Bojangle were a Limerick rock/pop trio who started out as a quartet formed in January 1969 called The Embers, with Brendan Frawley on organ. Denis Allen had played with Frawley in a cabaret band called The Casuals, who played for candlelight diners at the Royal George Hotel in Limerick City, and in the Berwyn Showband who played Saturday nights at the Old Crescent clubhouse in Rathbane. The Embers spent a couple of years writing songs, making demos and attracting some record company attention, but nothing came of it. They recorded material in London in April 1970 which was supposed to yield a single, but this never came out. By 1971 they were a trio called Bojangle, managed by John Frawley. Allen had reputedly written over 200 songs by this time.
Bojangle were successful locally in the Limerick area, playing small clubs and supporting visiting acts in larger venues, including Rory Gallagher at the Savoy on two occasions. They recorded two good singles for Dolphin Records in 1971 which are worth tracking down. Two of Allen's songs were signed by Dick James music publishing in the UK. John Frawley began negotiations about recording an LP but this never came to pass. Bojangle split in 1973.
Note there is no relation to the Bo Jangle who released the single "Piccadilly Circus" / "Is It Time To Start The Show?" on MAM Records in June 1972 (MAM-R77).
Denis Allen joined Tommy Drennan's backing band The Top League as guitarist in 1973.
Drennan was a famous showband singer from Limerick who'd first achieved fame with
The Monarchs. Tommy Drennan & The Top League recorded an album
of Denis Allen songs in 1973 released under the title "Love and the Country" on
EMI Records and enjoyed a couple of hits that year, including the christmas #2 hit 'Beautiful Peace'.
Drennan split the Top League in 1975 to pursue a solo career. Denis
Allen formed Ding-A-Ling with lead singer Shaun O'Dowd. Ding-A-Ling
were popular though their records were mostly lightweight pop. Allen left them to start his own
Denis Allen Band in 1979.
Allen is now best known for the ballad "Limerick You're A Lady" which was an Irish number one in 1979. The song was written on request for the Limerick Lady festival and was originally supposed to be recorded by Tommy Drennan, but Tommy had just brought out a single of his own ('Sunshine Lover') and didn't want to release a second one so soon. "Limerick You're A Lady" was recorded in Dublin with Bryan Meehan, Bobby O'Driscoll and Des Reynolds playing on it. Allen waswithout a recording contract at the time and as no record company showed any interest in the demo, he released the track himself on his own Middle 8 label, pressing just 500 copies (with "For Jenny" on the B-side). It gained good exposure on RTE which generated enough demand for one of the major labels to finally step in. It was later picked up by Release Records.
In the early 80s Allen toured as a warmup act for the Furey brothers on their UK tours, and wrote 'Lonely in London' for them. He continued to record and release records during the 80s and beyond and opened his own recording studio in Rosbrien.
Brendan Frawley composed and performed the background music on Eamon O'Connor's 1977 LP 'Biddy Early - Wise Woman Or Witch' on the small Limerick Crescent Records label.
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