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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

'The Carlow Ballroom's'

"The Michael Foley Combo"

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The Michael Foley Combo mid 1960's
Managed by Jay Corcoran of John Street, Carlow.
Photo provided by 'Carloman'

‘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 native Carlow.

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 entertainment.

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 association.

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).

Source: The Nationalist c2002


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