The Firehouse Story (1967-1974?)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
(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
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
Firehouse Showband. They opened for Joe Dolan and the
Drifters and ended up buying their 2nd hand band suits from the
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.
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
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
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
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image
(More to come)
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
Rhythm of Love
Hawk Records - unknown - April, 1979
Where Are They Now?