The Casino Showband

The Story of The Casino Showband

Related: Toppers, Indians, Pacific, Dublin Corporation, International


Dublin’s Casino Showband had two lives, in the ‘60s as a successful showband and in the ‘70s as The Indians, a country band who did big business throughout Ireland and Europe. Formed in 1965 as The Goldentones, by some former members of the De La Salle Boys Band, soon they were discovered and managed by Tipperary-born impressario Liam Ryan. They built up a reputation as a versatile, hard-working band, led by trumpeter Eamonn Keane flanked by brothers John and Brian Woodfull (lead guitar and bass), Nick McEvoy (tenor sax), Paddy Reynolds (tenor sax), Peter Brady (drums), Jimmy Breen (vocals) and Shay O’Reilly (vocals/trombone). Sometime later, Chris Mullahy from Milltown, Co. Galway, who had been playing with The International Showband in Manchester took over the drumseat. Eddie Morgan joined as lead vocalist and later the band was fronted by Mel Austin who came from The Jimmy Johnstone Showband. Nick McEvoy left for Athenry to join The Swingtime Aces.

They were highly-regarded by their peers in the music business, and though they did tour the U.S.A. twice and performed on RTE’s “Showband Show”, as The Casino, they never made the big breakthrough that their talent undoubtedly deserved. They also appeared as contestants on ITV’s “Opportunity Knocks” talent show and finished in second place.

In 1968, they took their first turn towards country music when Cavan vocalist Ian Corrigan joined the band and released a single, “In The Middle Of Nowhere”. It didn’t make a big impact however and towards the end of the decade, their then manager Paddy Burns, while visiting an Indian reservation during a holiday in Canada got an idea that would catapult The Casino to stardom during the ‘70s. He felt that there was an audience in Ireland for a colourful band, playing good country music, and what comes more colourful than a traditional American Indian costume! Costumes were designed and made, two new members were added and The Indians were launched in a blaze of publicity.

The Indians played their parts very well and from their signature tune, “Apache”, featuring John Woodfull (Flaming Star), right through their varied programme which brought dancers in droves to ballrooms and marquees all over the island. All the band took on authentic American Indian names such as “Chief Sitting Bull Jnr.” (Noel Brady), “Crazy Horse” (Eamonn Keane), “Little Thunder” (Chris Mullahy), “Dull Knife” (Brian Woodfull), “Spotted Tail” (Dougie Walsh) and “Medicine Crow” (Shay O’Reilly). They released a number of big-selling albums and a few singles.

After almost forty years in the business, Eamonn Keane and Brian Woodfull are still playing with The Indians ( Chris Mullahy vacated the drum-stool only last year after thirty-five years and is now back living in his native Galway. Sadly, Shay O’Reilly, Nick McEvoy, Paddy Reynolds (who emigrated to Canada with The Pacific Showband) and Eddie Morgan have passed away. John Woodfull runs an art gallery in Dublin’s Stephen’s Green. Eamonn Keane’s daughter Lorraine is a well-known television personality.

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Based in Dublin

Vocals: Eddie Morgan, Ian Corrigan
Lead Guitar: John Woodfull
2nd Guitar:
Bass: Brian Woodfull
Trumpet: Eamonn Keane
Sax/Clarinet: Paddy Reynolds
Trombone: Shay O'Reilly
Drums: Peter Byrne, Chris Mullahy
Manager: Eamonn Ryan
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