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Monday 25 August 2014

The Show Must Go On

From the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, the showbands ruled Ireland. Almost every town big enough to call itself that had a dance hall, into which every Saturday night as many locals as were able would squeeze themselves, in the gaps between the rhythm section, the guitarists, the brass section and the two or three singers.

There is a great four disc compilation called "The Fabulous Irish Showbands" which is pretty representative of the average showband repertoire. It consists of about 30% pop hits of the day, 30% country standards and 30% "I'm far away in Amerikay but I miss [insert name of town of county here] so", with a smattering of originals to round things off.

With such riches to choose from it was hard to narrow it down to three, but here goes. We start with a bit of pop-psychedelia from Dickie Rock, before moving on to an utterly bonkers version of Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" by Brendan "Hucklebuck" Bowyer. I find it hard to describe our last selection, but my guess would be it was inspired by East of Eden's "Jig-A-Jig".

"Uncle Tristan's Moonship" - Dickie Rock & The Miami Showband

"Kentucky Woman" - Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband

"Boola Boola" - Seamus Shannon & The Drifter Sound

I can't find a clip of Brendan in his prime doing the Hucklebuck, so you'll have to make do with this version instead.


  1. I've listened to a snatch of Kentucky Woman Ernie and I'm not sure I have the courage to listen to the other two!
    Bonkers as you so rightly say

  2. You never struck me as a wimp, Chic. Start with the Dickie Rock, it is pretty mellow

  3. well, I'm playing Kentucky Woman right now, and sat next to me Jo has delivered a withering look. The song, with that earnest vocal, is quite catching. It is so bad it's almost good. On to the other two...Boola boola is a bit to Michael Flately/Irish country dancing for me (Oh christ Jo's up and dancing), but I quite like those off-key bits........and I;m afraid Uncle Tristan reminds me of Lily The Pink, and that's not a good thing


    Does the use of the bass saxophone as a rhythm instrument in the second verse of "Kentucky Woman" (but the second verse only) mean nothing to you? This is music at its most avant-garde and innovative. If I played this at the Cafe Oto in Dalston and told them it was a rare Captain Beefheart track they would wet themselves with excitement.

  5. Can Mr Ernest Goggins please now return his "international taste maker and surfer of the zeitgeist" credentials that he had previously worn with distinction.

  6. Not you as well? These are your people!