Check - One - Two - Three!

by Barry McCabe

Blues guitarist Barry McCabe has his own website at

Let me start by saying – I never played in a showband – but by adding my story to this list I hope to achieve two things. One, to say “thank you” to all of you who did play in various showbands over the years. You set the scene and made it all possible for us ‘young ‘uns’ to come along and play our music later. Two, even though my story is from the early ‘70’s you can see some things haven’t changed all that much since the early days. I hope you enjoy the story!

My story, or incident, occurred only about six miles from my own front door. We were playing in a hotel in Ballyjamesduff (Co. Cavan) and you’ll have to keep in mind there was no MTV, FM2 or any other full time music programme for that matter, at that time. So the audiences would not have been as sophisticated as perhaps they are now.

Anyway, we were setting up the ‘equipment’ – a small Carlsboro 100W P.A. amp, a Wem Copycat Echo and 2 custom made speaker cabinets and doing a quick ‘sound check’. At that time that basically comprised of swinging on the ‘bass’ and ‘treble’ knobs for awhile and adding a bit of echo. Oh, life was so simple then!

Half way through our routine I noticed two boys mooching in at the back of the hall. As we were busy with our ‘one, two’s’ one of them ventured slowly up the hall, getting closer and closer to the stage. At one point he veered off slightly to the left and cocked his head slightly towards the ‘P.A.’ column. I was just about to finish checking my mic. when I heard him shout back to his friend still standing at the back of the hall – “Bejeez, it’s not yer man at tall, it’s outta here it’s coming!”

 © Barry McCabe 2004

  © Irish Showbands Archive 2004

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