In 1957, a group
of young friends came together in the old De La Salle school in
Patrick Street, Kilkenny, and having a mutual interest in music,
decided to put a skiffle group together. Saxophonist Liam Drennan
was joined by vocalist Ollie
Kearney, who also played
acoustic guitar, drummer
John Joe Cantwell, Seán Holland
(who later played trumpet) on washboard and Jim O’Dwyer
on tea-chest bass. A local card-player, P.J. O’Neill suggested The Black Aces as a name
for the combo, and throughout their long musical career, this name
was never changed.
Soon the lads
were joined by Val Reynolds
who played electric guitar, trombonist Arthur Connick
and by vocalists Jimmy
Lennon and Paddy Hanrahan.
In the early days, they played in local Kilkenny venues such as
the CYMS, the Carlton and the Mayfair, but as their popularity
grew, they decided to turn professional and accept engagements all
over the island. Paul
Fennelly took up the
position as manager.
During one of
their trips to Britain,
Jimmy Lennon decided to
leave the band and settled in Birmingham, where he carved out a
solo career in the music business. Sonny Cullen
replaced Jim O’Dwyer
on bass and Tom Dullard
joined as lead guitarist.
If you would like to share
your memories of The Black Aces, please write a paragraph and
email it to post @ irishshowbands dot
net. Comments and memories of friends, band-members and fans will be
published on this page.