Re­union were the new faces on the block...

The great Paddy Kelly sounded ‘too like’ Neil Di­a­mond

Mid Louth Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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!

Ben Cor­co­ran

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