Flying with The Blue Aces
The Blue Aces Band was formed in Waterford
round about 1957/58 from an earlier band called the MELLOCHORDS.
Rehearsals used to take place in bass player, Seamus Carew's front
room. How everyone fitted in remains a mystery. The bass in those
days was a full size upright bass fiddle!! Jerry O'Shea used to
carry his drum kit there in an old pram... Sophistication at its
finest!! However from these modest beginnings emerged one of the
finest bands in the country at that time.
I had been playing guitar with the "other" band
from Waterford in those days, Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband.
The lads had asked me to stand in for original guitarist, Jimmy
Conlon, who was studying for his accountancy exams. When Jimmy
returned, I was ready to move on and joined The Blue Aces.
my time with the band, from August 1961 there were quite a few
changes of dress. The earliest I can remember was blue shirts with
yellow neckerchiefs, then blue jackets and black trousers, paisley
type jackets, and finally all white suits. How they kept clean I'll
Again during my time, the 'Van" was a white
Commer minibus with seating for ten, space at the back and a roof
rack. Speakers, drum cases, and bass fiddle all went on top covered
with a tarpaulin, and it was parked in the open at night... innocent
times! Duchy O'Meara the trombone player, had the dubious honour of
loading the roof in all weathers.
I was involved in the earliest record made by
the band in Henry Street in Dublin in 1961 (Eamon Andrews studio I
think) It was a demo: Sucu Sucu/Kon Tiki/Last Night&Rockin Goose.
Other singles were made later when the band moved to the UK. These
were on Pye and Columbia labels.
Early excursions to the UK took place as with
other bands during Lent, when there was of course no dancing in
Ireland. Clubs visited were mainly in London, Manchester, and
Coventry. I myself never appeared on TV with the band, but in the
later sixties they did quite a bit of work for the BBC. In fact the
Blue Aces backed Lulu when she performed "Shout" on Top of the Pops.
In conclusion I have many fond memories of my
time with the "Aces" I visit Waterford often and meet up with the
boys. As recently as May 2002 a reunion was held in Waterford, the
proceedings being filmed by WLR the local TV station. Ahh what
After The Showbands
After moving to Liverpool in 1963 I became involved in engineering
with a large bus company. I'm afraid there wasn't much time for
music in those early years, due to family committments etc. However,
the occasional gig soon began to creep back in.
I have been retired since 1993 following an accident at work, and
now play lead guitar with a Country/Irish trio in local pubs and
clubs. My main interests now are grandchildren, gardening and guitar
playing. I am still in fairly regular contact with the Waterford
gang, and some other former music colleagues in Dublin, Limerick and
Cork, and try to visit "home" once or twice a year. I was last there
in October '04 for the jazz festival in Cork.
Life is sweet, my wife and I are looking forward to our 40th wedding
anniversary later this year (2005). I've come a long way since that
first gig in the Fishermans Hall in Dunmore East way back in
nineteen fifty something................