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Brotherly Love Feature (1969 - 1979)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

The Duggan Brothers from Sligo were one of the most unique groups to happen upon the Irish ballroom scene in the early 70's. Not only were they a family band (all brothers), but they wrote their own music, specialised in tight harmony arrangements, and never gave up their day jobs.

The band started out like most families, each brother taking up an instrument at an early age. Gerry and Ian played accordion, while younger brother Joss started banging on the drums. Early on, youngest brother Vinnie was not yet involved. In their native Sligo, they started playing in local concerts, but soon graduated (with the addition of Vinnie on bass) to play school dances, dinner dances and weddings. The lineup was: Gerry (guitar), Ian (keyboards), Joss (drums) and Vinnie (bass). By 1969, the boys were playing dances across the Northwest. 

Their first major break came when they secured the relief band gig at the Silver Slipper Ballroom in Strandhill run by Sean Byrne. At the time, the venue ran multiple nights every week and provided both a showcase for the boys and their talents, as well as an opportunity to improve their playing and songwriting skills. They were also exposed to the top bands in the country on a  regular basis. Bobby Kelly of the Sands, tells the story about how they gave a set of their band suits to the lads after switching to new gear. The relief gig was, at one time, the place where many eventual showband musicians honed their skills.

Known exclusively as the Duggans or Duggan Brothers in those days, they played an unusual blend of harmony pop with numbers like Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young's Carry On as well as their own compositions. In 1972, the boys played relief to The Mighty Avons in a local marquee and caught the attention of Jimmy Smith. He immediately signed them to his own Velvet record label and in January 1973 they released their first single, the originals My Kind of Girl and 21st Rock Jig on the B side. It caused quite a stir locally as it was unheard of in those days for a group (outside Dublin) to record original material. Although it did not sell, it helped promote the band in areas outside of Sligo as all airplay in those days was on the national station, RTE. They were still the relief band in the Silver Slipper as well...but they had a new name, Brotherly Love were finally on their way. 

Around June, 1973 (as with most relief bands band in the "good old days") the lure of the road beckoned and the lads left their relief gig in the Silver Slipper to hit the road. They had caught the eye (and ear) of the Tommy Hayden organisation and were managed by the soon-to-be entertainment mogul, Louis Walsh. In fact, they probably could best be described as Louis' first "boy band." For obvious reasons, the boys became known as Ireland's answer to the Osmonds (who were huge at the time), a tag they never really liked, but which they could not shake. There were very few "pop groups" in Ireland at the time as most four piece bands tended to be playing heavier rock or blues music, or have more members (5-8).

Prior to signing with Louis, the boys had been managed by their father, Alfie, who continued to drive them to gigs and help set up the gear. During this time, the boys were all still attending school. They released their second single, the John D'Ardis penned song, The Dark In The Dawn in 1973 again on Velvet and it got more plays, but didn't crack the charts. More importantly though, it got the attention of EMI records and in mid-1974, the band signed what was described as a "three year deal" with the international label. In August 1974, the band were chosen to support British hit makers Mud at their concerts in Cork and the National Stadium in Dublin. Around this time, the band considered changing their name to "Family Band" as there was also a band in England with the name Brotherly Love, but this didn't end up happening.

The first release on EMI in late 1974 was Skooby Doo, a pop record produced by John Drummond and written by Andy Kim (Rock Me Gently), that did little for their careers, but helped reinforce their "Osmonds" image. On September 27th, 1974, the band appeared on the Late Late Show singing the new single. The following year they release Sweet Summer Kisses, but again, it made little impression on the record buying public.   

Around 1975, younger sibling Paul joined the band on a full time basis although the band was still semi-professional. Under the watchful eye of Louis, the band was gigging around the country, but only on the weekends as they continued their studies, preferring to build their work careers while maintaining a "semi-professional" status as musicians. This limited their ability to crack the big time, and also they were up against 6 and 7 piece showbands (and an increasing number of pop bands like The Memories, Rascals and Tweed) who brought a much bigger sound to the stage.

In April, 1975 the band appeared on the RTE show Aimen High and as well as that Joss and Gerry played major roles in the Sligo production of "Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat."

In 1976 it was reported that the band would be featured on Hughie Green's "Opportunity Knocks," but apparently they were bumped from the show on two different occasions and never took part.

Throughout the late 1970's the band continued to play, travel while continuing their school studies and started their  professional work careers. They eventually switched management from Louis Walsh to Tom Kelly of Ballina who also managed the Duskey Sisters/Fairways and Kim Newport Band.

On January 1st, 1979 an explosion in Gerry's house, injured the guitarist and his injuries were serious enough that the band had to temporarily go off the road for several weeks.  

Unfortunately, the band never really cracked the top of the ballroom circuit, always "little brothers" to the larger pop and rock groups of the era. By June, 1979, the professional work side of the brothers' lives won out and they gave up music for their careers, which were very successful and they had disbanded by September of that year, although Gerry and Ian continued to enter songs in contests like Castlebar Song Contest and the National Song Contest.

A decade after forming and initially taking the local scene by storm, the Duggan brothers had to make the all important decision as to whether work or music would be more important moving forward and they made the decision to give up the band and the road. In retrospect, anyone who grew up in Sligo in the 1970's will remember with fondness, the young boys with major talent that went up against the best bands in the nation and held their own, making their home town of Sligo proud.    

In the last few years, brothers Ian and Joss have started playing local pubs and functions first under the name Take Two and now as The Duggan Brothers. Sadly, Gerry Duggan, who built a very successful career in the architectural field, passed away on September 13, 2008 after battling Leukemia for several years. Youngest brother Vinnie is a retail manager in the furniture industry in Sligo and has not gone back to music. Ian and Joss released a new album, Reflections, in September, 2012, their first recording in nearly 30 years. 

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Duggan Brothers - 1967

Duggan Brothers - 1971

Duggan Brothers - 1972

Brotherly Love - 1973 Brotherly Love - 1973
Brotherly Love - 1973 Brotherly Love - 1973 Brotherly Love - 1973 Brotherly Love - 1973 Brotherly Love - 1973
Brotherly Love - 1974 Brotherly Love - 1974 Brotherly Love - 1975 Brotherly Love - 1975 Brotherly Love - 1975
Brotherly Love (RF) Brotherly Love (RF) Brotherly Love (RF)

Brotherly Love 1973

Brotherly Love 1973

Brotherly Love 1974

Brotherly Love 1974

Brotherly Love 1974

Brotherly Love 1975

Duggan Bros 2012

         

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Years Guitar Bass Vocals / Drums Keyboards Guitar?
1969 Gerry
Duggan
Vinnie
Duggan
Joss
Duggan
Ian
Duggan
 
1975 Gerry
Duggan
Vinnie
Duggan
Joss
Duggan
Ian
Duggan
Paul
Duggan

Discography

My Kind of Girl / 21st Rock Jig
Velvet Records - VE,020 - December, 1972

The Dark In The Dawn / Peace of Mind

Velvet Records - Unknown - October, 1973
Skooby Doo / Get On The Line
EMI Records - IEMI 5005 - September, 1974
Sweet Summer Kisses (Make Me Cry) / Mr. Stevens
EMI Records - Unknown - 1975
The World Keeps Rolling On
EMI Records - Unknown -
September, 1976

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Gerry Duggan RIP: After the band called it quits, Gerry continued his studies and became of of the best known architectural engineers in Ireland. He designed many buildings and although he continued his love of music, he never really played professionally again. Sadly, Gerry passed away on September 13, 2008 after battling Leukemia for several years.  
Ian Duggan: Ian now works for the Sligo County Council and after giving up music for many years, he and brother Joss started playing again in the mid 2000's. They play local pubs, weddings and corporate functions under the name Take Two and the Duggans. .  
Joss Duggan: In 1983 Joss became a sales agent for Irish Building Chemicals for 22 years. In 2013 Joss took on a new role as Sales Manager with Surfasology. In 2012, he and brother Ian released their album Reflections and they continue to perform these days as the Duggan Brothers in local pubs, hotels, and functions.  
Vinnie Duggan: Vinnie gave up the bass when the band quit the road and now manages a furniture company in Sligo. He has retired from performing, in his own words, "for good."
Paul Duggan: Unknown, if you know more, please email us

 


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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006