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Family Pride

From: Dublin

Active: 1972-74
Style: Pop/Folk



Family Pride were Des Smyth (ex Des Smyth & The Collegemen), Anne Bushnell, Patricia Reilly (ex Pat & Jean vocal duo), John Curran (ex Viscounts), Johnny Christopher (ex Jim Doherty Quartet) and Jerry Hughes. All were in demand session musicians and singers working in Dublin. Des Smyth and Anne Bushnell had both scored hits as solo artists and continued to release solo material while with Family Pride. Des Smyth came from the showbands but was more of a crooner and song stylist a la Sinatra and Crosby. Jerry Hughes did much of the arranging and producing and was also involved with the Tara Records label. Individual commitments made touring impossible but they played regularly in the clubs in Dublin during 1972-74.

All of the group could sing, making them in effect a small choir, which gave their recordings a distinctive sound. While this can sometimes conjour images of the Les Humphries Singers in tank tops on the 1973 Val Doonican Christmas TV Special, it avoids easy listening cheese for the most part thanks to restrained, tasteful arrangements and subtle Irish folk melodies. In other words some of these recordings have a certain charm, but they are not for everyone.

In 1972 Family Pride had a surprise hit with a reworking of "Tabhair Dom Do Lamh", one of the best known traditional Irish tunes, recorded as "Give Me Your Hand" with additional english lyrics by Des Smyth. This remains their signature recording. They repeated the same trick a year later with "King of the Fairies", the B-side of which "I'll Remember" was entered in the 1973 national song contest. Anne Bushnell had already performed in that competition as far back as 1968 withy "Ballad To A Boy". Des Smyth appeared twice, in 1971 ("The Sad Sound") and 1972 ("Let's Be Thankful"), as well as later winning the Castlebar International Song Contest with "Roulette" in 1975.

Family Pride's sole LP was announced for July 1973 and finally appeared in September. This LP sat in my parents meagre record collection for many years. The dreadful front cover photo always made me uneasy. It consists of covers and arrangements of traditonal tunes. There are only two band originals. Musically it's a very mixed bag and is largely unlikely to appeal to most readers: jazz-lite arrangements of traditional tunes, jaunty country rock ("Country Roads"), corny schmaltz ("Gortnamona"), easy listening crooning, etc. The folkier moments are more enjoyable, including a good arrangement of "She Moved Thru The Fair" by Jerry Hughes, but dealers describing this LP as "folk psych" should be horsewhipped. Their final single came out in 1975.


• Give Me Your Hand / Poor Man's Son
7" - Columbia Records - IDB 819 - IRL - 1972 - no PS
B-sde by Des Smyth
Entered the Irish charts on 9 November 1972 for an 8 week run, peaking at #5.

• King Of The Fairies / I'll Remember
7" - Rex Records - R 11081 - IRL - 1973 - no PS
7" - Rex Records - R 11081 - UK - 8 June 1973 - no PS
The A-side is credited to Smith. Arranged by John Curran, produced by Jerry Hughes.
The B-sde was entered in the 1973 National Song Contest
This single entered the Irish charts on 5 July 1973 for a 3 week run, peaking at #16.

• s/t
LP - Rex Records - RPS 108 - IRL - 1973
Produced by Jerry Hughes.
Recording engineers Conor O'Loughlin & Pat Morley
Recorded at Eamonn Andrews Studios

Notes: Also credited are Sonny Knowles (vocals, flute), Des Moore (guitars), Dick Keating (piano), Jim Doherty (piano) and John Wadham (drums, percussion).

• Bonapartes Retreat / Sweet Dreams
7" - Rex Records - R 11092 - IRL/UK - 13 September 1974 - no PS

• Play Some Ragtime Mr Jackson / Then I Miss You
7" - Rex Records - R 11107 - IRL - 1975 - no PS

Des Smyth with Family Pride - Relax Irish Style
LP - Olympic Records - OBL 113 - IRL - 1977

See also: Anne Bushnell, Des Smyth

Help!: We need your help to complete this entry. If you can tell us more about this band then please do! We welcome any corrections, missing details, connections to other bands, where are they now, etc. We also need photos, scans, copies of releases or live or demo recordings, and any other memorabilia gathering dust in the attic. If you can help, then please get in touch.

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