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The Capitol Showband

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The Capitol Showband pg. 3

A decision now had to be made. Those at University had forsaken their studies and were concentrating on the band. Paul Sweeney was the only one who would eventually return to college. Butch Moore and Jimmy Hogan were already full time musicians. Eddie Ryan as in full time employment with Dublin Gas Co. Pat Loughman, one of the oldest in the band, had already a degree in science and was teaching full time in O’Connell Schools in Dublin. The lack of dates during Lent in Ireland meant that there was considerable pressure on Ryan and Loughman to turn professional so that the Capitol could tour in Britain and America. Both decided against the move and opted out of the band. They were replaced by Paddy Cole and Don Long. Cole had been playing with Maurice Lynch from Castleblayney while Don Long had come to prominence with Jack Brierly and also with Donie Collins. The band was now relaunched. Long, in particular, added a whole new dimension to the Capitol’s repertoire. Whereas Loughman had been a musician, pure and simple, Long was not only a fine trombonist but also a superb showman. The band was about to make another leap forward.

Photo of the Capitol Showband in the United States, 1962

The Capitol in the United States in 1962.

L-R. Butch Moore, John Kelly, Paul Sweeney, Paddy Cole, Eamon Monahan, Don Long, Jimmy Hogan, Des Kelly.

From the 8th of March to the 2nd of April, 1962, the Capitol toured the United States for the first time. They were accorded a tremendous reception but then they were playing mainly to audiences composed of Irish ex-pats. The tour was an unqualified success and was the first of a number of trips outside of Ireland. Paul Sweeney finally decided to resume his architectural studies and was replaced by Cork trumpeter, Bram McCarthy. Despite the fact that the Capitol were now riding the crest of a wave and still had a string of hit records ahead of them, the danger signs were beginning to show. The emergence of the Beatles filled the hit parade with tunes which were difficult for showbands to cover. The traditional showband frontline of trumpet, tenor sax, and trombone did not lend itself very well to the kind of sound dancers now wanted to hear. The balance of drawing power began to shift to younger bands such as the Miami showband with vocal, rather than instrumental, versatility. The Capitol’s management were already grooming the Miami as a future star band. Despite these changes, the Capitol continued to draw huge crowds nationwide. When Butch Moore was selected as Ireland’s first Eurovision entry in 1965, the band’s appeal increased enormously. A string of successful hits, some penned by Phil Coulter, were issued. These included: Walking the Streets in the Rain, Foolin’ Time, Born to be with You, The Streets of Baltimore, The Black Velvet Band, a Christmas Wish, and two long playing albums.

Photo from Sheet Music for Down Came the Rain , Burlington Music Co. London

The Capitol c.1965 (photo from sheet music for "Down Came The Rain", Burlington Music Co., London)

Jimmy Hogan, Don Long, Paddy Cole, Butch Moore, Eamonn Monahan, Des Kelly, John Kelly.
Front: Bram McCarthy

Eventually, Butch Moore decided to leave the band. Despite rumours circulating at the time, his parting was amicable. He left for the U.S. to pursue a solo career. With him went a lot of the old magic. The Capitol experimented with a number of very fine singers but none of them had the same crowd appeal as Butch. The Kellys left the band they formed back in 1960 and the chapter finally ended when Paddy Cole left to join the Big Eight.

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