Showband had two lives, in the ‘60s as a successful showband and in
the ‘70s as The Indians, a country band who did big business
throughout Ireland and Europe. Formed in 1965 as The Goldentones, by
some former members of the De La Salle Boys Band, soon they were
discovered and managed by Tipperary-born impressario Liam Ryan. They
built up a reputation as a versatile, hard-working band, led by
trumpeter Eamonn Keane flanked by brothers John and Brian Woodfull
(lead guitar and bass), Nick McEvoy (tenor sax), Paddy Reynolds
(tenor sax), Peter Brady (drums), Jimmy Breen (vocals) and Shay
O’Reilly (vocals/trombone). Sometime later, Chris Mullahy from
Milltown, Co. Galway, who had been playing with The International
Showband in Manchester took over the drumseat. Eddie Morgan joined
as lead vocalist and later the band was fronted by Mel Austin who
came from The Jimmy Johnstone Showband. Nick McEvoy left for Athenry
to join The Swingtime Aces.
highly-regarded by their peers in the music business, and though
they did tour the U.S.A. twice and performed on RTE’s “Showband
Show”, as The Casino, they never made the big breakthrough that
their talent undoubtedly deserved. They also appeared as contestants
on ITV’s “Opportunity Knocks” talent show and finished in second
In 1968, they
took their first turn towards country music when Cavan vocalist Ian
Corrigan joined the band and released a single, “In The Middle Of
Nowhere”. It didn’t make a big impact however and towards the end of
the decade, their then manager Paddy Burns, while visiting an Indian
reservation during a holiday in Canada got an idea that would
catapult The Casino to stardom during the ‘70s. He felt that there
was an audience in Ireland for a colourful band, playing good
country music, and what comes more colourful than a traditional
American Indian costume! Costumes were designed and made, two new
members were added and The Indians were launched in a blaze of
played their parts very well and from their signature tune,
“Apache”, featuring John Woodfull (Flaming Star), right through
their varied programme which brought dancers in droves to ballrooms
and marquees all over the island. All the band took on authentic
American Indian names such as “Chief Sitting Bull Jnr.” (Noel
Brady), “Crazy Horse” (Eamonn Keane), “Little Thunder” (Chris
Mullahy), “Dull Knife” (Brian Woodfull), “Spotted Tail” (Dougie
Walsh) and “Medicine Crow” (Shay O’Reilly). They released a number
of big-selling albums and a few singles.
forty years in the business, Eamonn Keane and Brian Woodfull are
still playing with The Indians (www.the-indians.com).
Chris Mullahy vacated the drum-stool only last year after
thirty-five years and is now back living in his native Galway.
Sadly, Shay O’Reilly, Nick McEvoy, Paddy Reynolds (who emigrated to
Canada with The Pacific Showband) and Eddie Morgan have passed away.
John Woodfull runs an art gallery in Dublin’s Stephen’s Green.
Eamonn Keane’s daughter Lorraine is a well-known television
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