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Brotherly Love Feature (1969 - 1980)

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 and caught the attention of Jimmy Smith. He immediately signed them to his own Velvet record label and they soon released their first single, the original My Kind of Girl. 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 the Duggans were finally on their way. 

Around June, 1972 (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." They also had decided to change their name to "Brotherly Love." 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 1974, the band signed what was described as a "three year deal" with the international label.

The first release on EMI was Skooby Doo, a pop record produced by John Drummond, that did little for their careers, but helped reinforce their "Osmonds" image. The following year they release Sweet Summer Kisses, but again, it made little impression on the record buying public.    

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 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 and much bigger sound to the stage.

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

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 the early 1980's, the professional side of the brothers' lives won out and each gave up music for their careers, which were very successful.

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. 

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)

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Years Guitar Bass Vocals / Drums Keyboards
1972 Gerry
Duggan
Vinnie
Duggan
Joss
Duggan
Ian
Duggan

Discography

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

The Dark In The Dawn

Velvet Records - Unknown - October, 1973
Skooby Doo
EMI Records - IEMI 5005 - September, 1974
Sweet Summer Kisses (Make Me Cry) / Mr. Stevens
EMI Records - Unknown - 1975

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:
  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."

 


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