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Gerry and the Ohio Feature (1964-1983)

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

The Story

Gerry Cronin from Tuam in County Galway, had an amazing career which started when he joined the Johnny Flynn Band and continued with his own band, The Ohio in the mid 1960's and continued through his Cronin Family Band in the early 1980's.

Gerry had joined with the Johnny Flynn band in the late 1950's (we think around 1958). For five years or so, he learned his craft while the band continued to build its reputation as one of the greatest dance bands to come out of the West. In mid 1963 fellow Flynn bandmate Ollie Maloney decided it was time to make the big move and he, Gerry and Billy Potter quit the band and formed the Ohio.

The new band's seven piece line-up was: Gerry Cronin (vocals), Ollie Maloney (trumpet), Billy Potter (guitar), Billy Carson (bass), Des Hopkins (drums), Ollie's brother Jarlath Maloney (trombone), and John Lee (sax).

The first mentioned of Gerry and the Ohio we can find is in the Ulster Herald in November, 1963. It appears that almost immediately Billy Carson left the band as although he was in the original line-up, by December, 1963, he had been replaced by Johnny Browne on bass.

In the early days of the band, there were often advertised as being "ex-Johnny Flynn" which helped establish them as a credible new showband. They quickly started playing dates nationwide and actually had a very quick rise to prominence on the ballroom circuit. In the main, they touted the talents of Gerry as vocalist and Ollie as trumpeter (a ploy several bands of the era would also use as trumpet instrumentals were quite popular back in those days).

In late 1964, the first line-up major change took place when Paraic Potter, from Sligo, replaced John Lee on sax. Paraic had previously been with the Clefoniaires Showband from Tubbercurry.

1965 would be a pivotal year for the band as they started the year with many publicity stories centered around their impending trip to the studio, even asking fans what song they would like the band to record. By March it was announced that the new single would be the Bill Anderson song, Tips of My Fingers with the Johnny Cash hit Ring of Fire as the "B" side. It was finally released in May. In October the band publicised that the record had actually entered the US Hot 100 at number 63, although current research can not validate this claim, which would have been hard to prove (or disprove) even back then. In November of 1965, the band appeared on RTE's "Showband Show."

By April, 1966, the band had finally decided on a follow-up single which ended up being Among the Wicklow Hills with A Little Bit of Heaven as the B side. Initially heralded as a possible hit for the band, the song was also recorded by superstar Larry Cunningham of the Mighty Avons and it shot to number 2 in the Irish Charts and would always be remembered as Larry's fourth top ten single. 

As the record was being released, in a shock move, bandleader and founding member Ollie Maloney quit the band to start his own showband which debuted on Easter Sunday night. His brother Jarlath also left the band and joined with Patrick Keane (vocals), Brian Hurley (drums), Patsy Phelan (guitar), Cyril Fullard (sax), and John Clancy (bass). Meanwhile, the Ohio found more than adequate replacements in Liam Meade (keyboards) and Marco Petrassi (trumpet) from Cork who had previously been with Jim Farley's band.

The Ohio wasted no time introducing the newest member to the public and their next single was an instrumental featuring Marco called Mynah Bird. The popularity of the band did not seem affected by the departure of the Maloney brothers and they continued to do great business around the country. Manager Pat Creighton was quoted as saying the band would not be hesitant about releasing records in the future as they had lost out to the Mighty Avons with their last offering.     

In April 1968, the band had problems again when both Marco Petrassi and Liam Meade left to join Michael Callaghan's Big Band. Eamon Mangan from the San Antones showband stepped in for Marco and we think Frank Grealey replaced Liam. Around this time, the band released a new single Fishing for the Shoal with a tribute to Bobby Kennedy called Bobby on the "B" side. 

In late 1968, Gerry announced the band was moving from it's country and western roots to a more pop sound. They added an 18 year old drummer, Terry McCoy from Limerick and made some changes to the lineup. In an interview with Ken Stewart in the March 1, issue of Spotlight, Gerry told Ken, "Our manager, Pat Creighton, thought some new faces would be an improvement, so we had a reshuffle recently. Now its like starting all over again. The band has taken a more flexible approach. We play more chart material than we used to."

An article in Spotlight on April 26th, 1969 reported that Paraic Potter had rejoined the Ohio and another in early 1969 said Walter Lynch was now on drums and Teddy McCoy was the new keyboard player. Obviously line-up changes were becoming an issue for the band.    

In October, 1970, the band performed entries in the Castlebar Song Contest, one of which, One Step From Nowhere, won the pop section of the contest. Written by John Lavery, the band recorded the song in Belfast and released the single.

In the early 1970's interest in the band seemed to wane but they became very active in the Castlebar song contest with Gerry both singing entries and having success with a few of his own songs. In October 1974, an apology appeared in the Southern Star newspaper for the non-appearance of the Ohio Showband in Skibbereen Town Hall on September 29th and we could find no further adverts for the band that year.

In September, 1974, Galway was playing Dublin in the All-Ireland GAA final and there were two records released supporting the Dubs. In response, Gerry released a single called Galway Boys Hurrah. In newspaper articles at the time, the record was reported to have been written by Jimmy Higgins with backing provided by the Ohio Showband. On October 12th, 1974, a report appeared in the Tuam Herald that "due to the success of Galway Boys Hurrah, Gerry Cronin has decided to change the name of his band from the Ohio to the Galwaymen."

We are unsure what happened around this time as even though the Ohio name was dropped, we also think the Galwaymen were a smaller outfit (possibly over time) as even though they initially played the big ballrooms, they eventually were playing lounge bars. By 1975, Gerry was even advertising himself as a singer for wedding ceremonies and receptions. As far as we can tell, the Galwaymen stayed on the road from about 1975-1978.

In 1978, Gerry formed a new band called the Cronin Family which featured himself and five of his children aged from 19 down to 12. The band's line-up was: Gerry (vocals), Geraldine (19 - keyboards), David (18 - guitar), Jacqueline (accordion), Derek (15 - bass) and Paul (12 - drums). The family group were winners at the Musek 78 festival in Tralee and they released a new single,  Don't Know Why I Love You in July 1979.

On September 6th, 1980, an advert appeared in the Nenagh Guardian newspaper for the Friary Castle Ballroom in Nenagh with music being provided by Anna McGoldrick who would be accompanied by "Ireland's leading family band, The Cronin 7." We're not sure who was added to the lineup. At the same time, Geraldine Cronin was a contestant in the Galway Rose competition and was described as a singer with the "New" Ohio Showband so we're not sure if this wasn't just a new name for the Cronin Family band.

In April, 1983 an article in the Tuam Herald reported that the band had been attacked after playing a gig in Castlederg, Co. Tyrone by a "gang of thugs." Although the girl singers in the band, Jackie and Laverne Cronin were unhurt, the report said guitarist Peter Creighton had to receive medical attention. We found one more advert for the Ohio Showband playing in O'Meara's Lounge in Ballincurra, Co. Cork on August 1st, 1983.   

This is actually the last report we have found for the Ohio Showband. Sadly the next reference to the band occurred in 1988 when on April 3rd, 1988 Gerry died of a heart attack in Galway, he was in his late 40's.

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Gerry Cronin (BS) Ohio (LR) Ohio - 1966 (LR) Ohio (LR) Gerry Cronin (LR)
Gerry Cronin (DD) Ohio - 1964 (PB) Ohio - 1970 (DD) Ohio (JB) Ohio (JB)
Ohio - 1971 Ohio (LR) Ohio - 1970 Ohio - 1971 Ohio - 1970
Ohio - 1964 (PL) Gerry Cronin (PL) Ohio - 1972 Ohio - 1972 Ohio - 1963
 
Ohio - 1964 Gerry & Ollie-1965 Ohio - 1965 Cronin Family Coming Soon
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Trmbne/Keys Sax Trumpet
Ohio Showband
Oct
1963
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Billy
Carson
Des
Hopkins
Jarlath
Maloney
John
Lee
Ollie
Maloney
Dec
1963
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
John
Browne
Des
Hopkins
Jarlath
Maloney
John
Lee
Ollie
Maloney
Dec
1964
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
John
Browne
Des
Hopkins
Jarlath
Maloney
Paraic
Potter
Ollie
Maloney
April
1966
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
John
Browne
Des
Hopkins
Liam
Meade
Paraic
Potter
Marco
Petrassi
August
1968
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
John
Browne quit?
Des
Hopkins
Frank
Grealey
Paraic
Potter
Eamonn
Mangan
April
1968
Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Unknown Des
Hopkins
Frank
Grealey
Paraic
Potter
Eamonn
Mangan
1968 Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Unknown Michael
O'Brien
  Michael (sax)
Fallahey
Eamonn
Mangan
1969 Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Unknown Walter
Lynch
Teddy (keys)
McCoy
Paraic
Potter
Eamonn
Mangan
1970 Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Unknown Walter
Lynch
Frank
Clancy
Paraic
Potter
Eamonn
Mangan
1971 Gerry
Cronin
Billy
Potter
Unknown Walter
Lynch
Frank
Clancy
Unknown Eamonn
Mangan
Cronin Family
1978 Gerry
Cronin
David
Cronin
Derek
Cronin
Paul
Cronin
Geraldine
Cronin
Jacqueline
Cronin (Accd)
 
               
               

Discography

Singles:

Tips of My Fingers / Ring of Fire
Pye Records / Unknown / May, 1965
Among The Wicklow Hills / A Little Bit of Heaven
Pye Records / 7N.17098 / April, 1966
Mynah Bird (Marco Petrassi) / The Carnival Is Over
Pye Records / 7N.17127 / June, 1966
Dark Circles / Our Theme of Love
Pye Records / 7N.17185 / September, 1966
An Old Christmas Card / Stand At Your Window
Pye Records / 7N.17234 / December, 1966
The Club Kick / You're The Nearest Thing To Heaven
Pye Records / 7N.17502 / April, 1968
Fishing For The Shoal / Bobby
Pye Records / Unknown / June, 1968
Hitch Hiker / The Bride's Bouquet
Emerald Records / MD.1140 / April, 1970
One Step Away From Nowhere / Whisper To The Wind
Emerald Records / MD.1152 / November, 1970
Galway Boys Hurrah / 'm A Galwayman - Galwaymen
Unknown Records / Unknown / September, 1974
Don't Know Why I Love You - Cronin Family
Unknown Records / Unknown / July, 1979

 

Albums:

Country and Western Time
Emerald Records - GES 1037 - June,1970
Ohio Country
Emerald Records - GES 1072 - January, 1972

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Gerry Cronin - RIP:  After starting with the Johnny Flynn Band, Gerry left the band sometime in the early to mid 1960's and formed his own band, The Ohio. The band started as a showband and eventually went on to country music and eventually pop as it became the Cronin Family Band in the late 70's and early 80's. Sadly Gerry passed away April 3, 1988 and he was only in his late 40's..
Billy Potter:
Billy Carson - RIP: Born in Glasgow in 1942, Billy moved to Athenry in the early `1960's. He would spend most of his career with the Swingtime Aces showband but he sadly passed away in September, 2002.
Des Hopkins:
Liam Meade:
Paraic Potter: Paraic left the band around 1970 and we think he returned home to Sligo where he helped form the Jazz Ladds who have attained legendary status across the Northwest. They regularly play at major jazz festivals across the country and can be seen every Friday evening in the Glasshouse Hotel where they have been playing a regular session every week for several years (2017).     
Marco Petrassi:
Ollie Maloney: RIP Ollie left the Johnny Flynn Band in the mid 1960's (we not sure if it was the same time as Gerry Cronin), but we do know he ended up with the Ohio showband for a short time. He then formed his own Ollie Maloney Band in the 1970's. Sadly, Ollie died of a heart attack on March 23, 1994, he was in his mid 50's.      
John Browne:
Teddy McCoy:
Frank Clancy: Frank went on to join Magic and the Swallows, based in Galway which eventually became the Magic Band. At one point Frank owned his own company in Tuam. In January 2014, we received an update from Frank. He said he doesn't play music much any more and is 80% retired but he is still partly involved in a small GPS company called Celtrak and plays golf regularly.
Band Member:

Partial Discography-Singles:

Ring of Fire / Tips of My Fingers
PYE Records - 7N.
Among The Wicklow Hills / A Little Bit of Heaven
PYE Records - 7N.17098 - 1966
Myna Bird / The Carnival Is Over
Pye Records - 7N.17127 - 1966
Dark Circles / An Old Christmas Card
Stand At Your Window
Theme Of Love

 

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2002-2017 GMS Productions

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