the two "Tallmen" bands as they were
managed by different managers. We think the New Tallmen
changed their names to the Hugo Duncan Band and we are
researching whether this is what happened.
With Har out front, the band released another
few singles, including Where Has All The Love Gone in 1977.
By 1979, Har had been joined by Patricia on lead vocals. However, we
can't find any information on any records the band released after
1978, nor when the band may have eventually gone off the road. If
you have any info, please send us an email and let us know.
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image