Jim Farley Showband Story (1964-1971)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
"Big" Jim Farley has been a mainstay of the Irish entertainment
scene since the very early sixties and is still going strong today.
Jim got his start, as did many of the early showband players, as
part of a brass and reed band, in his case the St. James Brass and
Reed Band in Dublin. It wasn't long before the road beckoned and Jim
joined the Earl Gill Showband on sax and clarinet.
During his years with Earl, he
honed his showband skills and after eight years went out on his own
forming the highly ambitious Jim Farley Band Show (aka Jim Farley
Showband). The 11-13 piece
band (which also included some additional dancers) hit the road on
Easter Sunday, March 29th, 1964 in the Majestic Ballroom in Mallow. It was one of the largest bands on the road at the time
(although not so big in comparison to the orchestras of the 1950's).
Eventually, though, the lineup proved too large for the ballroom circuit.
The original lineup included:
Danny Hannon (vocals), Pat Farmer (trumpet), Des Moore (guitar) Jim Farley (sax), Seamus
McIntyre (trombone), Kevin Brady (drums), Kevin Gregan (bass), Terry Mahon (vocals), Joe McIntyre (RIP-trumpet), Tony
Kearns (sax), Tony Woods (RIP-vocals) and
Danny Pearse (RIP-guitar/vocals). Although it was difficult to manage such a
large outfit, Jim would return to this "big band" idea later in his
As far as we can tell, this lineup
of the band did not release a record, but we are not 100% sure.
However it did get national exposure as it appeared on the legendary
RTE Showband Show in mid-1964. They also appeared on Ulster
Television (UTV) and RTE again at the end of 1964. It seems the band
played just about everything from "swing and twist to blue beat,
Mersey and even traditional Irish in the programme.
Over Easter, 1965, the Band Show
imploded with Joe McIntyre, brother Shay, Tony Woods, and Des Moore
breaking away to form the Express Showband. They added Brendan O'Loughlin on bass and Peter Ainscough on drums to fill out their
lineup. At the same time, Jim carried on with a smaller lineup,
changing the name of the band the the Jim Farley All Stars. Young
Dessie Reynolds was recruited on drums.
In September, 1965, Roly
Daniels had been a part of the Memphis Showband for not quite a
year. Born in India, Roly came to Ireland at an early age, but had
been in England until late 1964 when he joined the Memphis.
Along with Michael Keane, Roly Daniels came on board
to sing and Danny Ellis joined on trombone (Danny had previously
been with Liam Hurley in the Airchords). The band now changed its
name to the Jim Farley Showband.
In June, 1966, they released their
first single, Roly's version of Throw A Little Loving My Way
which raced up the Irish Charts, settling in at number nine. The
band had it's first top ten hit and was doing great business, now
that it had a more manageable lineup. A few months later, in
November, the band released its first single featuring female lead
vocalist Terry Mahon, If I Cried. This proved to be an even
bigger hit and went to number 7 in the Irish charts. Unfortunately,
these would be the only chart successes enjoyed by the band.
Sometime in late 1966, Terry Mahon left the band
for a period and was "replaced" by Liam Hurley, brother of Red and
former member of the Airchords. The band released another single
featuring Roly, called Ireland Is Going All Western. It would
be a precursor of things to come for Roly as he turned to country a
few years later.
In June, 1967, they released
Broken Promises which featured guitar player Danny Pearse (RIP). A news article in November, 1967
announced Roly, Danny Ellis and Liam Hurley were quitting the band
to start a new showband which would be called the Lions. Plans were so far advanced that a
full lineup was announced which included Gerry O'Boyle on bass, Gary
Quigley (drums) and Willie Walsh (of the Nevada) on trumpet. There
was some confusion about the new band's management with George
O'Reilly's name being mentioned, but ex-Freshman manager Peter
Dempsey was announced as the final choice.
However, the new band
never materialised (although a band called the Lions would be formed
a short time later around Danny Pearse). Instead, the three joined Willie
in the Nevada Showband. The major split could have ended the band
but Terry Mahon and her backing group returned to the fold (as
reported in Spotlight on November 11, 1967) to keep the band on the
road. At this point, Dessie Reynolds (drums) and Ray Fitzgerald
(guitar) came into the lineup and the band changed its name to the
Jim Farley All-Stars. When Roly left the lineup, Danny became one of
the featured singers in the band, along with Terry.
In 1968, the Jim Farley All Stars,
managed by Nelius O'Connell included Jim (sax), Terry Mahon
(vocals), Dessie Reynolds (drums), Danny Pearse (RIP-vocals), Ray
Fitzgerald (guitar), Frank Doyle (bass), Michael Keane (keyboards)
and Joe McIntyre (trumpet). Danny soon left to form the Lions and
sadly passed away a short time later. The band released another
single, Faded Love, which featured Terry.
There would be a major change for
the band in 1968 as Jim decided to try the big band format yet
again. This time the band added Tina Reynolds (who would end up,
like Roly, in the Nevada, along with 18 musicians and singers! They
also added five dancers to the band and called them the Tee Jays.
The band changed its name once again to Jim Farley and the
In early 1971, the Jim Farley band
broke up when Jim joined up with Roly Daniels to form the new Green
County country band. At the same time Dessie Reynolds joined Billy
Brown's Superband along with Mick Nolan.
More to come.....
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