Dublin Legends star Eamonn Campbell has two very strong ties to Blackpool.
Two of his grandsons.
And while he doesn’t get to come over to see them all that often, he has, of course, been to the resort on many
He is looking forward to coming back to the Fylde coast once again next month, when he and the rest of his band play at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham.
The Drogheda-born musician said: “I’ve got two grandsons who live in Blackpool, so I am looking forward to coming.
“They come over here more than I go over, really.
“I’ve been to Blackpool many times.
“We’ve always had a good reception there – they always like to sing along.”
Eamonn – one of the longest-serving members of The Dubliners – and the lads are currently back on tour around the UK and Europe for the next couple of months.
They are now known as The Dublin Legends and are made up of Eamonn, with Sean Cannon, Gerry O’Connor and Paul Watchorn.
Sean was also a member of The Dubliners for close to 30 years, while Gerry joined them for the final part of their 50th anniversary tour in 2012.
Sadly, the band suffered a body blow with the sudden and tragic death of founding member ‘Banjo’ – Barney McKenna.
The remaining members had to sit down and decide upon the band’s future and John Sheahan, after 48 years of touring, decided to step off the tour bus.
It was agreed The Dubliners, as a touring band, would come to an end and The Dublin Legends were born – to continue the legacy started by John Sheahan, Barney McKenna, Ciaran Bourke, Luke
Kelly and Ronnie Drew, back in 1962.
And they are looking forward to being back out on the road, bringing fans classic songs and ballads known the world over, including Whiskey In The Jar, Dirty Old Town, Molly Malone, The Irish Rover, Seven Drunken Nights, The Wild Rover and Finnegan’s Wake, plus many more.
Eamonn said: “I don’t like the travelling! The sleeping and driving to different places.
“But when we do the gigs and when we go up on-stage, that’s the enjoyable bit – it’s the best feeling.
“I didn’t think, at 68, I would still be playing gigs, still doing tours around the UK, around Europe – it’s fantastic, it’s
Eamonn has always had a love of music – as a boy, he wanted to play the accordion.
And once he heard the music of Elvis and Buddy Holly as a youngster, he fell in love with rock’n’roll.
“I got my first guitar when I was about 11 or 12.
“In those days, there was only really one radio station, so we used to play records.
“I used to do a gig every Saturday night, I used to get the princely sum of £1. I remember saving up and I bought myself a record player, and I would listen to my LPs.”
In the early 60s, he played with The Viceroys, and then The Delta Boys under musician-pianist Louis Smith.
He also joined the local brass and reed band, so he could learn how to read music.
In 1964, Eamonn joined showband Dermot O’Brien and The Clubmen – appearing on a weekly Irish TV show called Jamboree. The band had a huge hit in Ireland at the time, called The Merry Ploughboy.
In 1967 they embarked on a massively successful concert tour of England, in conjunction with The Dubliners. Immediately, he struck up a friendship with The Dubs.
“We just became friends out on the road and we would meet as friends for a pints in Dublin.
“Not really to do with music, just as mates.”
In the 70s Eamonn toured Ireland with various artists, including Cilla Black, Peters and Lee and – of course – The Dubliners.
He also began producing and arranging songs and music for recording sessions and. in 1981, he played guitar with the RTE Concert Orchestra for The Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin.
In 1986, Ronnie and John from The Dubliners asked Eamonn to produce a record to celebrate their 25th anniversary the following year.
When he said he’d like The Pogues to be part of it, Ronnie’s reaction was “The Pogues?? My Jaysus!”
Then in March 1987, Eamonn was part of The Late Late Show special, celebrating their Silver Anniversary and, following on from that, he became part of The Dubliners.
Among his highlights from over the years was The Dubliners and The Pogues performing in 1987 on Top Of The Pops.
“To go on Top Of The Pops was a great feeling.
“I could remember watching the very first Top Of The Pops when it went to air in 1964, and being on it is not something I’d have thought I would ever do.”
He has also enjoyed being with his friends over the years, as part of the band.
“It’s a great sense of camaraderie.
“I’ve known Sean from The Dubliners for 30 years.
“And the other lads, Gerry and Paul, are great, too.
“It is great fun, we do have a good laugh.”
And fun is what the band aims for their shows to be.
“We do have fun on-stage.
“Of course, there are certain songs everybody wants to hear – Whiskey In The Jar, Seven Drunken Nights.
“People come to hear their favourite songs and we want people to enjoy it.
“We do what people want.
“Because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be there.
“I think all entertainers, whether they are in music or acting or whatever, should never lose sight of that.
“That’s why we always stay after concerts, we like to meet people who have come along, to chat to them have photos taken. It’s nice to meet people.”
And Eamonn is always pleasantly surprised by the wide
variety of backgrounds of the fan The Dublin Legends
“The amazing thing is they are all different ages, all from different backgrounds.
“We did some gigs on the continent and we had people in their 70s come along, but also people in the 18 to 35 age group – it’s brilliant for us.”
And finally, to people in Lytham thinking of coming along, he says: “It will just be a good, fun event.
“A night of Irish music where people can sing along, enjoy themselves and forget whatever hassle is going on.”
• For more information about the band visit www.dublinlegends.com
• The Dublin Legends come to the Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, on February 27. Box office (01253) 794221 or visit www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk