The Witnesses Showband, The Haunted House, 45 single, 1965;
Judy Collins, Amazing Grace, 45 single, 1971;
Bing Crosby, White Christmas, 45 single, 1942;
The Dubliners, Seven Drunken Nights, 45 single, 1967;
The Alexander Brothers, Nobody's Child (1964) and These are My Mountains (1966), 45 singles;
Tom Jones, The Green Green Grass of Home, 45 single, 1966;
Paul McCartney and Wings, The Mull of Kintyre, 45 single, 1977;
Billy Cotton and His Band, The Sound of Music, Nestle's Cream promotional seven inch single;
Brian Coll and the Plattermen, The Blazing Star of Athenry, 1967;
Steeleye Span, A Parcel of Rogues, LP, 1973;
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The First Hurrah (1964) and Recorded Live in Ireland (1965), LPs;
The Dubliners, Double Dubliners, LP, 1972.
This record collection belonged to a middle aged lady with one child, who had broad tastes in Irish Showbands and easy listening music. She lived in Ballyronan, a small fishing village on the shores of Lough Neagh, and collected vinyl’s between 1950 and 1980. These vinyl’s were donated by her family to the Lower Bann Voices project at TIDAL Toome in 2021.
Our collector was fond of the Emerald Records label, which was formed in 1962 by Mervyn Solomon with branches in Belfast and Dublin. As you can see these records were distinctive by their yellow label with green printing. Solomon was the first record producer to record material with Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison, and also championed Showband talent such as Brian Coll and the Plattermen. Coll left the Plattermen in June 1968, and was replaced by Maltese soul singer Simon Scott. He merged with the Claxton Showband to form the Buckaroos, who appeared on the BBC’s “Folk Meets Folk” on the 22nd February 1971, just before performing at the Toome Easter Festival for the first time on the 21st April 1971.
Easy listening Scottish duo The Alexander Brothers were painter-decorators by day and entertainers by night. Talent spotted whilst appearing at the Metropolitan Theatre, they signed to Pye Records and recorded their first single, “Nobody’s Child”, six weeks later. The single is one of two Alexander Brothers 45 singles in the collection, and the boys are said to have sold more units in Scotland than the Beatles in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania.
Seven Drunken Nights, one of the more recognisable mass produced UK hits in this vintage collection, was a No.7 hit for the Dubliners on the Major Minor label. In the week they reached the top ten and performed on Top of the Pops in May 1967, they shared the chart with The Tremeloes (Silence is Golden), the Kinks (Waterloo Sunset), The Beach Boys (Then I Kissed Her) and Sandie Shaw (Puppet on a String). Our Collector experienced economic hardship and raised a child as a single parent whilst caring for several elderly parents and relatives, and these records are a symbol of her love of showband music and demonstrate how a housewife of this period would be able to spend her disposable income. These records are a lasting personal impression of a life once lived on the Lough Shore.
This record collection tells the story of the evolution of the Irish showband and traditional music in the 60s and 70s. The artwork of these vinyl sleeves is a reminder of a bygone consumer age when packaging was colourful and distinctive. Each record label, whether Pye records, Emerald or Vertigo to name a few, had their own distinctive branding.