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Glen Brown remembers a 60's showband from Larne that cut a record.

THE HIGH SEAS SHOWBAND - LARNE - Contributed by Glen Brown

The band was resident in the Kings Arms Ballroom in the late 6Os that had also toured Ireland, Scotland and North of England. The band line up was Larne locals; Norman Purdy (RIP), Thelma Hall, Jackie Gault, Alex Newell, Bobby Duff, Jim Hill, Wilbert Clements and Alex Brown (cousin of the Late Billy Brown of The Freshmen). Another local Stuart Gillespie joined the band after its formation. The band cut a demo Extended Play (EP) record (disc) featuring the following four numbers.

Side 1.
(a) I'D STILL BE THERE (vocal).
(b) I CAN'T GO ON (vocal).

Side 2.
(a) IN MY ROOM (vocal).

LARNE other bands include,
THE REGENT SHOWBAND that was resident band at the Pavilion Ballroom, Larne. The line-up from Larne and Magheramorne.

In the mid-late 60s when the Regent Showband disbanded Tommy Cameron formed The Cameron Clan with Larne members, Herbie Crooks (RIP), Derek Hunter and Robert Magill*. They became very popular and released an LP "Lightening Express". In 2004 I donated my copy of the latter record to the Larne Historical Centre.

* On my recent visit to Larne (June 2005) I met my old pal Robert Magill (former Regent Showband & Cameron Clan member) and we chatted briefly about the band days. Robert (Rab) is sending me the Cameron Clan line up and their respective band roles to refresh my memory. Tommy Cameron went on to a solo career as Fiddlin' Tom artist recording several CDs (including "I'm not the boy I used to be") and videos to his credit,

Swinging 60s Ballrooms in Larne Borough included, The Kings Arms Hotel, McNeills Hotel, The Laharna Hotel, The Pavilion, The Plaza, with The Rinka (Islandmagee) and Smiths (Carnlough).

Public dancing was also held in the BTH/AEI/GEC run by the Football Section featuring amongst others, 'The Caroline Showband' and Larnes own popular 'The High Seas Showband'. Concerts were also held included, 'The Whiteheather Show' featuring Jimmy Shand and his Band and 'the Val Doonigan Show'. On one occasion a young Frank Carson was a fill-in comedian act during an interval for £5 + Supper. The latter was an expected bonus for him as he asked me if there was a fish and chip shop nearby. Mrs Rea our Canteen Manager always put on a good spread for the artistes.

In the 1950s ROBERT WILSON the famous Scottish singer appeared in Larne (Town Hall?). This delighted my mother for they share the same birthplace, Cambuslang in Lanarkshire. Mother and her WI friends met the renowned singer after his show. Later I inherited an LP of Roberts recording, which I treasure for his wonderful voice, memories of my Mother and my Scots grandmother. I discovered recently that I could see Robert perform in film at the British Pathe News archive website.

I'm hopeful that YOU readers will add others not mentioned including any members known names?

Postscript by the author:

Sorry folks for my error, in the original line-up of The High Seas (HSs), I omitted my old friend, a great character with a good sense of humour and also a former Larne ATC cadet "Louis Craig".

We had many beers and many laughs. Away back in the mid 60s on a snowy winters night, Louis and I were in his wee Austin heading to a hall out in the country where the HSs were to play. Because of the bad weather we got diverted by a police patrol. On coming down the hill the wee car caught black ice, took off, spun around, bounced of a snowdrift and back onto its four wheels. When it quickly cooled I think we had to melt snow by rubbing our hands to refill the cars radiator. When we got to the hall they were waiting for the wee Austin. It carried another spare battery to help run the bands equipment, there being no electicty in the hall. I hear Louis visits Larne every year from his home in Canada, our paths have yet to cross again.

Back in 1966 Robert Magill ex Regent Showband featured in the line up of THE COASTERS SHOWBAND along with; Morris Boyd, Tommy Cameron, Ronnie Clugston, Owen Kelly, Tom McGookin, Sammy Todd and John Weir.

The CAMERON CLAN featured; Tom Cameron, Herbie Crooks RIP, Derek Hunter, Robert Magill and another?

Herbie Crooks died in a tragic road accident the band suffered a great loss. Tom Cameron became Fiddlin' Tom, his musical talents feature on audio & video tapes and cds including, "I'm not the boy I used to be".

In recent years I saw Tom performing and at the annual Lammas Fair in Ballycastle. Anyone able to supply information on any Larne Borough groups and band names from the 60s to present. Where possible; any photographs, Line-up names, roles and venues played.

PLEASE email me at laharna60s! (replace ! with @ ) Regards, Glen Brown.



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