“WHENEVER we talk to anyone they call us ‘Paddy’,” complained the three Bachelors. “We’ve got names you know.”
But apart from that complaint everything else is very happy for the three boys from old Ireland who have broken through into the charts with their folksy-type rendering of ‘Charmaine’, the number that has been recorded so many times before.
“We didn’t think we could get away with it” said Con Clusky, the lead singer. “It’s been done so many times before that we were a bit dubious.
“But once we started to get the plugs, we became pretty confident. We think we’re lined up for a few more you know.”
The disc itself is a very folksy version of the old standard made into a million seller by Mantovani some years back. The boys say that they did not in fact lean on Karl Denver for the treatment of the song, as it is in rather a similar vein to some of Karl’s hits.
“But we tried as hard as we could not to sound like Karl – he’s a friend of ours and we shouldn’t like to put him out of business” said Dec Clusky, jokingly, the second member of the team and brother to Con.
The group started out round about five years ago in Ireland where they used to play various local dates. They met up with John Stokes, the third member of the group, and began calling themselves the Harmonicords, as their speciality was playing that particular instrument. After a while though they began getting more and more on the country and western kick, and started to study old Irish and American folk songs which they would sing on their act.
They first came to England some nine months ago to appear with Nina and Frederick.
“The show attracted a very high class audience,” they said. “We don’t know why but we had some of the best audiences we have seen on that tour.”
Later, while they were playing in Scotland, the time came for the bill to be printed when the manager decided that their name wasn’t right. So it was changed to the Bachelors, simply because none of the boys was married, and the name’s stuck.
Just lately they are playing several club dates including the Astor country club, and the Jack O’Clubs.
They are set up for quite a few dates too. There’s the Brenda Lee tour soon, and then they tour several clubs in Ireland and Scotland with Hank Locklin, currently doing well with ‘We’re Gonna Go Fishin”.
“We think that Hank is just about the greatest,” the three boys said. “His stage act is fabulous. We also like the Springfields, and Lonnie Donegan. We used to do a lot of his songs when we first formed up.”
The three Bachelors also raved over the Limeliters, who have just come over here for various appearances.
“Folk music is much more popular than you may think,” they said. “It sticks out when it’s played on the radio, and there is a great market for it.”
They’ve plans for making an album of genuine Irish folk songs especially for the Irish market. They intend using the stuff that isn’t hackneyed and to dig up some quaint material that hasn’t been recorded a hundred times by someone else.
Other plans include an album coming pretty soon, including ‘Charmaine’, and one for the American market – of course, all three will be issued here. Plans for a single haven’t materialised yet but there’s one going to be cut pretty soon. Titles are indefinite.
That’s just about all in the busy book of the Bachelors, the three boys who managed to put one of the most-recorded songs ever into the charts. They didn’t think they could do it but they did.
And if they stick to the same sweet style they could do it again.
© Norman Jopling, Record Mirror, 16 February 1963