Monday, 9 August 2010

Joe Dolan

In the Market square there is a life sized bronze statue of one of Mullingar's most famous sons, the entertainer Joe Dolan who sadly passed away in 2007. It was sculped by Carl Payne and I think it captures very well the charisma of the late great singer. I still have fond memories of travelling to the Isle of Man many years ago for the October Bank Holiday to what was billed as "The Joe Dolan Weekend". Joe was a legend on the domestic Showband* music scene and even had a huge hit in the UK and European charts in 1968 with a song called "Make Me an Island".

* Showbands were a uniquely Irish invention. They were basically a stage band of usually 7 members who performed live in music dance halls all over Ireland as well as in Irish clubs in Britain and the US. They usually played American style country and some céilí music but their great talent was being able to perform perfect renditions of all the latest chart hits. They reigned supreme from the late 50's until the mid 70's when the opening of Lounge Bars sounded their death knell. Their lead singers, like Joe Dolan, Big Tom, Brendan Bowyer, Dickie Rock and Eileen Reid were household names and they went on to achieve further success as cabaret entertainers. At the moment I am reading a fascinating and hilarious book called " (a day in the life ) Heads" by Gerry Anderson, a former Showband guitarist.

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