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Jim McQuaid. Big Tom, Dickie Rock, Joe Dolan, Johnny McEvoy, and others will be written about in the history of Irish music and the showband scene. Jim McQuaid, of Emyvale, may not get a huge mention but for his music, his singing, and his entertaining, he deserves a place with the best of them. Michael Joseph McQuaid lived in Aughnacloy and he married Sarah Ann McDonald of Mullaghmore. They had five children – Jim, Vincent, Kathleen, Lily and Maggie May. Michael was a carpenter and in 1932 he was offered a job as carpenter in Mullan Mills. He and the family moved there and in time all of them were employed in the Mill. Jim was only starting school at the time so he went to Killyrean NS under Master Woods and Lily McKenna (Mrs. Coyle). Even at this early age, the music was foremost in his mind. Before he could talk properly he could sing “I don’t work for a living”. One and a Tanner. When only 5 years old, he and his father were at the market in Aughnacloy and he heard a street musician playing “Irish Soldier Boy” on an accordion. Immediately he fell in love with the sound and demanded his father buy him one. He was so persistent that before they left the market his father had purchased a melodian for 1/6 and thus began his interest in music. Through the years he diversified to many other instruments – piano, drums, saxophone and clarinet. His mother used chase him to a shed at the bottom of the garden when he wanted to practice. Val Doonican. At the age of fourteen he began work in Mullan Mills and became an expert at shoe manufacturing and was one of the most skilled workers employed there. At the same time the Clarrie Hayden Roadshow was a regular caller to the village. Some of the artists used to stop in McQuaid’s house – the most famous being Val Doonican and his guitar. Jim didn’t think much of the guitar as a musical instrument. Another man with Hayden was called Dermot O’Hara. He played the piano for the shows and was a brilliant musician. While in Mullan he taught Jim how to read music and how to play the piano. So easy was it for Jim that he was able to stand in for Dermot when the need arose and he was so good that Clarrie Hayden offered him a permanent place in the cast for £5 per week. This was a great offer when compared with the 15/- he was getting for his 48 hour week in the factory, but his mother put her foot down and made him continue with his job in the Mill. He still has great praise for the Hayden family and their talents – Mrs. Hayden, Amy, Billy, Margaret and the great man himself, Clarrie. Dermot O’Hara later became conductor of the Radio Eireann Orchestra. Bandsman. Johnny Sloane, the Waxman, lived at Ballyoisin and played the double row accordion. He decided to put a band together and Jim became their drummer. The other members were: Vincie McAree (Ballinode on accordion); Johnny McKenna (Master, on Accordion); Owenie McKenna (Jackie, on fiddle). They played at dances in Carrickroe, Davagh and Anketell Grove as well as dancing decks. They used to borrow the big drum from Davagh Band and, to transport it to the dance, two members would carry it between them on bicycles. However, Johnny Sloane’s brother, Packie, was killed in an accident and the band came to an end. Working in Mullan was a very humorous fellow called Jimmy Hughes from Edenderry and he too was a fine musician and he gathered up a band: Felix Mohan (Drums); Jackie Kerr, Jimmy Curley, Francie Sherlock and Jim. They searched for a name. Jimmy Hughes suggested ‘5 Woodbine’ and not a player among them, but they eventually settled on “Mullan Mills Melody Makers”. Jim had reached the age of 15. They practised in Mullan Hall and in “The Big House” (the McQuaid Home) with the vocalist using the horn from His Master’ Voice gramophone to amplify his voice. Ass and Cart. Their first Big date was in Glaslough School but they had the problem of how to get the equipment there. Seamus McQuaid had a donkey and cart, so they packed their instruments into it and sent Seamus ahead at dinnertime. They went back to work in the factory and after tea they headed for Glaslough at 8.00pm on bicycle. They met Seamus on his way home – it took the donkey so long to get there but they went down well to a packed house. During the night if anyone hit a wrong note they would blame the drummer!! McNamara’s Band from Caledon was doing great business and getting all the dates. Jimmy Hughes got a set of football boots in Mullan for the Emyvale team and as a result was given a big date in the very popular venue – The Parochial Hall, Emyvale. As with all bands over the years, personnel change from time to time and Jim and Jackie soon joined up with Ken Kennedy’s band for a while. The ‘The Flying Tigers’ were formed - Jim, Jackie, Pat McKenna, Eugene and Agnes Monaghan and Willie Rice and sometime later Sean Columb. Jim now purchased an Austin 12 with a roof rack to get to the venues and they also had a vetaction 15 watt amplifier, which worked on battery or electricity. Many of them were afraid of this new piece of equipment but in time it became an accepted part of their lives. Jim was now playing a C Melody saxophone and Sean Columb, as well as vocalist, was a wizard on the Hawaiian guitar. Famous Line-up. At the demise of the Tigers, Jim spent some time playing with the Clipper Aces and was part of that famous line-up of Paddy Murphy, Colm, Frank, Bernie and others before forming ‘The Mellowchords’ of Willie Rice (guitar and vocals), Angela McKenna (Vocals), Malachy Columb (Trumpet), Sean McKenna (Bass), Sean McQuaid (Drums), Jim (saxophone and Clarinet) and Pauric McElwaine (guitar). After that came ‘The Crusaders’ with John James McKenna, Dessie McConnon, Mary Connolly, Arthur Sherry, Kevin McKenna, Peter Connolly and Paddy Murphy. This band did extremely well and were very popular from Galway to Dublin. Near to Home. The life of a showband member is not an easy one, with many hours of travelling and all late at night work. With countless miles behind him, Jim decided to form a group to play in local pubs and lounges. This was the new craze as the ‘dry halls’ were losing favour with the public. Jim’s group was known as ‘The MerryMacs’, made up of himself, Pat McKenna, Peter McMeel and Jim’s son and daughter, Macartan and Marie. Their road manager was Patsy Maguire, who could take them anywhere except straight home from Carrickmacross. After a few years on this circuit, Jim discovered that he was losing money – he always gave the bar-owner back more money than he got for the fee and so decided to retire. But looking back he has so many great memories and made so many good friends. Some of these are mentioned here but there are many others who played with and for Jim and shared the ups and downs of showbiz life. He has many stories of happenings, like the time Frank Murphy tipped him into the Newry canal, or Dermot O’Hare going missing, but those have been left as memories. Family. While at school in Killyrean one of the popular games was ‘hound and hare’. He was a hound but one hare he could never catch, no matter how hard he tried, was a little girl called Annie McCluskey from Emy, but he did succeed in 1946 and ended up at the Altar rails with Annie on August 7th 1950. The wedding was in St. Mary’s Church, Donagh with Fr. McDermott as celebrant and Kathleen and Seamus as witnesses. The honeymoon was spent in Dublin and they returned to a big party in Mullan Hall. Their first home was in Pedigrews in Derrygasson, (now Mrs. Harvison’s), then to the Red Row in Mullan. Next they moved to the last house at the top of Emyvale and finally in 1954 they moved to their present home at Lower Main Street, Emyvale. Annie, who had worked in St. Luke’s Hospital, Armagh, wasn’t a musician but took an active interest in the band, including pushing the car home from Corragh, through Glennan, Killycooley and on to Emyvale. She fed them and listened as they practised in the front room, or a couple of doors down in the Parochial. They have eight in the family: Marie (Dublin); Michael (Monaghan); Macartan (New Jersey); Ursula (Armagh); Fergal (Monaghan); Seamus (Dublin); Fionnuala (New Jersey) and Lorraine (New Jersey). Jim and Annie are hoping to visit the States later this year and we hope they have a very enjoyable time. Jim will, I’m sure, meet up with many old friends out there and will have many a yarn to spin not to talk of all the songs they’ll sing ‘just for old times sake’. I would love to be there as the craic will be mighty but I know he’ll tell me all about it when he gets back. Peadar McMahon Your Comments HERE
All Content Copyright emyvale.net
Jim McQuaid. Big Tom, Dickie Rock, Joe Dolan, Johnny McEvoy, and others will be written about in the history of Irish music and the showband scene. Jim McQuaid, of Emyvale, may not get a huge mention but for his music, his singing, and his entertaining, he deserves a place with the best of them. Michael Joseph McQuaid lived in Aughnacloy and he married Sarah Ann McDonald of Mullaghmore. They had five children – Jim, Vincent, Kathleen, Lily and Maggie May. Michael was a carpenter and in 1932 he was offered a job as carpenter in Mullan Mills. He and the family moved there and in time all of them were employed in the Mill. Jim was only starting school at the time so he went to Killyrean NS under Master Woods and Lily McKenna (Mrs. Coyle). Even at this early age, the music was foremost in his mind. Before he could talk properly he could sing “I don’t work for a living”. One and a Tanner. When only 5 years old, he and his father were at the market in Aughnacloy and he heard a street musician playing “Irish Soldier Boy” on an accordion. Immediately he fell in love with the sound and demanded his father buy him one. He was so persistent that before they left the market his father had purchased a melodian for 1/6 and thus began his interest in music. Through the years he diversified to many other instruments – piano, drums, saxophone and clarinet. His mother used chase him to a shed at the bottom of the garden when he wanted to practice. Val Doonican. At the age of fourteen he began work in Mullan Mills and became an expert at shoe manufacturing and was one of the most skilled workers employed there. At the same time the Clarrie Hayden Roadshow was a regular caller to the village. Some of the artists used to stop in McQuaid’s house – the most famous being Val Doonican and his guitar. Jim didn’t think much of the guitar as a musical instrument. Another man with Hayden was called Dermot O’Hara. He played the piano for the shows and was a brilliant musician. While in Mullan he taught Jim how to read music and how to play the piano. So easy was it for Jim that he was able to stand in for Dermot when the need arose and he was so good that Clarrie Hayden offered him a permanent place in the cast for £5 per week. This was a great offer when compared with the 15/- he was getting for his 48 hour week in the factory, but his mother put her foot down and made him continue with his job in the Mill. He still has great praise for the Hayden family and their talents – Mrs. Hayden, Amy, Billy, Margaret and the great man himself, Clarrie. Dermot O’Hara later became conductor of the Radio Eireann Orchestra. Bandsman. Johnny Sloane, the Waxman, lived at Ballyoisin and played the double row accordion. He decided to put a band together and Jim became their drummer. The other members were: Vincie McAree (Ballinode on accordion); Johnny McKenna (Master, on Accordion); Owenie McKenna (Jackie, on fiddle). They played at dances in Carrickroe, Davagh and Anketell Grove as well as dancing decks. They used to borrow the big drum from Davagh Band and, to transport it to the dance, two members would carry it between them on bicycles. However, Johnny Sloane’s brother, Packie, was killed in an accident and the band came to an end. Working in Mullan was a very humorous fellow called Jimmy Hughes from Edenderry and he too was a fine musician and he gathered up a band: Felix Mohan (Drums); Jackie Kerr, Jimmy Curley, Francie Sherlock and Jim. They searched for a name. Jimmy Hughes suggested ‘5 Woodbine’ and not a player among them, but they eventually settled on “Mullan Mills Melody Makers”. Jim had reached the age of 15. They practised in Mullan Hall and in “The Big House” (the McQuaid Home) with the vocalist using the horn from His Master’ Voice gramophone to amplify his voice. Ass and Cart. Their first Big date was in Glaslough School but they had the problem of how to get the equipment there. Seamus McQuaid had a donkey and cart, so they packed their instruments into it and sent Seamus ahead at dinnertime. They went back to work in the factory and after tea they headed for Glaslough at 8.00pm on bicycle. They met Seamus on his way home – it took the donkey so long to get there but they went down well to a packed house. During the night if anyone hit a wrong note they would blame the drummer!! McNamara’s Band from Caledon was doing great business and getting all the dates. Jimmy Hughes got a set of football boots in Mullan for the Emyvale team and as a result was given a big date in the very popular venue – The Parochial Hall, Emyvale. As with all bands over the years, personnel change from time to time and Jim and Jackie soon joined up with Ken Kennedy’s band for a while. The ‘The Flying Tigers’ were formed - Jim, Jackie, Pat McKenna, Eugene and Agnes Monaghan and Willie Rice and sometime later Sean Columb. Jim now purchased an Austin 12 with a roof rack to get to the venues and they also had a vetaction 15 watt amplifier, which worked on battery or electricity. Many of them were afraid of this new piece of equipment but in time it became an accepted part of their lives. Jim was now playing a C Melody saxophone and Sean Columb, as well as vocalist, was a wizard on the Hawaiian guitar. Famous Line-up. At the demise of the Tigers, Jim spent some time playing with the Clipper Aces and was part of that famous line-up of Paddy Murphy, Colm, Frank, Bernie and others before forming ‘The Mellowchords’ of Willie Rice (guitar and vocals), Angela McKenna (Vocals), Malachy Columb (Trumpet), Sean McKenna (Bass), Sean McQuaid (Drums), Jim (saxophone and Clarinet) and Pauric McElwaine (guitar). After that came ‘The Crusaders’ with John James McKenna, Dessie McConnon, Mary Connolly, Arthur Sherry, Kevin McKenna, Peter Connolly and Paddy Murphy. This band did extremely well and were very popular from Galway to Dublin. Near to Home. The life of a showband member is not an easy one, with many hours of travelling and all late at night work. With countless miles behind him, Jim decided to form a group to play in local pubs and lounges. This was the new craze as the ‘dry halls’ were losing favour with the public. Jim’s group was known as ‘The MerryMacs’, made up of himself, Pat McKenna, Peter McMeel and Jim’s son and daughter, Macartan and Marie. Their road manager was Patsy Maguire, who could take them anywhere except straight home from Carrickmacross. After a few years on this circuit, Jim discovered that he was losing money – he always gave the bar-owner back more money than he got for the fee and so decided to retire. But looking back he has so many great memories and made so many good friends. Some of these are mentioned here but there are many others who played with and for Jim and shared the ups and downs of showbiz life. He has many stories of happenings, like the time Frank Murphy tipped him into the Newry canal, or Dermot O’Hare going missing, but those have been left as memories. Family. While at school in Killyrean one of the popular games was ‘hound and hare’. He was a hound but one hare he could never catch, no matter how hard he tried, was a little girl called Annie McCluskey from Emy, but he did succeed in 1946 and ended up at the Altar rails with Annie on August 7th 1950. The wedding was in St. Mary’s Church, Donagh with Fr. McDermott as celebrant and Kathleen and Seamus as witnesses. The honeymoon was spent in Dublin and they returned to a big party in Mullan Hall. Their first home was in Pedigrews in Derrygasson, (now Mrs. Harvison’s), then to the Red Row in Mullan. Next they moved to the last house at the top of Emyvale and finally in 1954 they moved to their present home at Lower Main Street, Emyvale. Annie, who had worked in St. Luke’s Hospital, Armagh, wasn’t a musician but took an active interest in the band, including pushing the car home from Corragh, through Glennan, Killycooley and on to Emyvale. She fed them and listened as they practised in the front room, or a couple of doors down in the Parochial. They have eight in the family: Marie (Dublin); Michael (Monaghan); Macartan (New Jersey); Ursula (Armagh); Fergal (Monaghan); Seamus (Dublin); Fionnuala (New Jersey) and Lorraine (New Jersey). Jim and Annie are hoping to visit the States later this year and we hope they have a very enjoyable time. Jim will, I’m sure, meet up with many old friends out there and will have many a yarn to spin not to talk of all the songs they’ll sing ‘just for old times sake’. I would love to be there as the craic will be mighty but I know he’ll tell me all about it when he gets back. Peadar McMahon Your Comments HERE