The largest digital showband archive in the world!
Based In Sligo, Ireland / email: showbands@gmsproductions.com

CLICK FOR:     FREE FORUM        HOME PAGE        GUESTBOOK      MAKE A DONATION

The Firehouse Story (1967-1974?)

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

The Story (with thanks to the late Vinny Baker)

The story of the Firehouse starts around 1967 when the group was first put together by the Kennedy Brothers as the Firehouse Five. The original line up was: P.J. Kennedy (guitar/trombone), Donie Cassidy (sax), Larry Kennedy (drums), Michael Kennedy (guitar), Noel Masterson (bass) and Angela Blacoe (vocals). The band played gigs and relief locally and their name, Angela and The Firehouse 5, came from the fact that the Kennedy brothers lived right next to the Fire station.

Angela quit the band around '68 and was replaced by Pat Sheridan from Dublin. At the same time, Eddie Newcombe from Mullingar was brought in on sax and the multi-talented Donie Cassidy moved over to trumpet and the band became The Firehouse Showband. They opened for Joe Dolan and the Drifters and ended up buying their 2nd hand band suits from the Drifters.

Around 1969, Micheal Kennedy left the band to go to Canada and was replaced by a very young (15 ) Vinny Baker on lead guitar. During this period, the Firehouse Showband played mostly pop and rock n' roll. Pat Sheridan was particularly good at Roy Orbison songs and sang all the pop hits of the time.

However, Pat left the band in late 1969 to do resident gigs in Clearys in Dublin. Vinny Baker almost left with him but decided against it at the last minute and stayed with the Firehouse. The band were now looking for a lead singer and if possible, a new direction. Someone told Donie Cassidy about a big guy from Tara in Co. Meath who reportedly sang just like Jim Reeves, so Donie Cassidy and Vinny Baker went in search of a new singer and found him doing a local parish gig in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath. Jim Tobin was his name and they discovered he did sing like Reeves. They knew there and then that Jim would be perfect to front the new style Firehouse Showband and he was signed immediately. At the time, there were some reservations about having a country outfit calls the Firehouse, but it was decided that changing the band's name would lose the following they had built up in the past three years and so Jim Tobin & The Firehouse were born.

Jim had been working delivering sand and gravel before taking to the stage with the Firehouse and continued to do so after joining the band for a time. A few months after Jim joined the band they recorded a little known Reeves song called This is It. The record was a great success and climbed to Number 5 in the Irish charts, staying in the top twenty for three months. Noel Carty was now the manager of the Firehouse and it was Noel who engineered the band's success from the change over to Jim Tobin as lead singer. With Carty at the helm and Tobin as lead singer, the Firehouse and their new country image they were well on the way.

Shortly after their success with This is It, the band split with Noel Carty, which seemed to have a negative impact on the band. hurt the band's image and the result was nearly a disaster for the band who almost disappeared without trace for a long time, they could not get their records played on national radio. They managed to make a comeback down the road but never had the same crack at success as they had when Noel Carty took them over.

There was several personnel changes over the coming years...The Kennedy brothers left, as did Noel Masterson and Vinny Baker, they were replaced by Ollie Byrd on Bass, Paddy McCafferty on Keys, and Joe Meehan on guitar.

In March, 1973 female vocalist Billie Jo (who was formerly known as Tammy) joined the band. Her first recording was "Chicken On a Sunday." In his "Scene in Britain" column in the May 3, 1973 issue of Spotlight, Pascal Mooney reported the record was produced several months earlier by Tommy Swarbrigg and had received favourable comments and "a lot of airplays." 

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Jim Tobin and the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin and the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin and the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin and the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin and the Firehouse - 1973 (KS)

Jim Tobin of The Firehouse (DD)

Jim Tobin of the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin of the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin of the Firehouse (KS)

Jim Tobin & The Firehouse (LR)
Jim Tobin (KS)

Firehouse (BD)

Firehouse 5 Plus 2 (MY) Firehouse 5 (RF) Firehouse 5 (RF)
Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF)
Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF)
Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF)
Firehouse (RF) Firehouse (RF)

Firehouse - 1971

Firehouse - 1971

Firehouse - 1971

Firehouse - 1970

Firehouse - 1969

Firehouse - 1971

Firehouse - 1970

Firehouse - 1970

   

Firehouse - 1971

Firehouse - 1970

Firehouse - 1971

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

         

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Gtr/Tromb Gtr/Tromb Sax Trumpet
1967
 
Angela
Blacoe
Michael
Kennedy
Noel
Masterson
Larry
Kennedy
P.J.
Kennedy
  Donie
Cassidy
 
1968
 
Pat
Sheridan
Michael
Kennedy
Noel
Masterson
Larry
Kennedy
P.J.
Kennedy
  Eddie
Newcombe
Donie
Cassidy
1969
 
Jim
Tobin
Vinny
Baker
Noel
Masterson
Larry
Kennedy
P.J.
Kennedy
  Eddie
Newcombe
Donie
Cassidy
1971 Jim
Tobin
Gerry
Foley
Oliver
Bird
Larry
Kennedy
Paddy (Keys)
McCafferty
Larry
Gallagher?
Eddie
Newcombe
Donie
Cassidy
                 
                 

Discography (More to come)

Singles:

This Is It / I'm Beginning To Forget You - #5 Irish Charts
Honey Records - COMB.15 - January, 1970
You Are My Love / Blue Side of Lonesome
Honey Records - COMB.24 - 1970
Only A Stand In  / Live and Let Live / Overnight
Release Records - RL.565 - February, 1971
My New Love Is Ruby / Am I Losing You?
Hawk Records - HASP.350 - 1974
Little Old Dime / Little Isle of Green
Hawk Records - HASP.384 - 1976
Don't Fight The Feelings
- #13 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP.??? - April, 1977
Rhythm of Love
- #5 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP.??? - October, 1977
May The Wind Be Always At Your Back
Unknown - Unknown - April, 1979
Welcome John Paul II
- #1 Irish Charts
CMR Records - CM.005 - August, 1979

Albums:

Rhythm of Love
Hawk Records - unknown - April, 1979

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

  Jim Tobin:
  Donie Cassidy:
  Angela Blacoe:
 

Michael Kennedy:

 

Noel Masterson:

  Larry Kennedy:
  P.J. Kennedy:
  Pat Sheridan:
  Eddie Newcombe:
  Vinny Baker (RIP):
  Gerry Foley:
  Oliver Bird:
  \Paddy McCafferty:

Back

 


2002-2015 GMS Productions

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