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Tallmen Feature (1971-79?)

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

The Story

The Tallmen were launched by manager Greg Hughes in April, 1971 and starred Hugo Duncan. Hugo had previously been doing cabaret around his native Strabane, but this was his first experience fronting a showband. The original lineup included: Hugo Duncan (vocals), Damien Given (trumpet - Derrick & the Sounds), Pio McCann (bass-Buckaroos), Leo Doran (sax-Plattermen), Paddy Phillips (keyboards), Sean Phillips (drums) and Aidan McPeake (keyboards). The last three members had been playing together locally as Pieces of Eight. They new band was based in Omagh. 

Hugo had started singing early on and was a regular prize winner at local feisanna throughout the North. At age 11, he got a part in the local pantomime production and knew performing was in his future. After leaving school, Hugo got a job in the local nylon factory and while there, he got friendly with members of the Melody Aces. In May, 1970, he joined the band and shared lead vocal chores with Shay Hutchinson while playing the bass.  

After six months, Hugo left the Aces and was spotted by bassist Pio McCann of the Polka Dots during a local talent contest. Frankie McBride had just left the Polka Dots and Hugo was asked to join. Unfortunately, the union didn't last long as the Polka Dots soon went off the road. Pio McCann got a job in a new band being put together by Greg Hughes which would become the Tallmen. He suggested Hugo and the band hit the road on Easter Sunday, 1971.   

Hugo's first record was Little Sweetheart c/w Morning Dew which was produced by legendary accordionist, footballer and singing star, Dermot O'Brien (RIP). However, the record was banned on RTE because it contained the line, "when old Ireland's wrongs are righted." They followed it up quickly with "Dear God," which climbed to number 3 in the Irish charts, giving the band the push they needed to quickly establish themselves on the ballroom circuit.

In November, 1974 Pascal Mooney reported in Spotlight that Hugo had been signed by Top Rank Entertainment and would be fronting a new band. A few weeks later, the new band advertised as the "New Tallmen," was on the road with Anne Lynch (formerly of the Tribesmen and sister of Jan "Shelly" Lynch ) sharing lead vocals with Hugo.

As for the original Tallmen, it is a little unclear what happened. However, an advert in December, 1975 in Spotlight announced a new lead singer with the band, Har, who had previously fronted the Escorts in the early 1970's. We are not sure what happened with the two "Tallmen" bands as they were managed by different managers. We think the New Tallmen changed their names to the Hugo Duncan Band and we are researching whether this is what happened.

With Har out front, the band released another few singles, including Where Has All The Love Gone in 1977. By 1979, Har had been joined by Patricia on lead vocals. However, we can't find any information on any records the band released after 1978, nor when the band may have eventually gone off the road. If you have any info, please send us an email and let us know.      

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Article - April, 1971 Tallmen - 1971 Tallmen - 1971 Hugo Duncan & The Tall Men-1971 (KS) Tallmen - 1971
Tallmen - 1972 Tallmen - 1972 Tallmen - 1972 Hugo Duncan Hugo Duncan & The Tallmen - 1973 (JB)
Tallmen - 1973 Tallmen - 1973 Tallmen - 1973 Tall Men 1974 Hugo Duncan - 1973
Anne Lynch & Hugo Duncan (AL) Patricia & Har of the Tallmen - 1979 (PH) Hugo Duncan (LR) Tallmen (RF) Tallmen (RF)
Tallmen (RF) Tallmen (RF) Tallmen (RF) Tallmen (RF) Coming Soon
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Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax Keyboards
1971 Hugo
1973 Hugo
Unknown Pio


Little Sweetheart / Morning Dew
Release Records - Unknown - 1971
Dear God / Another Day Another Dollar
- #3 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.585 - May, 1971
Tears On Her Bridal Bouquet / The Snakes Crawl At Night
Release Records - RL.600 - October, 1971
Three Leafed Shamrock / Poplar Bluff
- #7 Irish Charts
Rex Records - R.11074 - February, 1972
Eileen O'Grady / Is Anybody Going To San Antone
- #10 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.629 - June, 1972
Cry Cry Again
/ Tallmen - #8 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.649 - October, 1972

Old Bog Road
- #14 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.674 - May, 1973
Two Of The Usual
- #10 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.695 - October, 1973
Patsy McCann
- #15 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.722 - March, 1974

Where Has All The Love Gone / She's Kind and She's Mine
Play Records - PLAY 106 - 1977
There Will Never Be Another Ewe
Unknown Record Label - Unknown - December, 1978

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Hugo Duncan: Hugo continues to entertain audiences across Ireland and the UK. He is currently a presenter of BBC Radio Ulster.
Pio McCann: Today Pio is a presenter on Highland Radio, Letterkenny.
Damien Given:
Sean Phillips:
Paddy Phillips:
Leo Doran:
Aidan McPeake:
  Band Member:



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