Doc Carroll, Brian Carr and Frank and Vincent
and the late Billy Holian and James Brown
Came from Pete Browne Band
|Front: Doc Carroll,Shay O'Hara,Frank
Back: Don Flanagan,Vincent Gill,Brendan Arnold,
Brian Carr, and Bobby Smith
From John Bairds collection
The Royal Blues Showband (Claremorris)
Many of our featured Showbands in this series have had their own “firsts” during the period we came to know as “the Showband Era”, names such as the Royal, Capitol, Clipper Carlton come immediately to mind.
Our featured band this week also fell into that unique category .
The Royal Blues from Claremorris were the first showband from the West of Ireland
to have a no. 1 hit in the Irish charts in 1966 with their recording of “Old Man Trouble”.
Who were the Royal Blues?. Well, they were formed
in 1962 when four members of Pete Brown.s
band from nearby Kiltimagh decided to leave his band. The Gill brothers
Vincent (Trombone) and Frank (Sax./Clar),
Brian Carr (Bass/vocals) and lead guitarist Doc Carroll were joined by Don Flanagan (Drums), Brendan Arnold (Rhythm guitar), Bobby Smith (Trumpet) and lead vocalist Shay O'Hara to form the new band.
Resplendent in their striking blue suits and managed by Andy Creighton they exploded onto the Irish dancehall circuit and took no time in proving to the punters what a popular outfit they were with their good musical ability, varied dancing programme and in Doc Carroll and Shay O'Hara, they had two excellent frontline vocalists.
The Gill brothers, Frank and Vincent, Doc Carroll and Shay
Bobby Smith (Trumpet) Don Flanagan (Drums) Brendan Arnold (Rhythm Guitar)
and Brian Carr (Bass) Shay O'Hara later joined The Premier Aces ,
Bobby Smith joined Buckshot
Shay O'Hara claims the honour of being the first
Irishman to sing on the
Grand Ole Opry Show in the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
Always noted for their good “punchy” brass arrangements
, these were to be heard in their recordings of
“Old Man Trouble”, “Mendicino” and “Far away from You” some of their popular recordings, and they also had a fine trumpeter in Bobby Smith , his solo spot of the Nino Rosso classic “Il Silenzio” was absolutely superb.
Shay O'Hara recorded “Love,s gonna live here” and “Croici di, Oro” with the band before he left in 1968
to join the Premier Aces. He was replaced by Dublin born vocalist Joe Quigley,
The band only ever released one LP entitled “ In a Country Field” and on its track list featured
much country material which from a personal point of view I thought did not suit the bands reputation
even though the musical quality was still excellent..
They were still a massive draw at home and abroad packing halls wherever they played,
but with the emergence of the “ country showbands” in the late 1960,s,
members startedto go their separate ways , Founder member Vincent Gill left the band
and later trumpeter Bobby Smith left to join up and coming country showband,
Bill Ryan and Buckshot.
Royal Blues Add ,Teenage Times 1966
Doc Carroll left the Royal Blues in 1972 to form his own band ,
The Night Runners.and The All-Stars
The remaining band members continued on by changing the name to The New Blues, also in 1972 and were fronted for a time by Clen Curtin. Sadly , original manager
Andy Creighton passed away a few years ago. And Doc Carroll , one of the real characters of the Showband scene passed away on May the 1st. 2005.
May they both Rest in Peace.
Shay O’Hara, lead singer with the Royal Blues Showband back in the 1960s,had the Royal Blues first Top 20 hit with the Buck Owens song “Love’s Gonna Live Here Again” which reached No. 12 in the charts. That was before Doc Carroll took Old Man Trouble to the Number I spot in 1966.
Another song from that era closely associated with Shay is the Christmas number “Santa Natale” as well as his rendering of the monologue ‘Little Rosa’.
Doc Carroll took Old Man Trouble to the
Number I spot in 1966.
Carroll's version of Old Man Trouble stayed two weeks at the top and went on to become a classic of the era.
Doc Carroll from Ballinrobe and Frank and Vincent Gill from Claremorris
were joined by Brian Carr,
Brendan Arnold, Bobby Smith and Dom Flanagan, all from Dublin, and Shay O'Hara from Carlow.
From John Bairds collection
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