All the news from 2007 on the site and the scene.....
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articles from Irish papers
December 26, 2007...Joe Dolan,
sadly passes away.
(From the Irish Times)
Irish showband singer
Joe Dolan has died today after falling ill on
Christmas Day. The 68-year-old sold millions of records and
had a string of hits around the world in a
career which spanned four decades. The singer's management team said he had been
with his family in Dublin yesterday when he was
rushed to the Mater Private Hospital where he
died surrounded by friends and family just after
Dolan had suffered an illness in the autumn
and was forced to cancel tours on the advice of
doctors due to exhaustion. Dolan had been in the
middle of a tour - due to include a sold out
return to Vicar Street in Dublin - when he
became ill in October.
Dolan's first job was as a compositor with
his local newspaper, the Westmeath Examiner
before he and his brother Joe joined the The
Drifters to embark on a successful musical
career. After a number of hit singles in Ireland,
Dolan became an international star with his song
Make Me An Island which reached number
3 in the UK charts 1969 and went on to become a
number 1 hit in 14 other countries.
Dolan is survived by his brothers, Ben, Paddy
and Vincent and sisters, Dympna and Imelda. (Our
condolences go out to his family and many
friends in the industry.)
Click here for
special tribute to Joe and his career.
December 10, 2007...Barry Scully passes away
(First reported to us by Des Hickey)
Once more I'm the bearer of sad tidings.
Barry Scully passed away on Monday last
Dec.10th Barry was the bass player and
musical director with Bee Bop Gold, a very
popular band working around Dublin. He
performed as usual at their regular Sunday
night spot at the Submarine in Walkinstown.
On Monday morning he felt unwell and
returned to bed. A short time later he
suffered a stroke and an ambulance was
called. He had a heart attack on the way to
hospital and sadly could not be revived. He
Barry played with many bands including
and the Gents
, Roly Daniels and with
. He played with Dickie Rock for many
years and continued to "dep" with Dickie
whenever the usual bass player was
unavailable. I was working with him only
He was witty, intelligent and most helpful
whenever I had any musical problems. (and I
had many!). His stories and anecdotes kept
me entertained for hours. If he had written
a book about his life, it would have been a
smash. It would have left the current crop
in the shade. He will be greatly missed by
his many friends, but especially missed by
his widow, Noreen, whom he also considered
to be his best friend. May he rest in Peace.
(Editor's note: It was with great sadness that we learned of Barry's passing, he had been an active member of the site for
the past few years. Below is his complete
listing of bands from his own entry:)
Bands: Ray Richards Showband. 1960. Emile Ford and the Checkmates
1960/62. Bandleader Resident Band The Regent Rooms London 62/63. The Beat
Brothers (Hamburg) 63/65. Gene and the Gents 65/69 The Green County 71/72. Spice
(resident Donaghmeade Inn Dublin) + studio work; (The Dubliners, Dickie Rock
etc.).72/78 returned to music studys (orchestration/composition)79/82..... 83 to
present day Dickie Rock Band. I also play with The Bee Bop Gold Rock 'n' Roll
Show with occasional stints with the National Concert Orchestra and the pit
bands of the Gaiety and Olympia theatres. Still at it, Still lovin' it..... btw
My son Jeff plays drums with the Rob Strong band.
December 7, 2007...Bandleader
Michael O'Callaghan Passes Away
reported to us by member Liam O'Reilly)
Buttevant, Co. Cork's Michael
O'Callaghan passed away on December 7th at Mallow General
Hospital. Michael was the former bandleader with one of Cork's
most famous showbands. Although the Michael O'Callaghan band
never achieved the fame opr notoriety of some of their peer like
the Dixies, they were none the less one of the top bands in
Munster during the showband era.
Our sincere sympathies go out to Michael's
friends and family.
November 29, 2007...Dana to Revive
Fran O'Toole Hit
(By Eddie McIlwaine From the
A song written by one of the murdered members of the
Showband is set to be revived when it is performed by Eurovision
winner Dana. Love Is, written by Fran O'Toole, will be heard
once more when Taoiseach Bertie Ahern unveils a memorial next
month to him and his two fellow musicians who lost their lives
in the outrage. Fran wrote the song just two months before he
died in the UVF massacre 32 years ago.
The ballad, which swept into the Irish charts when it was re
leased soon after the killing in July 1975, will echo out at the
Parnell Square ceremony on December 10. The romantic song, written
and recorded by O'Toole, who was 29 when he died, was released
posthumously as an immediate tribute to Fran and the band. This last
number, written by the young man, who was an Irish idol, will be
performed by Dana who will also be singing a hymn at the poignant
Trumpet players Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy were also shot dead
by UVF gunmen in Army uniforms, who waved the Miami showbus down on
the way home from a dance at Banbridge where they had been playing
that night of July 31, 1975. Stephen Travers, who was seriously
injured, and Des Lee survived the attack and will be at the
unveiling along with drummer Ray Millar of Antrim, who had travelled
home by car from Banbridge after the dance.
Two of the murder gang were killed at the scene when a bomb they
were attempting to load onto the Miami wagon exploded prematurely.
Personalities from the showband era in Ireland, including Dickie
Rock, who once sang with the Miami, Red Hurley and Tony Kenny will
be in Parnell Square for the unveiling. Bass player Travers has
written a book about the killings called The Miami Showband
Massacre: A Survivor's Search for the Truth. Dana will be signing
copies of her autobiography All Kinds of Everything in Easons of
Donegal Place, Belfast, on Saturday afternoon at 3.30pm
November 29, 2007...Dickie to Rock the
(From the Ulster Herald
After many requests by Tyrone fans for legendry Irish showman,
Dickie Rock, to play Cookstown, the Miami Showband lead singer will
make his première performance at the Burnavon Arts and Cultural
Centre on Wednesday, December 12, just in time to 'rock' around the
Christmas tree. Dickie was one of the biggest stars of the Irish
Showband era with a colossal 25 top ten hits with songs such as From
the Candy Store On The Corner, There's Always Me and For Oldtimes' Sake. Following
the recent successful RTE documentary about Dickie and his place at
the forefront of the legendary Irish showband scene, his loyal fans
throughout the country have been clamouring for a chance to relive
those glory days with sell out shows in Dublin and Cork. Manager
Tony McCance said, "We are delighted that he has chosen the Burnavon
to relive his classic showband hits from the 60s and 70s. He will
also 'rock' the Burnavon with versions of contemporary Irish hits."
November 15, 2007...The Freshmen
(From the Ulster Herald
Former sixties showband idol
Derek Dean is the latest singer to have his autobiography, The
Freshmen Unzipped, published by Merlin Publishing. Strabane-born
Derek McMenamin was a former teaching student before joining the
Ballymena based Freshmen Showband back in 1963. Sharing the vocal
spotlight with the late Billy Brown he changed his name to Derek
Dean and clocked up hits with titles such as Papa-Oo-Mow-Mow, Go
Granny Go, La Yenka, etc. The author reveals the darker side of the
showband era, money, parties, alcohol drug abuse and
November 5, 2007...Big Tom to hit The
(From the Irish Independent
crooner Big Tom (McBride) is about to hit the
road with a nostalgic "oldies" tour in the New
Year. The showband star, who nearly died from a
heart attack last year, has re-grouped his
Mainliners band for the tour. The original band members are
now taking a break from current roles in life to
re-join Big Tom on the circuit. A band insider
said yesterday: "It was inevitable this would
happen ... even before Big Tom had fully
recovered, he indicated it was his wish to get
back on the road soon."
October 29, 2007...Death of Don Long
Manchester, From Monday, 29 October, 2007
from Joe Silmon.
Today, 29th October 2007, at 6 a.m., our old friend and colleague
Daniel "Don" Long, ex-trombonist with the
Capitol Showband and a
popular Jazz trombonist and vocalist on the Manchester Jazz scene
since the late 1960s, died peacefully in his sleep, at St. Ann’s
Hospice, near Cheadle, Cheshire. He had been suffering from Cancer
of the sinus for approximately a year, following a quintuple heart
bypass three years ago. He spoke often about his wonderful times
with the Capitol Showband and of many of his Irish friends in
Dublin, Cork, etc., and the great festivals in his homeland, which I
believe he left in approximately 1969, for England, shortly after
the Capitol Showband disbanded temporarily. Don was 69 years of age
After initial lessons as a young lad of about sixteen, and
practising with friends, Don eventually joined the Capitol Showband
in 1961, replacing Pat Loughman (trombone). Between 1961 and
1968-69, while in the Capitol Showband, Don played alongside Butch
Moore (vocals), Jimmy Hogan (guitar), Des Kelly (bass), Johnny Kelly
(drums), Eamonn Monahan (keyboards), Paddy Cole (sax/clarinet) and
Paul Sweeney (trumpet), Paul being replaced by Bramwell (“Bram”)
McCarthy in 1963. Don then joined Bob Wallis and his Storyville
Jazzmen, etc., in London, in approximately 1969. He has since played
in Ireland, England and Scandinavian countries with the Clusky-Hopkins
Original Guinness Jazz Band, frequently remembering Barry, Des,
Billy, Bob, Mike (“Magic”), Peter, Paddy (Cole), Brian, Danny, Andy,
Doug and several others too numerous to mention. He was very popular
at every Cork Festival that he graced by his presence. Don “depped”
in other bands too.
In 1969 Don settled in Manchester with his wife Mary; their
daughters Claire and Jane were born here. Between 1969 and 70, he
played at the Carousel (Plymouth Grove – the old Astoria Ballroom).
From Manchester, he did many tours all over the world, including
Canada and the USA, and especially worked for long periods at the
Casa Bar, Zurich. He was sometimes with the Piccadilly Six (ex-Back
O’Town Syncopators’ personnel) in other parts of Switzerland.
Between the 70s and 90s Don was based at Ganders go South, off
Deansgate, Manchester, leading his own band.
approximately three years at Chorlton Conservative Club, Manchester,
with his own 59th Street Bridge Band and Alan Yates's Dixieland
Hotshots between the Millennium and about 2003-4, he played and sang
with The Jazz Gentlemen and guested frequently with Keith Allcock's
band at the "Jazz Rendezvous" at both the Haresfinch Social Club in
St. Helens, Lancs., and the Club's earlier venue in the same area,
during which time he also played at “Beaky’s” (Beaconsfield
Conservative Club) Ashton-under-Lyne, in Norman Pennington’s band. One of his last regular jobs was with Mart
Rodger’s Manchester Jazz, which got him touring again. The last two
years of his life put him out of circulation, but he was a fighter
to the end, itching to practise on his trombone. If he died under
the illusion that he was playing, he could not have had a better
May I extend my deepest condolences to his family here in
Manchester, to his relatives and friends in Ireland - where Don has
left a son and a daughter from his first marriage - and to all of
his friends elsewhere.
Yours sincerely, Joe Silmon (ex-colleague and friend of Don’s and
friend of the family here in Manchester).
The funeral will take place,
starting at St. Joseph’s R.C. Church, Plymouth Grove, Longsight,
Manchester M13 0LY at 11:30 a.m. on Friday 2nd November, followed by
cremation at Manchester Crematorium, Southern Cemetery, Barlow Moor
Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, M21 7GL. A reception will be held
afterwards at the Metropolitan Hotel, Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury,
M20 2WS, from 1:45 pm onward. Family flowers only. However, anyone
wishing to do so may make a donation to St. Ann's Hospice, St. Ann's
Road North, Heald Green, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 3SZ.
October 23, 2007...Death of Bernard "Bernie"Fallon
It is with
sincere regret that we learned of the death of Bernie Fallon,
original member and former drummer with The Smokey Mountain Ramblers
and The Rocky Tops in his native Sligo today. He was 61. Bernie
started his career playing with the St. Mary's Ceili Bandshow before
joining Pat Ely's band in the mid 1960's, along with long time band
mate Tommy Higgins. After leaving the showband scene in the early
70's Bernie played the Sligo pub scene for many years before
retiring from playing several years ago. We extend our deepest
sympathies to Bernie's family and friends.
His funeral will take place Thursday, October 25th at 11:00 a.m. in
St. Anne's Church with burial immediately after in the Sligo
May he Rest in Peace.
October 21, 2007...Death of Mick O'Grady
From Tom Foley...It is with
sincere regret that we learned from Tom that Mick O'Grady, former
bass player with the Vampires passed away yesterday, October 20,
2007. Our sincere condolences go out to Mick's family and friends.
We will publish more details here when we learn more.
October 11, 2007....Death of Robbie Walsh
From Des Hickey...Singer
Robbie Walsh passed away on Saturday October 6th at Tallaght
Hospital following a heart attack. He was 60. Robbie was a
popular figure on the Dublin "beat group" scene in the Sixties
and Seventies. I worked with him in The Magazine, until he left
to form Adolph J. Rag and later Honey Suite with Noel Cullen
(bass), Danny O'Keefe (now a freelance drummer) and guitarist
Tony Geraghty who was murdered by loyalist terrorists during the
Miami ambush. Robbie was a talented singer in the style of Joe
Cocker and was both imaginative and innovative as a performer.
He would often suspend a rope in front of the stage from which
he would swing out over the audience. Of course the rope snapped
one night, and Robbie left the gig in an ambulance! I'm sure that all who knew him would wish to
remember Robbie in their thoughts and prayers, and would want to
extend their deepest sympathies to his widow Mary, his children
Nina, Lisa and John, and his grandchildren Craig and Ross. May
he Rest in Peace.
Editor's Note: We at
www.irish-showbands.com extend our deepest sympathies to
Robbie's wife, family and friends..
October 8, 2007...New Images online
Our thanks to Kathleen Smith
for adding new images to her Collection. See them here:
October 4, 2007...More New Images online
Our thanks to several members
who have contributed photos lately-Liam O'Reilly, Tom Greeley, and
Des Hickey. See them here:
September 10, 2007...Steven Travers
Launches Miami Book
the early hours of 31st July 1975, The Miami Showband
was stopped at a military checkpoint. As they were held at gunpoint
outside their VW minibus, a bomb that – unknown to the band members
– was being loaded on to their bus exploded prematurely destroying
the bus and catapulting the band members into a nearby field. As
Stephen Travers lay seriously wounded in the field he listened to
the cries of his friends as they were mercilessly gunned down and
the steps of the gunmen getting closer… Here is his story.
What is it like to survive such
an atrocity? To live when those around you die? Now, Stephen Travers
remembers the highs and lows of being in one of the most successful
showbands of the 1970s and how it all ended in a terrifying moment.
In a moving and honest quest for truth and reconciliation, he tries
to come to terms with what happened. Stephen wants to understand but
will he find the answers when he meets the men responsible for the
massacre face to face?
August 21, 2007....Johnny Lynam passes away.
Sadly. we report that Johnny Lynam, brother of
singer Ray Lynam and bass player with the
Hillbillies passed away in Moate, Co. Westmeath on 21st August after a long illness.
Johnny continued to be involved with brother Ray, acting as road
manager for Ray's band during the late 80's and early 90's after
giving up playing on a regular basis. Our sincerest condolences go
out to Johnny's family and friends and Ray on their loss.
August 1, 2007...Tommy Makem Passes Away
YORK (Reuters) - Irish folk singer Tommy Makem, born in Keady, Co.
Armagh and dubbed by some critics as the godfather of Irish music,
has died from lung cancer in the United States. He was 74.
"He died in Dover, in New Hampshire, to where he
immigrated first in 1955 when he went to America," his nephew Peter
Makem told Ireland's RTE radio on the Internet on Thursday.
Makem rose to fame in the 1960s with the Clancy
Brothers, then pursued a successful solo career that took him to
Australia, the United States, Britain, and Canada.
In the late 1960s, Makem penned "Four Green
Fields," a mother's melancholy lament about her "sons," representing
the four historic provinces of Ireland. The ballad became one of his
signature songs. Decades later, Makem produced a number of music
specials for U.S. public television that featured folk legends like
Judy Collins and Pete Seeger, according to his Web site
(www.makem.com)Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers told RTE radio
that Makem had inoperable lung cancer and died late on Wednesday.
Irish President Mary McAleese described Makem as a consummate
musician and superb ambassador for his country."In life, Tommy
brought happiness and joy to hundreds of thousands of fans the world
over," she said in a statement on her Web site.
August 1, 2007.....New
Thanks to contributions from Larry Flood and
Teddie Palmer we have started work on features on two bands, The
The New Blues. As with all our
features, we usually start with a collection of photos and then
build the story of the band, an extended photo gallery, a table of
all the band's lineups over the years, a complete discography, a
selection of audio clips, and finally "where are they now" for as
many members of the band as we can track down. For a complete
listing of all the features we currently have,
July 27, 2007....New
Many new photos have been added to the site over
the last week including several of Showband legend, Mick Delahunty
which were kindly provided by Bill Bourke. They include a photo of
the Mick's Orchestra from 1946. They can be found here:
June 28, 2007.....Singer
in tune for charity (from The Comet)
THE lead singer of a former Irish top
20 band is hoping to raise £1,000 for a cancer charity. Dushie Chetty, now a
management trainee consultant at the Goldsmith Management Centre on Broadway in
Letchworth GC, was the lead singer of Gene and the Gents during the 1960s and
Dushie, 63, is currently selling copies of his CD, The End of the World, to
raise money for Cancer Research UK. The CD costs £3 and every penny is donated
to the charity. To date, Dushie has raised £700, but he is hoping to hit his
target of £1,000.
The CD is available at the Goldsmith Management Centre in Letchworth GC and
North Hertfordshire College in both Stevenage and Hitchin.
June 19, 2007....Liz Allen of Starband
We recently heard from Liz Allen who was the second "Julie" in
Starband and remained with the band for two years before eventually leaving when
Dee McMahon returned from her pregnancy leave. Liz then emigrated with Des and
the lads to South Africa in 1982 when the band split up. She played with them
for a few years before joining the band Shiraz and eventually emigrated to
Australia where she remains today. More on Starband
June 1, 2007....Tony Loughman, Monaghan music legend
the Mayo News) Tony Loughman, who died in
his native Castleblayney last week, was a central player in the
Irish country music scene for many years. He was aged 64 and had
been coping with an illness for some time. He was predeceased by his
daughter Edel last year.
During the late 1970s and well into the ‘80s, Tony
directed the hugely successful Top Rank organisation that was the
biggest management operation in country music on the island of
Ireland in those years. Several of the biggest names in the business
operated out of the Top Rank stable including Big Tom, Philomena
Begley, Susan McCann, Paddy Cole, Hugo Duncan and a host of others.
The company also ran a chain of ballrooms and venues. The furthest
flung venue from Castleblayney was the Macra Hall in Abbeyleix.
Tony’s company had its own recording studio in Castleblayney as well
as its own weekly publication, Entertainment News, which had a
nationwide distribution bringing readers up to date with all the
happenings on the country music circuit. I had the privilege of
editing the Entertainment News magazine for a time and lived in
Castleblayney for some months. In many ways, the Loughman enterprise
was an empire within the structures of the country music scene here
Tony started out as a quarryman and often said
that it gave him a great grounding in understanding the ordinary
people. He later served for a term or two as a member of
Castleblayney UDC. A strong footballer, he won eleven Monaghan
senior championship medals with Castleblayney Faughs and was a big
supporter of the club all his life. As a teenager, he captained
Monaghan to an Ulster minor final win while he also played for the
Monaghan senior team for a number of years during the 1960s.
Immersed in the culture of the GAA, his son Declan was a member of
the Monaghan senior team for several seasons.
But outside his native county, he was mainly
associated with the world of country music and the promotion of
shows. He was a regular visitor to Mayo and the last time I met Tony
was in the TF in Castlebar last year. In recent times, he had being
doing a lot of promotion work for Deirdre Reilly, the
Nashville-based singer whose dad is from Belmullet. Fr Brian D’Arcy
was the chief celebrant at his Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Church,
Castleblayney and among the overflow congregation were many
well-known people from the showbiz and circuit including Big Tom,
Phil Begley, Derek Davis (RTÉ), Susan McCann, Paddy Cole and many
more. Tony is survived by his wife Joan, sons Declan and Anthony,
daughters Caroline and Ciara, in-laws, grandchildren, brother Noel
and sister Sheila, relatives and friends.
May 22, 2007.....Accordion
and Showband legend, Dermot O'Brien passes away
Dermot O Brien, Irish showband legend, has passed away in Ardee
after returning to Ireland from the United States after a long illness.
The renowned musician and singer's recording of 'The Merry
Ploughboy' went straight to number 1 in the Irish Charts in
1966. Dermot also hosted his own television programmes,
including 'The Dermot O'Brien Show' on RTÉ television and his
talents as an accordion player were respected the world over. He
also had a great love of the Irish language and his All Ireland
winning speech in 1957 was delivered primarily in the native
tongue. With his Clubmen, he toured the Irish and English
ballroom circuit in the sixties, before moving into cabaret in
the 70's and 80's.
Dermot joined the renowned Jury's Irish Cabaret in 1995 and
spent six happy years performing with them in Dublin and on
their US tours. After the 2000 season, Dermot left to pursue his
solo career. He spent the summers performing in Ireland, after
which he returned to his home base in New York. Most recently,
Dermot toured the U.S. in 2002 with a very successful Christmas
Tour featuring himself and Deirdre Reilly.
Dermot is also well know as Louth's 1957 All-Ireland winning
captain. A member of the St Mary's club in Ardee, he won three
Louth Senior Football championship medals in 1951, 1956 and 1960
and also played for one year with Navan O Mahony's. In 1953, he
won a Leinster Senior Championship medal as part of the Louth
team that defeated Wexford in the Leinster final. In 1957, he
won his second Leinster Championship medal when Louth defeated
Dublin in the Leinster final, and in September of that year
lifted the Sam Maguire cup on behalf of the Wee County.
Dermot's beloved wife, Rosemary died on January 15, 2005. Our condolences to
Dermot's daughters, Catheryne, Grace and Roisin, his sons Ronan and Dermot, and
the rest of his family and friends.