Jan & Anne Lynch
Janvier "Jan" and Anne Lynch came from a very musical family
and were raised in Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone.
In fact, even
their grandparents were involved in the Irish entertainment scene. The girls
started playing in and around their home town before they
were ten years old as part of The Lynch Family.
The group included their father (an excellent accordionist), their mother, Jan,
Anne, and their sister, Pat. Other family members, including brothers Barry and
Liam, and younger sister Jacqui also joined the group in later years.
First to hit the showband scene was Jan, who
met Top Rank owner, Tony Loughman, through family friend Dan O'Hara of the Country Flavour. Early in 1973, Tony put new band on the road, Frank Coll and The Big
Valley (Frank was country star, Brian Coll's, brother). The band did well in
their first summer and released a couple of records.
in November, 1973, Jan got her big break when Tony asked the sixteen year old to replace Frank as
the band's lead singer. It was decided to change Jan's name to Shelly (it was often spelled
Shelley as well) and she
recorded her first single, Love at Eleven, which received instant
recognition for the young star. For a short time, the band was billed as the
Big Valley All Star Showband, but they soon became Shelly and the Big
Valley. The band's lineup included Butch McNeill (drums), Tony Fox
(keyboards), Jimmy Smith (guitar - Jimmy was Gloria's brother and would later
gain individual fame as a founder of rock group,
The Bogey Boys), Michael Lynch
(sax - son of famous band leader, Maurice Lynch), Aidan McGuigan (bass), Martin
Coll (guitar - Martin was brother of Frank and Brian of Buckaroos fame) and of
course, Jan. Early on, she recorded her first album, Shelly Sings.
Not long after Shelly joined the band, Aidan McGuigan and Martin Coll left and were replaced by Jan's brother, Barry, on bass
and Gerry Black on guitar and vocals. Gerry had previously fronted his own band,
Gerry Black and the Seasons. The new "dynamic duo" were an instant hit
with dancers across the country and the band went from strength to strength.
They released another single, United We Stand, which consolidated their
position as a top showband and a few months later they released an album,
Just Two People, which featured four tracks written by band member, Tony
story starts shortly after sister Jan. Around this time, sister Anne, was getting her
first taste of stardom when she joined The Tribesmen. Throughout 1974,
both sisters were appearing regularly in the same venues, competitors on the
dance scene. Both the Big Valley and The Tribesmen were successful
with their own brands of country music.
In August 1975, Anne left the Tribesmen to join
with Hugo Duncan in The New Tallmen.
page06Before long, Hugo went on to form The Ranchers,
leaving Anne to start another band, The Swinging Marines within a few months.
On October 31, 1975 the new band
made its debut in the Drumquin Social Centre. Along with Anne, the
lineup was Peter O'Hara (guitar), Brendan Doran (guitar), Gerry Rae
(bass), Pat Savage (drums) and Owen Smith (keyboard).
In November, 1975, Together with the
band, Anne made her first album, Anchors Away, which was recorded in Castleblaney.
Around this time, Jan's band, Big Valley,
called it quits, and Top Rank management decided it was time to bring the two
sister's together. In 1976, members of both band's joined together to form Anne,
Shelly, and The Marines.
Jan and Anne finally came together in 1976
when they joined forces as Anne, Shelly and the Marines. Members from
both singers band, came together and appeared under the name which had been used
by Anne's band, but dropped the "Swinging."
The Marines made an album which featured both
sisters taking lead vocalist on alternating numbers. For a couple of years, the
band did well, even though the scene in Ireland continued to decline, as more
extensions and discos enticed dancers away from the ballrooms and marquees.
In 1978, Shelly went solo again and was
fronting a band called Shelly and Startime. In 1980, one of Ireland's most
famous country outfits, The Mainliners, tapped Jan to front the band, and for
the first time, she was able to use her own name. Jan and The Mainliners made a
More to come.....
Jan's Photo Gallery