The Mighty Avons

Related: Grafton, American Pie, Annalees, Country Blue Boys

Founded by three Smith brothers, Paddy, Peter and Jimmy from Ballyhaise, County Cavan, The Mighty Avons were probably the first showband to devote most of their programme to country and Irish songs. Larry Cunningham's 'Tribute To Jim Reeves', a monologue by Eddie Masterson with snippets of Reeves' hits, broke into the British charts in 1964 and he followed up with another huge Irish hit single. 'Lovely Leitrim' and a number of albums. While other showbands were being criticised for playing too many old-time waltzes and Irish songs, The Avons ploughed along regardless of the music critics.

In 1969, Cunningham left and hired the nucleus of Edenderry band The Fairways as his backing band (changing their name to The Country Blue Boys) and Gene Stewart took over as lead singer. As the bottom photo shows, there were many changes in personnel before the band finally called it a day.

Lead Vocals: Larry Cunningham / Brian Harkin / Gene Stuart / Brendan Quinn / Hugh McClean
Lead Guitar: Mickey Brady
2nd Guitar: Martin Geraghty
Bass: Gerry Walsh
Sax/Clarinet: Peter Smith
Trumpet: Paddy Smith
Trombone: Jimmy Smith
Drums: Brian Finlay
Organ/Piano: Ronnie Griffiths
Manager: Charlie McBrien



1964: Tribute To Jim Reeves / Take My Hand Precious Lord - King KG1016
1965: There’s That Smile Again / Lovely Leitrim - King KG1030
1966: Snowflake / The Wild Raparee - King KG1046
1966: Among The Wicklow Hills / The World You Left Behind - King KG1034
1967: Three Steps To The Phone / Cottage On The Borderline - King KG1061
1968: The Great El Tigre / Gweebarra Bay - Release RL505
1974: My Only Fascination / Times May Come - Hawk HASP348
1979: Wedding Bells / Forever Was The Name Of Our Sunshine - Hawk HASP358

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