I'm Paddy McKiernan's grandson. I just stumbled across this site, it's great!
I'm a professional musician now although hadn't even started playing by the time Paddy passed away when I would have been about thirteen, I'm thirty five now.
Does anyone out there have any photos of Mr Smiths or Paddy? I'm really keen to see what it was like.
Occasionally I bump into musicians who knew my grandad but they're few and far between as a lot of them would have to be on their 80s and 90s now.
I'd be really keen to get in touch with anyone who worked with Paddy.
Oliver McKiernan - 10/1/13
Your granddad thought I would be a big a big star so he took me under contract and I worked at Mr Smiths as singer and compere for about 2 years then i went on to be a solo artist for many years. They were good days. My name is Cindy and my stage name as a solo artist was Melenie Martin.
Played at Bodega in 50s which was run by Pat with Ron Simpson as general manager. If you want info, Bill Birch has a book out 'Keeper of the flame' with plenty of articles and photos.
Sometime towards the end of 1955 Paddy McKeirnan decided to organise and promote a short music tour of six Northern cities and towns, on consecutive nights starting 14th March 1956, taking in the Free Trade Hall Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesboro. Hanley near Stoke and finishing at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton.
The Tour was called "Rhythm and Stars" and it was sponsored by The Daily Express. Top of the bill was "The Man With The Golden Trumpet" Preston born Eddie Calvert. Eddie had enjoyed massive hit records with "oh Mein Papa" and "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" a couple of years earlier and was still a big musical name. Second on the bill and closing the first half were popular entertainers of the time, The Hedley Ward Trio. The show was compared by George Melly, who also had his own spot. The show also featured nationally known vocalists Gerry Brereton and Marie Benson and the musical backing for the show was provided by The Ronnie Scott Orchestra.
Opening the second half, effectively bottom of the bill, was the Chris Barber Jazz Band, which also included a skiffle group lead by the band's banjo player Lonnie Donegan. At the beginning of January 1956 a song called "Rock Island Line" sung by Donegan and recorded in 1954 had entered the charts.
By the time of the "Rhythm and stars" tour it was in both the British and American top ten, the skiffle boom had started and musically, nothing would ever be the same again. It inspired the youth of Britain, including Messrs Lennon, McCartney and Harrison and the rest, as they say, is history. Meanwhile Paddy McKiernan's six date tour was, not surprisingly, a complete and total sell out.
Having been aware of this tour for awhile, I have often wondered if the running order changed from that listed in the tour programme and what impact the different type audiences had on Eddie Calvert, who had something of a reputation for being difficult.
Presumably the profits from this tour exceeded anything Paddy envisaged and helped him on his way to eventually setting up other ventures.
Either way by putting the facts with a bit of artistic license, the above would be a terrific scenario for a musical play.
The programme for this tour can be viewed on chrisbarber.net
Ed Fraser - 11/9/13