HIGH SEAS SHOWBAND - LARNE - Contributed by
The band was resident in the Kings Arms Ballroom in the late
6Os that had also toured Ireland, Scotland and North of England.
The band line up was Larne locals; Norman Purdy (RIP),
Thelma Hall, Jackie Gault, Alex Newell, Bobby Duff, Jim Hill,
Wilbert Clements and Alex Brown (cousin of the Late Billy
Brown of The Freshmen). Another local Stuart Gillespie
joined the band after its formation. The band cut a demo Extended
Play (EP) record (disc) featuring the following four numbers.
(a) I'D STILL BE THERE (vocal).
(b) I CAN'T GO ON (vocal).
(a) IN MY ROOM (vocal).
(b) ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL.
LARNE other bands include,
THE REGENT SHOWBAND that was resident band at the
Pavilion Ballroom, Larne. The line-up from Larne and Magheramorne.
THE CAMERON CLAN.
In the mid-late 60s when the Regent Showband disbanded Tommy
Cameron formed The Cameron Clan with Larne members,
Herbie Crooks (RIP), Derek Hunter and Robert
Magill*. They became very
popular and released an LP "Lightening Express".
In 2004 I donated my copy of the latter record to the Larne
my recent visit to Larne (June 2005) I met my old pal Robert
Magill (former Regent Showband & Cameron Clan member)
and we chatted briefly about the band days. Robert (Rab)
is sending me the Cameron Clan line up and their respective
band roles to refresh my memory. Tommy Cameron went on to
a solo career as Fiddlin' Tom artist recording several CDs
(including "I'm not the boy I used to be") and
videos to his credit,
DO YOU REMEMBER?
Swinging 60s Ballrooms in Larne Borough included, The
Kings Arms Hotel, McNeills Hotel, The Laharna Hotel, The Pavilion,
The Plaza, with The Rinka (Islandmagee) and
Public dancing was also held in the BTH/AEI/GEC run by the
Football Section featuring amongst others, 'The Caroline
Showband' and Larnes own popular 'The High Seas Showband'.
Concerts were also held included, 'The Whiteheather Show'
featuring Jimmy Shand and his Band and 'the Val
Doonigan Show'. On one occasion a young Frank Carson
was a fill-in comedian act during an interval for £5
+ Supper. The latter was an expected bonus for him as he asked
me if there was a fish and chip shop nearby. Mrs Rea our Canteen
Manager always put on a good spread for the artistes.
In the 1950s ROBERT WILSON the famous Scottish singer
appeared in Larne (Town Hall?). This delighted my mother for
they share the same birthplace, Cambuslang in Lanarkshire.
Mother and her WI friends met the renowned singer after his
show. Later I inherited an LP of Roberts recording, which
I treasure for his wonderful voice, memories of my Mother
and my Scots grandmother. I discovered recently that I could
see Robert perform in film at the British Pathe News archive
Can any of YPAM browsers help me regarding the following?
MARGO AND THE MARVETTES SHOWBAND, they played at the PLAZA
(aka Victoria Orange Hall) Larne, c1965
The WITNESSES SHOWBAND also performed there, costing patrons
admission 6/- (30 p). Ahh! those were the days.
Also around the same time, across in Islandmagee's RINKA
Ballroom were "the WOODCHOPPERS"
Any information of any of the above said bands will be appreciated?
DID YOU KNOW
I began attending public dancing in 1966, the KINGS ARMS
ballroom being my favourite. The resident band was the FONTANTA
SHOWBAND. They later changed their name to the GREEN ANGELS
SHOWBAND. I recently learned that when they first played at
the Kings Arms they had been called the FONTANA DANCE ORCHESTRA.
When they left their regular Saturday Night Dance spot many
patrons were disappointed. However Larne's own HIGH SEAS SHOWBAND
took their place as the resident band and began a new but
shorter era. Great while it lasted.
OWEN FINNIGAN A boy who sang his way out of Larne
Before, I became a teenager and ventured onto the Larne dance
floors, a local born singer OWEN FINNIGAN from Mill Street,
Larne had begun his professional singing career. His father
must have had a fine voice too, for also back in 50-60s, a
Mr Gault of Larne called at the Finnigan's home and recorded
Finnigan senior on a reel to reel tape recorder.
Young OWEN FINNIGAN had his singing talent recognised by
smart locals in Larne. Their support and encouragement saw
OWEN's career get a very good start. For OWEN went on to perform
all over Ireland and across the water. A career that's lasted
a lifetime. Larne's own OWEN FINNIGAN became better known
throughout Ireland and England by his adopted stage name of
During his many showbiz years GARY performed at numerous venues.
Meeting on the same bill many Irish Showbands and top Entertainers.
He made many friends.
I never had the pleasure of hearing Gary singing. Recently
having spoken to several Larne folk that knew him or about
him. Several had not heard about Gary in recent years. All
toldl me that he was a fine singer. Recently I heard from
his sister Martha, telling me that Gary can still sing a fine
tune. GARY now in his 70s is enjoying his retirement.
I'm hopeful that YOU readers will add others not mentioned
including any members known names?
Postscript by the author:
Sorry folks for my error, in the original
line-up of The High Seas (HSs), I omitted my old friend, a
great character with a good sense of humour and also a former
Larne ATC cadet "Louis Craig".
We had many beers and many laughs.
Away back in the mid 60s on a snowy winters night, Louis and
I were in his wee Austin heading to a hall out in the country
where the HSs were to play. Because of the bad weather we
got deverted by a police patrol. On coming down the hill the
wee car caught black ice, took off, spun around, bounced of
a snowdrift and back onto its four wheels. When it quickly
cooled I think we had to melt snow by rubbing our hands to
refill the cars radiator. When we got to the hall they were
waiting for the wee Austin. It carried another spare battery
to help run the bands equipment, there being no electicty
in the hall. I hear Louis visits Larne every year from his
home in Canada, our paths have yet to cross again.
Back in 1966 Robert Magill ex Regent Showband featured in
the line up of THE COASTERS SHOWBAND along with; Morris Boyd,
Tommy Cameron, Ronnie Clugston, Owen Kelly, Tom McGookin,
Sammy Todd and John Weir.
The CAMERON CLAN featured; Tom Cameron, Herbie Crooks RIP,
Derek Hunter, Robert Magill and another?
Herbie Crooks died in a tragic road accident the band suffered
a great loss. Tom Cameron became Fiddlin' Tom, his musical
talents feature on audio & video tapes and cds including,
"I'm not the boy I used to be".
In recent years I saw Tom performing and at the annual Lammas
Fair in Ballycastle. Anyone able to supply information on
any Larne Borough groups and band names from the 60s to present.
Where possible; any photographs, Line-up names, roles and
PLEASE email me at email@example.com Regards, Glen
Jeff Staiy - Mar '08
What about Shaun Linton?
Glen Brown - Feb '08
Hi Rachel Ball,
Thanks for contacting YPAM I'll see what I can do about your request regarding
regarding the Inkspots at the Rinka Ballroom, Islandmagee.
Sammy Todd - February '08
I am the Sammy Todd. I played drums with the Coasters Showbans
from Larne. I have lost track with the other members, Morris
Boyd, Owen Kelly, Tom cameron, Tom McGookin, Robert Magill,
Ronnie Clugson and John Weir. If anyone knows their whereabouts
I would love to contact them. Please contact me at -mckay todd
at sympatico dot ca.
Rachel Ball - Feb '08
Hi I was wondering if you could help me, i'm looking some
information on my great granda john thomas moores old band
- irelands own inkspots who played at the rinka in islandmagee
- i'd really like to know if anyone has any photos or info
on them at this time.
Glen Brown - Apr '07
Hi Jim Boyd,
Your personal email has now been delivered and my reply sent
on 18 April 2007
Jim Boyd - Apr '07
I was in contact with you a few months ago concerning a Stevie
Strong I was trying to get in contact with him through your
article in the Larne advertiser. I have been in hospital for
a few months and am home at last. I started to check your
replies could se that there was nothing for me if I could
refresh your mind Stevie Strong served in the Royal Ulster
Rifles with me in the late fifties and early sixties we were
in the pipe band together we served in the Borneo jungles
in the early sixties durning the troubles The battalion came
home in the early sixties I went on demobe 1965 lost contact.
I came from Belfast got married there and came to Australia.
I setteled down in Perth West Australia and have been here
for the past forty years I have been in contact with a few
of the lads and it would be great to include Stevie we were
all good friends, Stevie has lived in Larne all of his life
I know that he is married and still living in Larne if you
found anything out!
how I can contact him it will be appricated thank you for
Glen Brown - Apr '07
Hi Helen, Robert and all,
Thanks for your comments above.
I've just been chatting with Liam Kelly on the phone at his
home in Larne. Liam is doing fine and I look forward to seeing
him next month (May).
Having just recently replaced my old pc and other hardware
I am back in touch with friends. At least until the local
lawn bowling season in two weeks time.
On 8th May 2007 many friends will be reliving 1967 on 8th
May at a Ruby reunion for former Larne Grammar School classmates
and their friends at Cairndhu Golf Club.
Glen Brown - Mar '07
Many THANKS for all added comments here
I am also pleased to hear by direct EMAIL too; firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON being read by me I will send an acknowledgement reply.
DATE(S) SHOWN ON YPAM pages is date when COMMENTS are added
by YPAM and not the date of my actual replies. to the respective
I will do my utmost to pass on requests regarding contact
with old friends etc.. Contact me at above email address.
Remembering however, should the other person(s) sought decline
response, no details will be released without permission
by those concerned.
Robert (Crocket) Magee(sax) - Mar '07
Hi there Glen- The Witnesses also played Belfast college where
we (The Oceans used to do a break for them. This is when The
Oceans started out with six of us.Big Joe and Trixie Were
marvelous when they done their version of "Mr. Bassman"
We got the gigs with them through our manager who lived in
Sydenham and one of his neighbours was a member of The Witnesses.
Later on in the late 60s' - 70s' I met big Joe who done the
occasional solo performance at the H&W social club where
I played with the Cascades.There's no Doubt about it The Witnesses
were a great band.
Helen Harrison - Feb '07
Liam Kelly - glad to hear that you are recovering well Glen
is great for passing on information. Continue to make a speedy
There was another great singer from Larne called Riki Parks
he sang with Dave Glover for a number of years and from what
i can remember he came from Ronald Street . The Par 3 are
still going strong in Canada .
Glen Brown - Oct '06
UPDATE ON Liam Kelly 28 Oct 2006
GOOD NEWS, Liam having been in hospital since early June
2006 with a serious nasty virus (G-BS) has continued striving
As the result, Liam will be home from hospital on Friday,
3rd November 2006.
Having spent a couple of weeks inIntensive Care, Liam has
made a successful personal battle to recover and has amazed
the specialist help that have been treating him at both Belfast
R I and Muskgrave hospitals over the past 5-6 months.
Well done Liam and I hear a PC laptop is on order so he'll
be back online soon with his many friends.
Anyone who is ill are wished a similar recovery.
Glen Brown - Oct '06
VERY GOOD NEWS
My good Larne friend LIAM KELLY who has been in hospital
for over the past four months with Guillane-Barre' Syndrome
(GBS), has fought and achieved good progress.
After Intensive Care he had to learn to walk again by painful
intensive exercise, medication and therapy. Liam has achieved
personal good progress. Another month of similar progress
by Liam hopefully will see him discharged from hospital soon.
The excellent continuous support by staff at Muskgrave Hospital,
all the best wishes from his numerous friends and the love
of his whole family, we'll be seeing Liam conquer this illness.
Peter Nash - May '06
Regarding Carey Wilson, I am still hoping to get a response
I'm presently busy with travelling and other interests. If
I do not get any info' I will endeavour to try again in mid
Glen Brown - March '06
Hi David Peters,
No luck in tracing the history of CARLTON record label so
Tony Deleware was unable to shed any light on the label.
Some readers/browsers may recall the 'Embassy' budget label
used by Woolworths in the 60s. Their 45 rpm 'single' records
featuring unknown artists with Hits of the time was quickly
followed by KTel and others budget labels featuring compilations
on 33 & 1/3 rpm Long Play Records.
Joe Meek the alchemist of Pop1959-66 (mentioned in David
Peter's comments) produced a wealth of talent that still sound
good today. His big names included, Emile Ford, The Tornados
(Telstar etc), Johnny Leyton, THE HONEYCOMBS ( I received
a prize from RADIO CAROLINE for POP PICKIN' having predicted
their entry into the HIT PARADE and reaching No.1), Mike Berry
and though I do not recall ever hearing any of his recordings
until very recently, would-be politician Screaming Lord Sutch.
All the Hip words from the Swinging 60s including FAB, GROOVY,
SWINGIN', COOL must have been influenced partly by all those
that Joe brought to the attention of the pop hunger public.
I certainly enjoy re listening to the talent he promoted.
CDs are available from various sources.
David Peters - March '06
Last year, a CD came out in Germany called "Joe Meek..
The missing recordings and rarities" on it is a track
called " A girl called Bonnie" released on the Carlton
label, this is supposed to be a Joe Meek production, can anyone
give any details of this recording, label, and whether it
was a Joe Meek production?
Glen Brown - Feb '06
I thank Liam Kelly for his kind remarks in his comments.
It is most gratifying knowing that others share and have consideration
for one's interests.
HIGH SEAS SHOWBAND update.
Yesterday 3 Feb 2006, a friendly little bird emailed me, informing
me that my old friend Louie' Craig is back living in Northern
They told me the name of the place (not Larne) where he now
I therefore hope to contact him in the not too distant future.
When contact is made with Louie, I and several of his old
friends hope to have a reunion.
Liam Kelly - Jan '06
Glen Brown is a godsend to those of us left in Larne and those
who departed to live elsewhere. He has brought old friends
together again and has given many people a sense of belonging
to a period of time when life was good and many of today problems
did not seem to exist. He has captured the mood of Larne in
the 60's when the air was thick with accents from all parts
of the world in the form of tourists, and buses were lined
up outside the hotels to whisk them away to witness the beauty
of "the Glens" and to gaze in wonder at the Giants
Keep up the good work Glen.
Glen Brown - Jan '06
Thank you for your comments re' "High Seas Showband"
. With regard to your request for 'memories', please email
email@example.com and I'll be in touch.
Regarding Carey Wilson, please contact me direct at my email
address (see above).
Wishing you all a Healthy and Peaceful 2006.
Yours in friendship,
Denese - Dec '05
I read your e-mail from the 1966. It brings back very happy
memories of the 70's. Seeing Morris Boyd's name brought it
all back. He and his band used to practice in what is now
Drew+Liz Clements home. Then it used to be a row of 4 derelict
homes. His niece Lorraine + I used to sneak in and listen
to them practising. Morris later went on to form a group called
Harvest. Lorraine and I used to babysit his twins Lana+Vicki
while he was playing. As for Tom Cameron, we used to go +
see him performing in the Larhana, the Glynn marquee and anywhere
else he played. He played so much a part of our childhood.
If there is anyone out there who remembers these days, especially
Lorraine, as unfortunally she died 28th November 2005 and
I am still trying to come to terms with it. We were together
from we were 6 weeks old. If you have any memories of this
please forward them,
Lynne Hannay - Oct 05
With regard to your story about Robert Wilson - I am trying
to get in touch with a Mr. Carey Wilson - son of Robert &
Margaret Wilson. After some unsuccussful research, I wondered
if you could help me contact Carey? Carey was also involved
in theatre. I believe he resides in Eley, a suburburb of Cambridge,
England. Would you, by chance, know how I could get in touch
with Carey? Thank-you for your time, Hopefully,
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Glen Brown - Feb 08
Hi Rachel Ball,
Thanks for contacting YPAM I'll see what I can do about your
request regarding regarding the Inkspots at the Rinka Ballroom,