Maisie McDaniel Feature (active
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Solo - Fendermen - Nevada
Showband - Ramblers - Fintan and Maisie in cabaret
Anne McDaniel, "Maisie" was one of the
earliest female superstars of the Irish entertainment industry. At
the height of her fame, Maisie was a regular guest on Irish TV,
released several singles on English labels Beltona and Fontana
Records and was one of the most recognizable faces in Ireland.
Our first signal of Maisie's
impending fame came in a front page story in the Sligo Champion
newspaper in August 1958. Maisie, along with sister Deirdre, had
entered and won the ballad singing competition at the Cootehall (Co.
Roscommon) Feis. She had previously won the Strokestown Feis a month
earlier. She sang Noreen Bawn and She Lived Beside the
Maisie quickly grew her reputation as
a ballad singer and was once again in the headlines when she was
part of the group that represented Sligo in the All-Ireland Drama
Festival held in Athlone which they won, with Maisie getting special
mention for her part in the three act open competition, "God's
Gentry." By July, 1959 Maisie was beginning her career as a singer
and an advert appeared in the Irish Independent with queries about
booking her going to Kelly's in Sligo.
Within months, Maisie was appearing
in variety concerts across the Northwest and she continued to enter
(and win) ballad singing contests across the country. In February,
1960, she made her debut on Radio Eireann following a five months
stint appearing in London Irish Clubs. At thois point she4 was still
a ballad singer with "The Spinning Wheel" being one of her best
known songs. By May of 1960, she was being managed by International
Productions, Ltd in Dublin who managed everything from singers to
professional wrestling events.
She became a celebrity when she
won a major ballad competition in Swinford, Co. Mayo and turned
professional under the watchful eye of manager, George O'Reilly
around September, 1962. She was being advertised as "Ireland's
Sweetheart" and her fame was really skyrocketing. Her first single was released in 1961 on the
English Beltona record label, it featured Forty Shades of Green
and Lovely Armoy.
Interestingly, In November, 1962, the Fendermen
"vocal group from England" played the Abbey Ballroom Drogheda. A few
weeks later, Maisie was being advertised appearing with the
Fendermen, but we don't know if this was the same group.
Starting in December 1962 and for the next
couple of years Maisie was playing the ballroom circuit with her Fendermen which broke up in mid-1964 and formed the new
Showband with lead singer Jimmy Breen who had left the Casino
Maisie's earliest recordings were typical girl
pop vocals on the UK Fontana label, but it was George who suggested
Maisie move to country and western music and she never looked back.
However, even though she was a major star, appearing on (R)TE's
Jamboree programme and Maureen Potter's radio show, the Fendermen were dwarfed by the powerhouse lineups of showbands like Brendan Bowyer and the Royal, Butch Moore and The
Capitol, and Dickie Rock and the Miami.
After the demise of the Fendermen, later in 1964, manager George
decided it was time for Maisie to front a bigger band and she was
drafted as lead singer with the newly named Nevada showband, who had achieved only moderate
success with Brian O'Brien as their lead singer and previously been
known as the Artones and then the Jets Showband. On St. Stephen's
Night, 1964, the band debuted in the Premier Ballroom in Thurles, Co.
Tipperary. Within weeks, the band was seen as one of the best
lineups in the country, but Maisie's role in their success was to be
On January 21, 1965, tragedy struck
when she was seriously injured (breaking her hip) in an accident as
a passenger in a car driven by showband
entrepreneur, Oliver Barry. She was off the road, out of the Nevada
and hospitalized for several months after the accident.
And because of the accident, Maisie missed her chance to represent
Ireland at Eurovision and was replaced by Dickie Rock in the
National Song Contest.
After recuperating on her farm in Tullyhill,
outside Sligo, Maisie decided to take a break from show business and in
May, 1965 she married ace accordion player Fintan Stanley.
Fintan and Maisie went to England for several years, playing the
cabaret scene there, but were enticed back to Ireland in 1969 when she was
offered the chance to be part of a new Telefis Eireann show,
Hoot-nanny, which was hosted by Shay Healy (who would later write
Johnny Logan's Eurovision smash in 1980, What's Another Year).
The show was a huge success and as a result, she and Fintan
formed a five piece group called the Ramblers which originally included Des
Moore (brother of Butch) on guitar. The re-launch of Maisie also
included a unique "package" which manager George O'Reilly
put together which also included the Paragon Showband,
along with Maisie and the Ramblers.
In the March 6th, 1970 issue of Spotlight it was
reported that the five piece group was expanding to six with the addition of
the Cadets former front man, Gregory Donaghy with his first
appearance set for at Easter Sunday. With the move, the
band was renamed the Nashville
Ramblers and they released a duet single, Okie From Muskogee
which featured both Maisie and Gregory. Although there seemed to be
a glut of country bands hitting the road around this time, The
Nashville Ramblers were being touted as one of the up and coming
bands on the scene, mostly because of Maisie's earlier successes.
The band toured England also also appeared on the BBC Show, Country
Meets Folk, as well as recording a spot for Larry Cunningham's Show
With their single doing relatively well, the
band's reputation was growing, but in August, an article in
Spotlight reported that Maisie would be leaving the band temporarily
because of a threatened miscarriage. Gregory took over fronting the
band and manager George O'Reilly said Maisie would be back and sing
until about three months before the birth. A week later, the band
announced Terry Mahon (formerly with Jim Farley's Tophatters), would
be replacing Maisie, although it was still reported to be temporary.
Said Fintan, "Her doctor says everything is fine, but she may rest a
little longer than the couple of weeks indicated earlier."
Although it had initially seemed that in
1970 the band
was destined for great things, in the October 2nd issue of
Spotlight, an article announced Maisie "Won't Be Back." The
article also reported that Fintan had left the band as well. This would be Maisie's final flirtation with
the showband circuit as she and Fintan settled down to life in Sligo
and played the cabaret and lounge scene in and around the Northwest
of Ireland. Maisie was permanently replaced
by Terry Mahon, who had played with Jim Farley's Band. Eventually Gregory formed his own trio
before emigrating to Canada around 1974.
In the early seventies, Fintan and Maisie
played the cabaret circuit and in 1973, an article in the Sligo
Champion reported that Maisie had decided it was time
to release another single, but that never happened. Maisie did give
birth though, in early 1973, to her and Fintan's only child, Lisa.
Throughout the 1970's, Maisie and Fintan continued to play the local
cabaret scene on and off, but never made a commitment to the
entertainment scene as before, preferring a quiet life in rural
County Sligo. Eventually Fintan and Maisie split up and Fintan
emigrated to the United States where he still lives today in
However, in 1985, Maisie came out of her semi
retirement and went into Greenfields Studios in County Galway to record
an album of her former hits. Over the final twenty years of her
life, Maisie remained "out of the limelight" coming back to the
stage only once in a while for special occasions. Although somewhat
recluse, she remained a celebrity in and around Sligo.
Sadly, Maisie passed away at her home in Sligo
on June 28, 2008. She had retired from performing for many years,
although her legacy as one of Ireland's premier female vocalists of
the early 1960's lives on in her daughter, Lisa Stanley, who released a CD of Maisie's hits in late 2009.
click on thumbnails for full image