Reunion were the new faces on the block...
The great Paddy Kelly sounded ‘too like’ Neil Diamond
I HAVE been checking out the life and times of a band called Reunion - what an outfit they were.
The story of Reunion started in 1971 in Ardee. Out of the Midnighters Showband came Patsy Finnegan and Peter Halpenny. From Drogheda’s “Diamonds” came Paddy Kelly. This trio formed a group upon which Reunion was weaned.
In 1975 came Drogheda’s Ben Corcoran. This was to be the band that for two years worked hard and longed to try for the breakthrough which seemed to elude them.
In 1976 it finally came. They went on tour with Marianne Faithful. This was the first step.
In the same year came their record “Sing Me A Rainbow.” This was the second step. In early 1977, Jimmy Murphy arrived straight from the New Generation and Bray City Rollers.
Later in the year, they had a new single “Let the Heartaches Begin.” This was a hit a decade earlier for Long John Boldry. Then came the TV show ‘New Faces’. The band auditioned for this show in 1976 and had thought their chance had slipped by but they got their chance with “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” .
Patsy Finnegan from Ardee on drums and stage leader was the funny man. Once mistaken for Noel V. Ginnity, Patsy was unsurpassed for his steady thumping beat. He was in the band business for many years and his experience was a valuable asset. .
Peter Halpenny was also from Ardee and a solid bass player.
Jimmy Murphy was the newest member from Dunleer. Jimmy played keyboards and had the highest range of vocals in the band.
Also from Dunleer, although a Drogheda man came singer and rhythm guitarist Paddy “Gravel” Kelly.
‘Anyone who has ‘heard Paddy singing on record or live knows where the nickname comes from. Paddy does most of the vocals specialising of course in “Neil Diamond,” and “Dr. Hook.” It has been said that he sounds more like Neil Diamond than Neil Diamond. A worthy tribute. Paddy plays a Fender Mustang coupled with a Fender Twin Reverb,’ the New Faces blurb said at the time.
Drogheda man Ben Corcoran was a teacher in the local VEC.
‘His musical ability is only equalled by his excellent guitar playing. He is the “Status Quo” specialist in the band and sings all the forementioned bands numbers. Ben plays a Les Paul Custom Guitar coupled with a H.H. amp.’
Getting 92 out of a maximum 120 marks, Reunion couldn’t be too unhappy about their appearance on New Faces.
The over-riding opinion of the panel was that the five lads had potential.
Michael Aspel TV compere, said of the group, after its rendition of “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” that the song didn’t get the best out of them. There was he added, “a lot of life in the group that I haven’t seen.”
Martin Jackson of the Daily Mail was of much the same opinion, again finding fault with their choice of song. It wasn’t musically adventurous enough of them, he thought. Jack Parnell of orchestra fame liked the lead singer’s voice. They finished fifth, behind Annie Bright, whp only dropped one of the 120 points to become winner.
They were back in the Fairways shortly after that, packing 1,500 into the place.
By December 1977, German recording giants Aroila, were ready to pounce but were apparently having problems getting a suitable song to record as Paddy Kelly sounded so like Neil Diamond and Dr Hook - a pretty good complaint!