Caroline Showband Story (1964-67-in
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
In December, 1964, it was reported in the Entertainment Guide
that the band was to be launched that week. The same week, a story
appeared in the Sunday Independent saying that Jim Craig of Caroline
Enterprises had approached drummer Kevin Brady to form a showband.
The band made its debut at a reception in Dublin's Gresham Hotel on
Tuesday, December 22nd, 1964. The original lineup included: Kevin
Brady (Dublin-drums), Earl Jordan (New York-vocals), Tony Kearns
(Drogheda-sax), Reginald Dunne (Dublin-guitar), Kevin Gregan
(Dublin-bass), Tony Coffey (Dublin-keyboards), Harry Burrows
(Birmingham-sax), and Michael Burns (Sligo-trumpet). The
manager was Frank Traynor of Dublin. On stage the band wore dark
blue suits with Earl decked out in a white blazer.
The band made its first appearance
at a reception in Dublin's Gresham Hotel on Tuesday, December 22nd.
Interestingly, the band debuted at the same time as the new
Nevada Showband featuring Maisie McDaniel
and the Millionaires Showband. Lead
singer Earl Jordan, although born in Buffalo, New York, came to
England with the US Air Force and arrived in Dublin in December,
The band hit the ground running
and was soon playing around the country. They also had the "backing"
of pirate radio station Radio Caroline which helped promote the band as
much as it could. On January 21st, 1965 a note appeared in Tom
Hennigan's Going Places column in the Evening Herald
saying the band was looking for "a lady vocalist, one who can sing
pop numbers in in the dynamic, personality-plus manner of today's
showbands." Apparently this never happened. In April 1965, Kevin
Gregan had his guitar stolen along with his car from outside a Cabra
In June, 1966, the band traveled
to Monte Carlo and played at the Monte Carlo ball for Princess Grace
of Monaco. By December, 1966, Dave Coady had left the band and we're
not quite sure who replaced him. .
member, Mel Dean (who joined the band in 1966) sent us an email in
2009 and told us the band was put together by Ronan O'Rahilly who owned the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. Earl
Jordan was recruited from the Derek Joys Showband (also managed by
Frank Traynor) to front the new
act. Mel told us that the band's program featured a lot of soul
music (James Brown) and they never quite hit it off with the punters
on the Irish dance circuit. The band lineup was: Earl Jordan
(vocals), Mel Dean (guitar) Tony Coffey (keyboards), Gerry Ryan
(bass), Kevin Brady (drums), Mike Burns (trumpet), Harry Burroughs
(sax), and Tony Kearns (sax). Earl Jordan was one of the first black
singers to tour Ireland, making the band a bit of a novelty act, but
to no avail.
In August, 1967, the band
emigrated to England (minus Tony Coffey) and settled in Manchester
where their brand of pop, rock and soul was more acceptable to
English audiences. The
band stayed in England for five years, playing the clubs and
dancehalls. Earl Jordan left the band almost immediately and was replaced by
Tony Woods and the band changed its name to the Dunes. Eventually,
the boys became homesick and the band broke up with Mel Dean staying
in the UK, while the rest returned home.
More to come.....
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