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Royal/New Blues Story (1963-1982)

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

The Royal Blues Story

Formed in Claremorris, Co. Mayo in April, 1963, the Royal Blues were one of The West's first successful top tier showbands. They were managed by the late Andy Creighton, who would later guide the fortunes of the Plattermen, Memories, and a host of other bands. The band made it big very quickly and within six weeks of being formed, went on a tour of the Irish halls in the United States. They would also tour the States every year after that during Lent, during which time the Irish dancing scene closed down.

The band was formed when four members of Pete Brown's Band of Renown from Kiltimagh left to strike out on their own. Frank Gill (sax), his brother Vincent (trombone), Brian Carr (bass), and Doc Carroll (guitar) rounded out the new lineup with Shay O'Hara (vocals), Don Flanagan (drums), Bobby Smith (trumpet), and Brendan Arnold (guitar). Doc, Brendan and Vincent were also featured vocalists along with Shay. Based in Claremorris, their reputation grew very quickly and in only a few months, they became one of the industry's top draws, and they were soon packing them in across the country.

Their first record in 1965 was Loves Going to Live Here which was sung by Shay O'Hara, but wasn't a great success. However, their big break came with their next single, Old Man Trouble, which featured Doc Carroll on vocals. The record shot straight to number 1 in the Irish charts and made the band a household name. Even though the band would never again enjoy a number one hit, they did continue to make records that reached the Irish top ten. Far Away From You featuring Doc Carroll went to number 8 in 1966, as well as Shay's Santa Natale which also reached number 8.

In April, 1968, Shay O'Hara left the band to replace Houston Wells in the Premier Aces, and manager Andy Creighton was quoted in Spotlight magazine and saying he would not be replaced. Shay was quoted in Spotlight's April 20th, 1968 issue saying, "I was unhappy with the Blues because they weren't doing enough of my kind of music." Although they continued on as a seven piece for a time, they eventually added Dublin man, Joe Quigley. In the meantime, Doc Carroll had become the main vocalist after the success of Old Man Trouble. During the mid 60's, the Royal Blues also toured the Irish dance halls in the United States on an annual basis. They were in America during the turbulent times following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In the October 3rd, 1969 issue of Spotlight, the band announced they were going to record a country and western album, and also mentioned the addition of a new singer, Joe Quigley and new trombone player, Pat Lynch who was replacing manager Vincent Gill in the band. Vincent was also quoted as saying, "Shay O'Hara, who has gone to Australia." So we know he had left the band to emigrate and, in fact recently passed away in Australia in March, 2009.  Strangely enough though, Vincent was still pictured as being part of the lineup in March, 1971 and apparently did not leave the stage.

In June, 1971, the band released the last single to feature Doc Carroll. Night Runners b/w Be My Guest did not make an impact on the charts and it came just before a new lead singer joined the band.  

In October, 1971, Pascal Mooney announced in his Dateline London column in Spotlight that the band had added singer, whom he described as a "comparative unknown." Although not named in the article, this was Jon Lord. At this point Doc Carroll was still with the band and Pascal mentioned Doc would "continue to play an important part in the group's restructuring." A few months later, it was reported that Jon had been discovered by manager Tommy Hayden who saw him in cabaret in the Drake Inn, Dublin.   

By the early seventies, the era of the big ballrooms and the big showbands was waning and the band underwent a major change. In February, 1972, Doc Carroll followed the lead of peers like Brendan Bowyer and Dickie Rock and left the Royal Blues after 10 years to form his own band, The Nightrunners. The new band would boast two future superstars in addition to Doc...Tom Allen (who became TR Dallas) and his brother Tony, who would go to worldwide fame as half of Foster and Allen. 

The New Blues take over

The Royal Blues, like several other bands of the era, faced a dilemma after losing Doc. They also apparently lost lead singer Jon Lord as they brought in a new lead singer who used the stage name (we think), Bobby Magee, along with Dave and Larry Flood and renamed themselves The New Blues. Vincent Gill remained a member of the new lineup for at least a short time. Additionally Jon Lord was gone at this time.

Meanwhile, late in 1971, a relatively young (23) Glen Curtin came home to Cork after spending 3 years in England on the cabaret scene. He was recruited to front a new band called simply, Glen Curtin's Band. Along with a 16 year old Cork girl who went under the name, Tara, the new band was managed by Matt Nodwell who had previously looked after the fortunes of Pat Lynch.

In May, 1972, an article in Spotlight reported that Glen (whose own band had not done well) had been drafted into a reconstituted New Blues along with Tara, the girl singer who had also been with his own band previously. We think this was a mistake as around this time a girl named Tara joined the new Sands and it was Lola (aka Anne Mooney) who joined the New Blues. Glen's own band had only been on the road for nine months. Explained Glen, "things didn't go as well as expected and after nine months I was on the point of going back to London when Tommy Hayden asked me to front the New Blues." After this major change in personal, the band was not yet done. They released a single with Glen called Don't Say A Word, which introduced Glen, but didn't sell very well. At the same time, nearly half the band left. Vincent Gill took over management was left the stage. Also gone were Dave Flood, Bobby Smith and Brian Carr. They were replaced by Brendan Arnold (bass), John O'Brien (guitar) and an unknown musician who may have played trumpet (we are still investigating).  

As with many bands who underwent major changes, the New Blues never quite lived up to the success of the Royal Blues, although they continued to do reasonable business and had the very talented Glen Curtin, who recorded their only chart single, I'd Love You to Want Me in 1973.   

In 1974 Glen was tapped to replace Red Hurley in the Nevada. Frank Gill joined Lola (Anne Mooney) as the band's two lead singers. Larry Flood also left the band to move to Johnny McEvoy's Band, but had also left that band by February, 1975. Based on info we received from Kieran Cavanagh, Vincent Gill had returned to the stage and was playing trumpet and trombone.

1975 proved to be a tumultuous year for the band. Early in the year, shakeups in the lineup lead to big changes. Kieran Cavanagh joined the band in March 1975. At that time Lola was still there, but Glen Curtin had just left a short time earlier. Lola departed later that year in July and an article in Spotlight announced the signing of Ballinasloe native, Nora Larkin as the band's new female lead singer. She had previously been singing in England in the Birmingham area, but returned home to take up the new position with the Blues. 

At the same time Lola, who was quoted in Spotlight that "singing in the dance halls was repetitive and uninteresting, moved into cabaret. There was talk of a single with Tony Kenny, but we're not sure if it was released. Frank Gill and the original drummer, Paddy Glynn, were still in the band.

In early 1976, the "new" New blues were formed with the exception of Kieran and Tommy Lyndsey (both from Easkey, Co. Sligo), it was a new line up. The band was then fronted by Carole Wallace from Drogheda and Keith Beattie from Dublin.

Kieran Cavanagh takes up the story from a recent email, "We were together until mid 1982 when I disbanded the band as manager and bass player. Everyone scattered to various bands and walks of life, but of course our then sax player, Ritchie Buckley, went on to great things playing with Van Morrison and other well known International artists."

More to come....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Royal Blues
Royal Blues (JB) Royal Blues (BF) Royal Blues - 1966 (LR) Royal Blues (BF) Royal Blues (LR)
Doc Carroll of the
Royal Blues

Bobby Smith of the Royal Blues (KS)

Royal Blues (LR) Royal Blues (LR)

Royal Blues - 1968

Royal Blues - 1968

Royal Blues - 1971 Royal Blues - 1968 (LR)

Shay O'Hara - 1967

Doc & Brian in 1968

Royal Blues - 1968

Royal Blues - 1971 Royal Blues - 1971 Royal Blues (PL) Royal Blues (PL)
       
Royal Blues (PL)

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New Blues
Glen Curtin, Lola & the New Blues - 1973

New Blues (LF)

New Blues - 1974 (LR) Lola of The New Blues - 1974

Lola, Frank Gill & The New Blues (LF)

New Blues - 1974 (LR) Carole & The New Blues (DD)

New Blues (TC)

New Blues - 1972 (LF)

New Blues - 1976 (TC)

         

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Lineup Changes (More to come)
 

Years Vocals Gtr/Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Sax Trmpt/Keys Trmbn/Keys

ROYAL BLUES

1963 Shay
O'Hara
Doc
Carroll
Brendan
Arnold
Brian
Carr
Don
Flanagan
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Vincent
Gill
1968   Doc
Carroll
Brendan
Arnold
Brian
Carr
Don
Flanagan
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Vincent
Gill
1969 Joe
Quigley
Doc
Carroll
Brendan
Arnold
Brian
Carr
Don
Flanagan
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Pat
Lynch
1971 Joe
Quigley
Doc
Carroll
Brendan
Arnold
Brian
Carr
Paddy
Glynn
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Pat
Lynch?
Sept.
1971
Jon
Lord
Doc
Carroll
John
O'Brien
Brian
Carr
Paddy
Glynn
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Vincent
Gill

NEW BLUES

Mar
1972
Bobby
Magee
Larry
Flood (keys)
Dave
Flood
Brian
Carr
Paddy
Glynn
Frank
Gill
Bobby
Smith
Vincent
Gill
Oct.
1972
Glen
Curtin
Lola (Anne
Mooney)
John
O'Brien
Brendan
Arnold
Paddy
Glynn
Frank
Gill
Larry
Flood
Unknown
1973 Glen
Curtin
Lola (Anne
Mooney)
John
O'Brien
Brendan
Arnold
Paddy
Glynn
Frank
Gill
Larry
Flood
 
1974 Frank
Gill
Lola (Anne
Mooney)
John
O'Brien
Brendan
Arnold
Paddy
Glynn
  Larry
Flood
 
Mar.
1975
Frank
Gill
Lola (Anne
Mooney)
Tommy
Lyndsey
Kieran
Cavanagh
Paddy
Glynn
Noel
Guthrie
Bill (keys)
Faughnan
Vincent
Gill
1976 Nora   Tommy
Lyndsey
Kieran
Cavanagh
John
McManus
Ritchie
Buckley
Tommy
O'Connor
Keith
Beattie
1978 Carole
Wallace
  Tommy
Lyndsey
Kieran
Cavanagh
John
McManus
Ritchie
Buckley
Tommy
O'Connor
Keith
Beattie
                 

 

Discography

Royal Blues

Singles:
Love's Going To Live Here (Shay O'Hara)
Parlophone Records - Unknown - 1965
Old Man Trouble (Doc Carroll) - #1 Irish Charts
Parlophone Records - Unknown - January, 1966
Far Away From You / Rosa Lee (I Can't Go On) (Doc Carroll) - #8 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.17166 - September, 1966
Santa Natale / Stop The World (Shay O'Hara) - #8 Irish Charts
Pye Records - Unknown - September, 1966
There Goes My Heart Again / Another Bridge To Burn (Doc Carroll)
Pye Records - 7N.17360 - August, 1967
Croce D'Oro /  Here's A Toast to You, Claddagh (Shay O'Hara) - #18 Irish Charts
Pye Records - Unknown - October, 1967
Santa Natale / Stop The World (Shay O'Hara) Re-released
Pye Records - Unknown - September, 1966
Mountain of Love / Wishful Thinking
Pye Records - 7N.17670 - December, 1968
Mendocino / Hi-Lilli, Hi-Lo
Pye Records - 7N.17732 - May, 1969
Proud Mary / Sunny Girl Friend
Pye Records - 7N.17769 - June, 1969
High As A Mountain / Wildwood Flower
Pye Records - 7N.17847 - November, 1969
Slaney Valley / She's Leaving Town (Frank Gill)
Release Records - RL.575 - March, 1971
Night Runners / Be My Guest (Doc Carroll)
Release Records - RL.586 - June, 1971

Album:
In A Country Field
Golden Guinea Records - Unknown - November, 1969


New Blues

Don't Say A Word (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records - 1972
Love Me Love Me Love Me (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records - 1973
All For The Love of Sunshine (Glen Curtin)
Polydor Records, October, 1973
I'd Love You To Want Me / Meadow Green (Glen Curtin) - #7 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - November, 1973
Down By The River / Little Pleasure Acre (Lola)
Hawk Records - HASP 324 - 1973
Over and Over (Lola)
Hawk Records - Unknown - September, 1974
I'm So Afraid of Falling / The Snows of '49 (Lola)
Hawk Records - HASP 355 - December 1974
Dance / You Lose A Lover (But Gain A Friend) (Lola)
Tap Records - TAP 003 - 1976
Never Can Tell / If I Could Ever Win Your Love (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 103 - 1977
Turn Away / Lovin On (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 107 - 1977
Baby You Should Be Laughing / All We Need Is Love (Carole)
Play Records - PLAY 111 - 1978
Wayward Wind / Lovin On (Carole)
Dallas Records - DAL 103 - February, 1981
You Keep A Knocking / He Still Thinks I Care (Carole)
Dallas Records - DAL 105 - 1981

Our thanks to Peter Kinsey for his help with this discography

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (Coming Soon)

Shay O'Hara - RIP: After leaving the Roya Blues in 1968, Shay went on to front the Premier Aces from nearby Castlerea. Eventually, Shay emigrated to Australia in 1969. Shay lived and worked in Australia, gaining great popularity with the vast number of Irish living "down under." Sadly, Shay passed away on March 20, 2009.
Doc Carroll - RIP: Doc left the Blues in 1972 and formed his own band, the Nightrunners. He eventually changed the name of the band to the Doc Carroll All Stars and continued to enjoy a very successful career during the 80's, 90's and up until his passing in 2005. One of the best loved of the showband era stars, Doc had a long and very successful career both on and off stage.  
Brendan Arnold: If you have info regarding Brendan, please let us know. 
Brian Carr: Michael Halligan writes us in early 2017 to say Brian is living in Fuengirola, Spain and is a keen golfer
and a playing member in Cerrado del Aguila. He frequents Finnegan's Pub in Fuengirola. If you have more info regarding Brian, please let us know. 
Don Flanagan: If you have info regarding Don, please let us know. 
Frank Gill: Peter Kinsey writes to tell us that Frank Still tours around Britain and Ireland with his own band these days. 
Bobby Smith: We received an email from John Delaney in October, 2009 telling us that Bobby lives in Dublin and still does various gigs around the country, although we have no more details. If you have additional info regarding Bobby, please let us know. 
Vincent Gill: Peter also tells us that Vincent is living in Killiney Dublin and has a courier business.   
Glen Curtin - RIP: Glen left the New Blues to join the Nevada for a short time before going out on his own to front The Galaxy Band. He then enjoyed a very successful solo career and released a CD in 2001 called Wild Colonial Boy. Sadly, Glen passed away on September 20, 2009 at the age of only 66.
Lola (Anne Mooney): Annie left the band to join the Big Eight. Annie (now Mullin) writes us to tell us that after leaving the Big Eight she did not work for about a year or two, but stayed on in Las Vegas. She then formed her own band and worked on the Las Vegas strip and eventually went on to have a very successful duo called, simply "Annie and Kenny." She also got married. Around 2001 she actually rejoined the band for a while and worked with Brendan and Aisling Bowyer, but eventually gave it up as it was too hard to be away from her family. Today she currently manages a psychologist's office in Las Vegas, but still sings regularly.
John O'Brien: After leaving the New Blues, John became the guitarist with Ireland's pop group of the late 70's and early 80's, Bagatelle who he is still with today. 
Paddy Glynn: John Corless writes to tell us Paddy is living in Claremorris these days and still gigs frequently. His son is a professional soccer player.    
Larry Flood: Larry wrote us in January, 2011 to tell us he left the New Blues in 1976 and formed a group called the Hustle which became the House band in the Hitching Post, Leixlip until 1980. He then then retired from music and became a flight Instructor. Today he has his own phone and electronics business in Dublin and is also Captain at  Knockanally Golf Club in Kildare for 2011. 
Kieran Cavanagh: Kieran hung up his bass and moved into management in the late 70's. Today he runs KCP Promotions and over the years, he has managed Gloria, Brush Shiels, Ray Lynam, Roly Daniels and the Rascals. He even looked after the fortunes of Jerry Lee Lewis for a time in the 1990's.    
Carole Wallace: Carol retired from the entertainment business and today lives in Drogheda.
Tommy Lyndsey: Kieran Cavanagh tells us Tommy runs a delivery service in his native Easkey and still performs in his own one man band.
John McManus: If you have info regarding John, please let us know. 
Tommy O'Gorman: Tommy O'Gorman currently lives in Dublin where he is involved in the transportation business. 
Tommy O'Connor - RIP: We received an email from Donal Cronin that Tommy sadly passed away on December 2, 2013. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.  
Ritchie Buckley: Ritchie went on to become one of Ireland's greatest musicians. He has collaborate with Van Morrison, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Dylan, Georgie Fame, Carlos Santana, Barry Manilow, and Elvis Costello. He has also recorded and performed with major Irish artists including The Cranberries, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Sinead O’Connor, Paul Brady and Bill Whelan. His critically acclaimed album 'Your Love is Here', featuring his own compositions and guest artists Lew Soloff and the Robin Aspland Trio, was recorded in September 2000.
Keith Beattie: Keith is now a teacher and as far as we know, he no longer performs professionally.

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