- The Michael
Foley Combo mid 1960's
- Managed by Jay
Corcoran of John Street, Carlow.
- Photo provided by
‘Combo’ Foley back on stage for charity gig
Monday, November 18, 2002 :
He wooed dancers in the four corners of Ireland, and had
them boppin’ in many a venue across the pond too.
His rich Como voice drew thousands to dancehalls, and it
would have been a poor night he would not have packed The Ritz in his
Through the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s Michael Foley, be it
with his Combo or the Tropical Showband, was ‘de man’ in these parts.
It was a marvellous era for music, Ireland rich in
show-bands like The Clipper Carlton, The Royal, The Miami, The Dixies,
The Capitol The Mainliners, and Mick Del and singers like Butch Moore, Dickie Rock, Brendan Bowyer, Joe Dolan, Brendan O’Brien and Eileen Reid
(I Gave My Wedding Dress Away).
The current clubbers set mightn’t recognise the names,
but many of their parents would have enjoyed that wonderful dance era,
long before they ‘invented’ rap and some other forms of entertainment
which pass for ‘music’.
Those were the days when Carlovian T.J. Byrne managed
the Royal Showband which ruled the dancing roost for several decades,
later to change title to The Big 8 and head to Las Vegas.
Those were the days when Teddy Boys were hip, E stood
for enjoyment, not an aid to hallucination, dads were cajoled for the
use of the only family vehicle for the date, lads panicked if idle for a
ladies’ choice, or hadn’t ‘squared a chick’ before the National Anthem.
Foley and company were at the very heart of local
entertainment, his trumpet leading a host of musicians like Michael
Hennessy, Ina Finn, Frankie Becker, Tony Parker and of course the late
Pa Joe Tierney.
The bands of the ‘60 and ‘70s were more for dancing to
than the current groups who are as much to push bar profits as provide
So? Get to the point. Well, it is that the same Michael
Foley, with a little less hair at 65, and not chewing as many cigars
these days, is to go on stage for a once-off gig in the Seven Oaks Hotel
on Thursday, November 21 to launch a charity CD.
Proceeds will go to the Carlow/Kilkenny Home Care
organisation which took care of Michael’s late wife Audrey, and St.
Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, with which his sister Helen has a long
Then Carlow’s Perry Como has never been far from the
fulcrum of charitable work, and fronted a memorable ‘60s night for
People in Need a few years ago, arguably the most nostalgic night of
music ever in the town.
The recording idea came from a fan who enjoyed the Foley
style, and the CD was produced in Carlow with the help of Rose of Tralee
musical director Ollie Hennessy. It will retail at 15 with a cassette at
10 and available from any music store.
Michael will be backed in the Seven Oaks by new Carlow
band, Studio 5, led by ‘Strat’ Gorman.
Michael, who developed one of the biggest music
equipment retail and hire businesses in the country, has recorded 21
tracks on the CD - I, Chicago (Sinatra) 2, San Francisco (Bennett) 3,
Don’t Stop (Foley) 4, My Way (Sinatra) 5, Gentle on My Mind (Martin) 6,
Release Me (Humperdink) 7, Leroy Browne Crochet) 8, Lovely Derry 9,
Hello Mary Lou (Nelson) 10, He’ll Have to Go (Reeves) 11, All Shook Up
(Presley) 12, Welcome to My World) 13, Ruby (Rogers) 14, Shall My Soul
Pass Through Old Ireland 15 I Just Called (Wonder) 16, Sunny Tennessee,
17, Strangers in the Night (Sinatra) 18, New York, New York (Sinatra)
19, Everybody’s Talking (Neilson), 20, Always On My Mind (Presley) 21,
Johnny Be Good (Berry).