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Kerry Blues Showband (1965-2010)

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

The Story

The Kerry Blues started as the resident band in the Mount Brandon Hotel in Tralee in 1965. D.J Curtin (vocals) and Johnny Wall (guitar) teamed up with D.J.'s brother, Alfie (guitar), along with Tommy Griffin (drums) and Tommy O'Connor (bass) and the new band took to the stage. D.J. had been working as a cinema projectionist before becoming a full time musician. For the first few years they were semi-professional and played in the Mount Brandon, honing their skills and learning their craft. Within a short while, brother John Curtin joined the band on sax as well.    

In July, 1968, the band was ready to turn professional and signed with new manager, Nelius O'Connell. It was reported in Spotlight that they would be playing many of the dates previously booked for the Jim Farley All Stars, who had taken up the residency at the new Top Hat Ballroom, then being run by Royal Showband manager, T.J. Byrne.

Almost immediately they went into the studio to record their first single as they made the transition from local band to the national ballroom circuit. Signed to Emerald Records, they released My Elusive Dreams a few months later. Although the single did not sell enough to make the charts, it helped establish the band on the national scene and began the comparisons between D.J.'s voice and that of international superstar, Tom Jones (a comparison which remains to this day).

The band released a single a year, none of which had much impact on sales, but they were slowly building their reputation in the ballrooms. Said DJ in a 1971 Spotlight interview, "The impact of a hit is great while it lasts, but you must have the musical strength to back it up. This is especially true in areas outside the cities where there is much more accent on enjoying a dance than buying records." Some time in 1970 or 71 the band switched managers to the late Andy Creighton who was also looking after bands like the Jim Cantwell Big Band and The Tom Kelly Sound.

The band continued to tour, going to England two to three times a year (as most bands did back then). In 1973, they left Andy Creighton and signed a new management deal with Tommy Hayden. This would prove to be significant as his first single with Tommy was Almost Persuaded and finally D.J. had the hits he had been wanting for the previous five years. The song reached number 3 in the Irish Charts and D.J. and the band joined the elite top bands at the time like the Nevada and Royal Blues (both also managed by Tommy Hayden).

The biggest change for the band came in 1979 when D.J. was offered a spot with Brendan Bowyer's Big Eight which meant relocating to Las Vegas permanently. In a 2015 interview, he told me that at the time, he felt that after 14 years the Kerry Blues had accomplished all he had hoped for and the move presented a new challenge and opportunity.

In the meantime, the band carried on as a six piece. We understand from D.J. (in December, 2014) that they continued to play all around the Southwest and their home county of Kerry for another thirty years, finally calling it quits in 2010. 

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Kerry Blues (DD) Kerry Blues (DD) Kerry Blues (DD) D.J. Curtin - 1974 (LR) Kerry Blues - 1971
D.J. Curtin - 1974 Kerry Blues (LR) D.J. Curtin - 1971 Kerry Blues - 1970 Kerry Blues - 1970
Kerry Blues (KS) Kerry Blues - 1970 D.J. Curtin - 1971 D.J. Curtin - 1971 D.J. Curtin - 1974
D.J. Curtin - 1970 D.J. Curtin - 1974 D.J. Curtin - 1970 D.J. Curtin - 1974 D.J. Curtin - 1974
D.J. Curtin - 1974 D.J. Curtin - 1970 D.J. Curtin - 1973 D.J. Curtin - 1974 D.J. Curtin - 1975
D.J. Curtin - 1973 D.J. Curtin - 1973 D.J. Curtin - 1973 D.J. Curtin - 1974 D.J. Curtin - 1973
D.J. Curtin - 1974 Article - 1970 D.J. Curtin (LH) Kerry Blues (LH) Kerry Blues (LH)
Kerry Blues (LH) Kerry Blues - 1970 Kerry Blues - 1971 Kerry Blues - 1968 Kerry Blues - 1971
Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF)
Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues - 1970 (RF) Kerry Blues (RF)
Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF)
Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF)
     
Kerry Blues (RF) Kerry Blues (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Years Vocals/Sax Guitar Bass Drums Sax Guitar Trumpet Keyboards
1965 D.J.
Curtin
Alfie
Curtin
Tommy
O'Connor
Tommy
Griffin
  Johnny
Wall
   
1966 D.J.
Curtin
Alfie
Curtin
Tommy
O'Connor
Tommy
Griffin
John
Curtin
Johnny
Wall
   
1967 D.J.
Curtin
Alfie
Curtin
Tommy
O'Connor
Tommy
Griffin
John
Curtin
Johnny
Wall
Bernie
O'Connor
Oliver
McKeagh
1970 D.J.
Curtin
Alfie
Curtin
Tommy
O'Connor
Tommy
Griffin
John
Curtin
Johnny
Wall
Bernie
O'Connor
 
1979   Alfie
Curtin
?? Tommy
Griffin
John
Curtin
Johnny
Wall
Bernie
O'Connor
 
                 
                 
                 

Discography

Singles:
My Elusive Dreams / One Day Soon
Emerald Records - MD 1113 - November, 1968
Laura / The Joker (That's What They Call Me)
Emerald Records - MD 1135 - January, 1969
Hit Me On The Head / Stand By Your Man
Emerald Records - MD 1144 - June, 1970
Home Isn't Home Any More / Will They Remember Me?
Polydor Records - 2078 012 - September, 1971
Almost Persuaded / Marry Me
- #3 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.693 - August, 1973
Losing You
- #7 Irish Charts
Play Records - Unknown - March, 1974
Tips of my Fingers
- #11 Irish Charts
THE Records - Unknown - July, 1974
One More Time / Paper Roses for a Paper Lady
- #19 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.781 - August, 1975

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (Coming Soon)

D.J. Curtin: After leaving the Kerry Blues in 1979, D.J. joined the Big Eight and relocated to Las Vegas with Brendan Bowyer and the band. He has lived in Las Vegas permanently since then. He has four children. Besides the occasional gig with Brendan other members of the band who live in Vegas, he has been doing the cabaret scene in the States and in Ireland with his Tom Jones tribute along with Mark Lean, an Elvis impersonator who calls himself The Emerald Elvis. In 2015 Mark and DJ put a new show together, The Many Voices of Mark Lean which is set to tour Ireland later in the year with a live band. DJ has also been recently touring with David Hull's "Do You Come Here Often" concert series.
Alfie Curtin: D.J. Curtin tells us in early 2015 that Alfie is still living in Tralee. If you know more, please let us know.
Tommy O'Connor - RIP: Although we do not know what Tommy did after leaving the band, we received an email from Donal Cronin telling us that Tommy sadly passed away on December 2, 2013 after a short illness. Our sympathies are extended to his wife Ann and children and his relatives and friends across Ireland.  
Tommy Griffin: Unknown. If you know more, please let us know.
John Curtin: D.J. Curtin tells us in early 2015 that John is still living in Tralee. If you know more, please let us know.
Johnny Wall: D.J Curtin told us in early 2015 that Johnny was retired and living in Tralee. If you know more, please let us know.
Bernie O'Connor: D.J. Curtin told us in early 2015 that Bernie was still working in music. If you know more, please let us know.
Oliver McKeagh - RIP: We received an email from Oliver's son, Kevin in February, 2015 telling us the sad news that
Oliver sadly passed away in October 2014. He raised a family of 4 boys and kept a keen interest in music.

 

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