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Silver Pennies / April South Feature (1971-1986?)

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

The Story

The first reference we have found to the band was in July, when Paddy and the Silver Pennies appeared at the Lough Ramor Farmers Ballroom Big Band Carnival in Virginia, Co. Cavan. We are pretty confident the Silver Pennies were formed at the start of 1970 (articles from July, 1972, stated they had been formed "18 months ago"). The first few adverts we found have them appearing on the same bill as the Victor Sylvester Orchestra one night night and with the Dubliners in the Beechmount Ballroom in Navan a few weeks later and we have discovered through an article in March, 1971 that they were indeed the relief band in the Beechmount Ballroom for 15 months before hitting the road. In January, 1971 they were listed as the Silver Pennies Showband.

The original lineup was: Paddy Boy (vocals), John McKenna (leader and bass), Gerry Curtis (guitar), Sean Callaghan (drums), Michael McGoldrick (keyboards), Martin Reilly (trumpet) and Tommy McCormick (trombone).

The first mention of the Silver Pennies we can find in Spotlight came on June 10, 1972. In his Dateline London column, Paschal Mooney raved about the band's tour of London dance dates. The 8 piece outfit was managed by Eddie Kelly of Kingscourt who spent a lot of money publicising the band in the summer of 1972. Hardly a week went by between June and August where he did not run an advert for the band. 

By January, 1972, the band had completed two tours of England and were going strong and had also added another musician,. sax player, Dermot Sharpe. In April, they released their first record, I'm Your Little Boy, which featured Paddy on vocals which was recorded in Dublin's Trend studios (at the time the only 8 track studio in Dublin) and produced by Noel Kelehan.

In June, 1972 the band was joined by April South (a.k.a. Marian Curry from Teemore, Co. Cavan, although Spotlight identified her as being from Enniskillen). The same article in Spotlight said she had been the resident singer with the band in Dublin's Laurel Park Ballroom, but we're not sure if this is true. However they were now a nine piece, an oddity in the 1970's. Despite adding a female lead vocalist the band was still being advertised as "Paddy Boy and the Silver Pennies" five and six months later. This issue would seem to plaque them for several years. 

By 1973, the band was doing very well all up and down the country, playing the same venues as the biggest names on the scene. Late in the year they released their next single which this time featured April singing One Tin Solder with Paddy on the B side. 

In mid-1974 (around June) the band underwent a major overhaul when several members left and the band advertised that they now had a new sound. John McKenna left the band to join the newly formed Magic and the Swallows in Galway, also gone was the band's brass section as well as a new drummer. The former nine piece superband was now a six piece group. TYhe new bass player was Pat Hughes from Navan, along with a new drummer, Dave Guy.

Once the band was a six piece, they more or less stayed with tis size line-up for the rest of their time on the road. In 1978, they went down to a five piece with April (we think) playing the keyboards. During this period they started referring to themselves in their adverts as a "boogie band."

In January, 1979, the band dropped the "Silver Pennies" name and became April and the Pennies "The Big Boogie Band" featuring "Action Man" (Paddy Boy). In August, 1979, they lost their bass player and April picked up the instrument.     

During 1980, it is apparent from occasional articles in newspapers that there was tension in the band between their "country image" with Paddy Boy which helped them when they toured England with the Irish ballrooms and the edgier rock vibe which was more apparent with April's songs selections. We say it was "apparent" as eventually something had to give and in December, 1981 the band announced Paddy Boy had departed after leading the band for the past nine years. April South took over as lone lead vocalist and the band was renamed the Pennies and focused on a rock/pop sound.

In an article in the Donegal Democrat in January 1984, April was reported to have said it upset her that the band was still being advertised as April South and the Silver Pennies as April explained the Silver Pennies had "disbanded two years earlier (around 1981), to be replaced by the Pennies and that for the past year they were known as the April South Band."

In September 1986, April apparently went off the road for four months to six months due to throat problems. She was replaced by a singer who called herself Vicki Steele (hard to believe that would be her real name). In July, 1987, an article appeared in the Anglo Celt newspaper asking where April had gone, it had been a year since she had temporarily retired and had yet to return. Another article in 1988 asked the same question and so we have to assume that April did not return to the band, but we will try to find out more. 

More to come...   

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Silver Pennies-1972

Silver Pennies-1972

Silver Pennies-1972

April & Paddy Boy - 1972

Silver Pennies - 1972

Paddy Boy (KG) Silver Pennies (KG) April South (KG) Silver Pennies (KG) (Silver) Pennies (KG)
Silver Pennies (KG) April South (KG) Paddy Boy (KG) April South Silver Pennies (RF)
Silver Pennies (RF) Silver Pennies (RF) Silver Pennies (RF) Silver Pennies (RF) April South Band (GC)

Silver Pennies-1975 (GC)

Silver Pennies-1976 (GC)

Silver Pennies-1977 (GC)

Silver Pennies-1978 (GC)

Silver Pennies-1978 (GC)

   

Silver Pennies - 1971

Silver Pennies - 1971

Silver Pennies - 1972

Coming Soon

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Coming Soon

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Coming Soon

Years Vocals Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Trumpet Sax Trombone
March
1971
Paddy
Boy
  Gerry
Curtis
John
McKenna
Sean
Callaghan
Michael
McGoldrick
Martin
Reilly
  Tommy
McCormick
Jan
1972
Paddy
Boy
  Gerry
Curtis
John
McKenna
Sean
Callaghan
Michael
McGoldrick
Martin
Reilly
Dermot
Sharpe
Tommy
McCormick
Jan
1972
Paddy
Boy
April
South
Gerry
Curtis
John
McKenna
Sean
Callaghan
Michael
McGoldrick
Martin
Reilly
Dermot
Sharpe
Tommy
McCormick
June,
1974
Paddy
Boy
April (keys)
South
Gerry
Curtis
Pat
Hughes
Dave
Guy
      Gilbert
O'Reilly
1975 Paddy
Boy
April
South
Gerry
Curtis
Pat
Hughes
Dave
Guy
Pauric
Reilly
     
1977 Paddy
Boy
April
South
Gerry
Curtis
Pat
Hughes
Sean
McCormick
Pauric
Reilly
     
1978 Paddy
Boy
April
South
Gerry
Curtis
Paul
Gurney
Malachy
O'Brien
       
August
1979
Paddy
Boy
April (bass)
South
Paul
Thomas
  Malachy
O'Brien
Gerry (keys)
Curtis
     
Dec
1981
  April
South
Gerry
Curtis
Unknown Unknown Unknown      
                   

Discography (incomplete)

I'm Your Little Boy (Paddy Boy) / Climb Up
Columbia Label - April, 1972
One Tin Soldier (April) / The Brew / Yes Tonight Josephine (Paddy Boy)
Velvet Records - VE 038 - 1973
Ride Your Hobby Horse
Rockelly Records - Unknown - August, 1979
Light of Love / Paradise Walk
Rockelly Records - RKR 10780 - 1980
Heros of the Night (April South)
Unknown Records - Unknown - December, 1981
Drift Away (April South)
Unknown Records - Unknown - January, 1986

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

April South: In a recent online article, we learned April (real name Marian Curry), left the Pennies in 1986 and moved to London where she performed traditional Irish music with 'April South and Friends'. Paignton in Devon was her next port-of-call in 1993, and, (under the stage-name 'Mariane') she spent a number of years securing residencies in hotels and clubs along the coast. She also had a regular spot in 'The Mucky Duck' bar in Tenerife. In the late 1990's she returned to Ireland and has been playing Country music with partner Ally Harron.
Gerry Curtis:
John McKenna:
Pat Hughes:
Paddy Boy:
Band Member:

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