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All the news from 2009 on the site and the scene.....

Headlines from: 2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009 /  2008 / 2007

Click here for our news archives including articles from Irish papers

4th December, 2009....Death of Liam Clancy

Sad news today as Liam Clancy, the last surviving member of the Clancy Brothers, has passed away in Cork aged 74, after a long illness. Born in Carrick-On-Suir, Co. Tipperary he emigrated to the United States with Tommy Makem in 1956 as his other brothers had gone to Canada in the 40's. The brothers started performing at folk gigs in the States and at one point legend Bob Dylan called Liam the "best ballad singer" he had heard in his life. After splitting with his brothers, Liam joined forces with Tommy Makem and the pair became a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1990, after his brother Tom passed away, Liam rejoined his brothers and performed with them in the early 90's. In recent years, Liam had performed around the world as a solo act, usually with musicians Paul Grant and Kevin Evans. According to his website, Liam was currently working on an album and his autobiography. With the death of partner Tommy Makem in 2007 and Dubliner Ronnie Drew in 2008, Liam's passing is a sombre reminder of the ending of an era which started a half century ago. Our sincere sympathies go out to Liam's family, fans and friends across Ireland and the rest of the world.  

3rd December, 2009....Change in A Little Bit Showband air time this week

Janet Gallagher of RTE emailed us today to let us know that the next episode in the "A Little Bit Showband" series which features Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg will be airing at 7:30 p.m. this coming Sunday, not at 8:30 p.m. as originally scheduled.

24nd November, 2009...Book Launch by Premier Aces' Johnny Carroll

Last night I attended the book launch for Johnny Carroll's new biography, Oh Mein Papa. Written by Philomena Gallagher, the book tells Johnny's story as one of the youngest musicians ever to play in a showband at only thirteen. The book documents his career in music with the Premier Aces, Swallows, Magic Band and finally as a solo artist. It is also a touching story of a family man who lost his first wife, Stella, to cancer at age 37, leaving him with four children to raise on his own. The launch was held in conjunction with a week long dance outing which brought dancers from across the North to the Central Hotel in Donegal at which Johnny and several other bands are playing. Johnny, who turned 66 recently, sounded as good as ever. I also met Barney Greene, drummer with The Breakaways, and talked at length about his career in the showbands starting in 1968. Click here for the full report.

2nd November, 2009....RTE announces details for second Showband series

Eanya Gallagher from RTE television emailed us today to announce the upcoming schedule for the second series of A Little Bit Showband. The six part series will air on RTE 1 starting Sunday, 15th November at 8:30 p.m. and continue every Sunday through December 20th.
The artists scheduled to be featured are:

Joe Mac - 15th November
He was the “Clown Prince” comedian of the showbands.  Joe Mac (aka Joe Mc Carthy from Cork) was drummer with The Dixies Showband, but that doesn’t begin to describe it.  His mad physical antics and elastic face made him famous.  But his personal life was marked by great joy and great tragedy.
Kelley -22nd November
Kelley from Cork was the sexy “blonde bombshell” of the showband world. She partied as hard as any of the men on the showband scene. Although in her heyday Kelley’s name was romantically linked with many men (even Tom Jones), Kelley never married, but she has no regrets.
Derek Dean - 29th November
Controversial front-man with The Freshmen, Derek gives a rollercoaster account of how he drank and slept his way from ballroom to church hall in a showband life with less sax and more sex. Derek’s accounts of his showband days often differ from the gloss and wholesome nostalgia that surround the Showband era.
Swarbriggs - 6th December
The Swarbrigg Brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, have shared a lifetime of music together.  From the brass band in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, to the whirlwind of showband fame. From two Eurovision appearances, through personal crises, their fortunes have always been intertwined, for better or for worse.
Tony Kenny - 13th December
True blue Dubliner, Tony started life as a butcher’s assistant, but his fabulous voice made his fortune. Starting out in The Sands Showband, he went on to play Jesus in a controversial production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and made a name for himself as a star of the theatre and cabaret stage.
Danny Ellis - 20th December
The story of Danny Ellis’ tragic childhood shaped his music when he eventually let it.  From abandonment by his mother, to an upbringing in Artane Industrial School, he thought he had found freedom from pain as a trombonist and singer/song-writer in the showbands.  But he discovered he needed to let that “little boy” speak. His recent best-selling album “800 voices” is the result. and members of our community once again assisted the show's producers by supplying photos and information from our pages and their collections.

October 20, 2009...Maisie McDaniel Tribute CD Launched

In June, 2008, fans of the showband era were saddened to learn of the sudden death of one of the periods earliest stars, Maisie McDaniel at her home in Sligo. Maisie's career in music came full circle tonight when her daughter, Lisa Stanley, launched a new CD of her mother's greatest hits sung by Lisa and other stars including Sandy Kelly. The event was compered by one of the era's greatest supporters, Senator Pascal Mooney. The programme, which was a celebration of Maisie's career, included performances by local artists, Paud Griffin, Georgie Gorman and Marian Fitzgerald, along with Patrick Feeney, Philomena Begley, Maisie's former husband, Fintan Stanley (back in Sligo form his home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts) and finally Lisa, herself, along with Deirdre Stanley. Although a crowd of 300 was expected, more than 500 people show up to dance and clap along. Maisie's legacy lives on in the voice and songs of her talented daughter, Lisa.  

September 20, 2009....Death of Glen Curtin (New Blues, Nevada, Galaxy Band)

It is with sincere regret that we learned of the death of singer Glen "Harry" Curtin this evening in Dublin. Former bandmate of Glen, Fergus McElligot had emailed us a few days ago telling us Glen was gravely ill and today we received word from another member of our community that Glen passed away, he was 66. Glen started his career in England with his own family's band and came to Ireland around 1971. He started with a showband called Xanadu which also featured Tara. He then joined the New Blues. After the New Blues, Glen joined The Nevada where he sang opposite Tina. He then formed his own Galaxy Band in the late seventies/early eighties. He had many hit records during his showband career. His album "The Very Best of Glen Curtin" was recently released on Crashed Records. Our sincere sympathies to his family and friends.   


September 16, 2009....Death of Mainliner's Cyril McKevitt

Community member John McGrenra sent us an email today informing us of the sudden death of Mainliners' trombonist Cyril McKevitt yesterday, Sept 15th. Cyril and the Mainliners had just finished Big Tom's 2009 tour which ended Sunday, September 13th in the West County Hotel in Ennis, Co. Clare. Kathleen Smith has written to tell us Cyril was 69 when he passed away. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family, friends and members of the Mainliners.



September 7, 2009....Death of Clipper's Mick O'Hanlon

Terry McCafferty sent us an email today informing us of the passing of another member of the Clipper Carlton, drummer Mick O'Hanlon from Strabane. His funeral will be leaving his home in Ballindrait (outside Lifford, Co. Donegal) on Thursday, 10th September. He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends in the music business. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.



August 13, 2009....Champions to Tour Again

Gina, Dale Haze and the Champions will be taking to the road again this Fall after a seventeen year break. An article in the Kerryman details the story of the band's reunion, as well as the dates they will be playing. Click here to learn more.

August 13, 2009...Death of Les Paul aged 94

Although he never played with an Irish showband, Les Paul, inventor of the solid body guitar and one of the earliest innovators in multi track recording had a profound effect of nearly every Irish musician who picked up a guitar or recorded a song. Born in 1915, he started playing professionally when he was only 13 and by the 30's and 40's he was one of the foremost figures in the recording industry. With his wife Mary Ford (who passed away in 1977) he had 36 gold records. Despite his age, Les continued to perform a weekly session at the Iridium Club in New York until his death. Along with Leo Fender, Les probably had more influence on the recording and performing of music than almost any other person over the last half century.



July 13, 2009...Death of Mighty Avons' Martin (Francis) Geraghty

Sadly, we found out in September about the death of Martin Geraghty last July from a member of his immediate family, Catriona Donnelly. Martin (real name Francis) was a member of both Ian Corrigan's Country Style as well as the Mighty Avons. In fact, after the departure of Gene Stuart to form his own band, the Homesteaders, Martin took over lead vocal duties with the Mighty Avons in the mid 1970's. Martin was just 11 days shy of his 57th birthday when he died. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.


May 30, 2009....Death of Sean Mahon

Liam O'Reilly writes to tell us Sean Mahon of the Freshmen passed away yesterday.

From The Belfast Telegraph: Death Notices: MAHON, SEAN - May 29, 2009, peacefully, at Ulster Hospital, dearly-beloved husband of Phemia, St. John's House, Point Road, Killough, and much-loved father of Damian, Denise, Paul, Clare and Fiona. Funeral from his late residence tomorrow (Sunday) at 11.00 a.m. for 12.00 noon Mass at St. Patrick's Church, Downpatrick. Interment afterwards in Struell Cemetery. Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, to Marie Curie Cancer Care, c/o Seamus Fitzsimons, Funeral Directors, 72 Scotch Street, Downpatrick, BT30 6AN. Very deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife and family.

Our sincere sympathies are extended to Sean's family and friends. 

May 28, 2009...Death of Dave McHale

Bobby Kelly told us that David McHale, former sax player with Stagalee, and Sandie Jones and the Boyfriends, has passed away in Germany. Dave came to worldwide prominence when he played on the Boomtown Rats album, Mondo Bongo in 1980. At this point, we have been unable confirm Dave's death on the Internet, but Bobby has told us many of Dave's friends in and around Dublin have been mourning his passing. Our sincere sympathies to Dave's family and friends.



May 1, 2009........Report of spam emails mentioning our site

I received an email today from a concerned member saying they had received a spam email from someone who said they saw their profile at Sadly, there is little we can do to stop this. Any of you who have used emails for several years and are "active" on the Internet already know that spam emails are a part of the price you pay to be involved. Personally I receive 200-300 everyday (many come from spammers using our guestbook) and all I can do it erase them. If you ever want to have your name and email deleted from the site, just send us an email and we will remove you. However, it is most likely you will not escape spam if you are in any way active on the Internet. Our advice is to ignore all these spam emails and delete them immediately...unless they come from someone you know (and even then be careful, spammers are also hijacking email addresses these days as well). We hope this helps.   

April 27, 2009........Death of Dave Glover

We received news from member Liam O'Reilly that Dave Glover passed away Monday.
The following is from Eddie McIlwaine in the Belfast Telegraph: Showman Dave Glover, who has died at 85, used to tell friends that he spent a lifetime stoking up a musical flame — because he had been born in a fire station. And the band leader who decorated ballrooms the length and breadth of Ireland — but especially the Arcadia in Portrush and the Floral Hall at Bellevue — wasn’t being funny. He was indeed born in the Ardoyne Fire Station. “I've vague memories of watching the fire engines going out with their bells ringing,” he once said. “Part of the station was converted into apartments for ex-servicemen like my dad Sam, an inspector on the trams, and my mum Eileen.” As a boy of 14 he sang in the choir at Whitehouse Parish Church and dreamed of music as a career. But his mother insisted on a trade and he became an apprentice fitter in the shipyard and later at planemakers Shorts. Eventually he and his brothers set up Roundwood Engineering which flourished for years in the city before the family sold out. But before that happened Dave had to make his mind up between engineering and bands — he chose music. “I never had any regrets about my decision although I could have become a wealthy man when Roundwood was sold,” he said. Dave was twice married to singers in his band — and divorced. His first wife was Lynne Shaw with whom he had a son David and a daughter Debra, and his second wife, Muriel Day, became a household name in 1969 when she came fourth in the Eurovision Song Contest with Wages Of Love. In recent times Dave, whose partner for 32 years was Anne Mulholland, lived quietly at Carnmnoney where he took an active interest in the music scene.
(Editor's note: Teddie Palmer tells us Dave was playing regularly with his jazz band up until last year).

March 23, 2009......Death of Eddie Maher

We received the the sad news that Eddie Maher, former drummer with the Maher family and with the Rockets, passed away suddenly in Drogheda. The Maher family came to fame when they were winners on Hughie Green's Opportunity Knocks. Eddie played drums with his brother Dave in the Rockets. He was the son of former Champion handballer Joey Maher. His three brothers, Michael, Dave and Robbie and sister Linda were all involved in the music business and our sincere sympathies are extended to them, as well as Eddie's family and friends. From Liam Reilly.  

March 20, 2009.....Death of Shay O'Hara

We have received several emails telling us of the death of Shay O'Hara, former lead singer with the Royal Blues Showband. Originally from Carlow, Shay joined the Royal Blues in 1963 when members of Pete Brown's Band of Renown broke away to form their own group. He sang with the band for over five years and left in 1968. Shay eventually emigrated to Australia where he settled and lived until his death. He formed his own band down under called the Celtic All Stars which played across the country to Irish and Australian audiences alike. Our sympathies are extended to his family and friends across the world.

January 27, 2009....Louis Walsh is Mayo Person of the Year

Louis Walsh, former showband manager and roadie, has become one of the best known personalities on the Irish and International entertainment scene. From his humble beginnings as a lad from Kiltimagh who set up gear for the Royal Blues and managed the group, Time Machine, Louis has made his mark both at home and abroad. This article from Michael Cummins (also a long time supporter of the showbands) give Louis' history and recognizes his achievements from his native Mayo.  Click Here


January 14, 2009....Feature on Frankie McDonald

Frankie McDonald, former member of the Drifters, among others, is the subject of a feature in the Westmeath Independent. After forty years living in Athlone (although a native of Clones in County Monaghan) Frankie has left an indelible mark on the town's music and cultural landscape including extensive performance milestones as well as having started the Athlone School of Music. For more info and a copy of the article, click here



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