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the Capitol Showband

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The Capitol Showband pg. 2

The first rehearsal was held in the old Four Provinces Ballroom in Dublin’s Harcourt Street and the first engagement as “The Capitol Showband” was in the Top Hat Ballroom in Dun Laoghaire. Fairly astute management by the Doherty brothers, Jim and Tom, produced introductory dates in the major ballrooms but the band still lacked a lead singer. The Blue Clavons, a popular Dublin band at the time, lead by John Hardy, were on the verge of breaking up. Seamus “Butch” Moore had left the Clavons and was singing with the Billy Carter band in the National Ballroom. When approached he was happy to move to the Capitol especially when told that his old friend Jimmy Hogan from the Clavons would also be joining the band. The personnel of the band which was to be launched on the major ballroom circuit had finally been settled.

Back Row (l. to. r.) Pat Loughman, Eamon Monahan, John Kelly, Eddie Ryan.
Front Row (l. to r.) Butch Moore, Paul Sweeney, Des Kelly, Jimmy Hogan.
The Capitol Showband, Colour photo - Back row - Pat Loughman, Eamon Monahan, John Kelly, Eddie Ryan, Front Row - Butch Moore, Paul Sweeney, Des Kelly, Jimmy Hogan.

The band went from strength to strength. The trad jazz revival in Britain headed by Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, Terry Lightfoot and Kenny Ball ensured that, at any given time, there were several jazz numbers in the Top Twenty. Sweeney was a natural jazzman. The big band experience of Loughman and Ryan ensured that, when the Capitol played Dixieland jazz, they swung like no other band in the country. The Kellys had an extensive Country and Western repertoire. Jimmy Hogan was a guitar and banjo virtuoso. Eamonn Monahan’s vocal versatility ranged from Ronnie Ronalde style whistling to a bass baritone that could carry a Jim Reeves number with ease. Butch Moore was the icing on this musical cake. A smooth easy style of singing, a slight air of vulnerability and a boyish grin endeared him, and the band, to dancers everywhere. By mid 1961 the Capitol were among the top three dance bands in the country.

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