The Black Aces Showband
The Black Aces were formed In 1957, in Kilkenny; Saxophonist Liam Drennan,
Vocalist Ollie Kearney, Drummer John Joe Cantwell, Sean Holland and Jim O'Dwyer,
Val Reynolds Guitar, Trombonist Arthur Connick and Vocalists Jimmy Lennon and Paddy Hanrahan.
Their records including "Serenade Of The Bells"
sung by Sonny Cullen
and "Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello" featuring Ollie Kearne~ Both songs reached the Irish Top 20.
The Black Aces Showband
As I am at present writing a book on the Fiesta Ballroom and
in the course of
gathering information many old photos and memories have been rekindled .
One such photo was of a poster advertising the Black Aces Showband from Kilkenny
appearing for their first visit in 1963 , Who were the Black Aces? .
They were started back in 1957as a skiffle group comprising of : Liam Drennan (Sax.), Ollie Kearney (Guitar / Vocals), John Cantwell (Drums), Sean Holland (Washboard /Trumpet) and Jim O, Dwyer on Tea Chest Bass. These were later joined by Arthur Connick (Trombone) , Val Reynolds (Guitar) and vocalists Pat Hanrahan and Jimmy Lennon. The name was simply derived from a pack of playing cards, the Ace of Spades motif appearing on John Cantwell,s Bass Drum.
Under the management of Paul Fennelly , they first started playing local gigs in Kilkenny and the neighbouring counties, but as their musical reputation grew, they ventures further afield. They were a big draw up here and in the North and in Jimmy Lennon they had a fine vocalist. They also made the usual Lenten tours to play the UK circuit and appeared on RTE,S “Showband Show” and “The 17 Club”.
Jimmy Lennon left the band to pursue a musical career in England and Sonny Cullen and Tommy Dullard replaced Jim O, Dwyer and Val Reynolds respectively. Their popularity growing, they decided to go into the recording studios , where they recorded two singles the A sides being “Serenade of the Bells” featuring Sonny Cullen , and “Tell her Jim said Hello” with Ollie Kearney taking the vocal spot. Both of these recordings got into the Irish Top 20. The “Aces” were a good musical combination, giving the dancers a good varied stage programme . They were also a well attired showband and had a good stage image.
They kept going until 1972 when the Showband Scene as we knew it
started to decline , and the lads went their separate ways. Some of them
joined a local band The Nomads and Pat Hanrahan, recorded a beautiful ballad
with them entitled “Lough Sheelin Shore”. The others found their way into
other bands and Ollie Kearney and Sonny Cullen still carry on the legacy
of the Black Aces , by still playing in their native Kilkenny.
| Sonny Cullen,Arthur Connick,Ollie
Tom Dullard,Liam Drennan,Sean Holland
John Joe Cantwell
Arthur Connick was a member of Tweed The Nomads and Swing Commandoes
was cool, Jimmy was the real thing - tall with black slicked-back hair,
he played guitar, and sang and was a member, if not co-founder, of the famous
Black Aces Showband. He emigrated to England later and even cut a record
. "She taught me to Yodel" -
Starting with the Black Aces in 1957 to his present band, the Four Aces
(which includes sons Jamie, Jerry and Mark), Jimmy has ?wowed? audiences for over 40 years.
Jimmy's sister is the writer Theresa Lennon Blunt
author of Judas in Kilkenny
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