Episode 8 of ‘Showband Heroes – Dancing in the Dark’ features Irish folksinger, songwriter, banjo, guitarist and author, Gerry Madigan. Gerry is a seasoned professional with an impressive musical pedigree. Originally from Dublin, where he was weaned on the Dublin folk music scene that spawned artists like The Dubliners, Paul Brady, Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and many more, he subsequently enjoyed 15 successful years on the road with his own band, The Cotton Mill Boys. Gerry now lives in Calgary in Canada where he continues to write and make great music.
Episode 7 features Dushy ‘Gene’ Chetty, lead singer with ‘Gene and The Gents’, who came to Dublin in the early Sixties as a student but was so smitten by the sound of the Showbands and by the hysteria they created that he gave up his studies to join the band at the invitation of its legendary guitarist, Henry McCullough. As ‘Gene’, Dushy was an instant sensation in the ballrooms and concert venues throughout the island of Ireland. The band shared top billing with iconic British groups like The Tremeloes and The Move, among others, until the so-called ‘Troubles’ erupted and reminded Gene too much of the life he had left back in South Africa just six years before. As a result, he decided to quit the band and resume his studies. This is his story.
Episode 6 features Pat McCrossan, the inspirational guitarist from The Checkers, that featured on both of RTÉ TV’s showband series ‘Picking The Pops’ and ‘The Showband Show’ in the early Sixties. Pat is not just a great guitarist, he also made the twin-neck guitar he played on those iconic TV shows and, consequently, is often referred to as Ireland’s Les Paul. Here, Pat talks about his early musical influences in his native Derry and about his great musical journey with beat groups, folk groups and showbands such as The Magnificent Seven around Ireland, The UK, Canada and the USA, where he finally settled in Phoenix, Arizona. Pat McCrossan continues to perform, teach and inspire musicians to this day. This is his story.
Episode 5 features Jimmy Harte, the original lead singer with The Miami Showband who left that iconic band to finish his studies and to concentrate on securing a ‘steady job’ in Dublin just as the band was breaking big. Jimmy eventually went back to the music business and played with many of Ireland’s greatest musicians before emigrating to Australia where he continues to perform and to present his own twice-weekly radio show. Here, Jimmy presents a unique insight into the creation of a band that is now studied and written about at home and around the world while also speaking candidly about his regret mixed with relief for a heart-breaking decision that may well have saved his life.
Episode 4 features Maurice Cooney, who played bass with some of the finest musicians and greatest vocalists of his day, including Jim Farley, Roly Daniels, Brendan Quinn, Cahir O’Doherty and Red Hurley. Maurice’s band, which featured his brother, Harry, then went on to win Britain’s iconic TV Show, ‘New Faces’. Here, Maurice talks candidly about his life as a musician and how it all came to an abrupt end in 1996 – but also how a wonderful twist of fate brought him happiness that he never even imagined.
Episode 3 features Pat Kelly, whose career spans over fifty years; playing with some of Ireland’s most popular bands, including The Cowboys, Tweed, Louise Morrissey, Mick Flavin, Michael English and Robert Mizzell, among others. Here, Pat gives a unique and fascinating insight into The Showband era and why country music, in particular, still endures, almost unchanged, over the years.
Episode 2 of ‘Showband Heroes – Dancing in the Dark’ features two of Ireland’s greatest musical emissaries, Paddy Cole of The Capitol Showband and The Big 8, and Sandy Kelly of The Fairways Showband, who had her own TV series and toured and recorded with Johnny Cash.
Episode 1 of ‘Showband Heroes – Dancing in the Dark’ features Fr. Brian D’Arcy, the unofficial chaplain to the Showbands, Frankie McDonald, trumpet player with Joe Dolan since the late sixties, and Eamonn Keane, band leader with The Casino Showband and with The Indians, one of the most enduring bands… Read More »Showband Heroes 1: Fr Brian D’Arcy, Frankie McDonald, Eamonn Keane