Jack Brady.. the name and face have just flashed across my mind. He was a carpenter by trade, when there was any carpentry to do.
Valley Rangers of old perform!
We knew him best as an all-round performer. He was the producer, script writer and leading man of the Queen’s Theatre. He was also the comedy star of the kerbside cabaret. Brendan Grace, Hal Roach and all of that crowd – they couldn’t hold a candle to Jack.
That man could stand there on the roadway, look at his audience and on the spot, make up stories about them that were funnier than anything you would see in the pictures. When I see what passes for comedy nowadays, many’s the time I say to myself, ‘If only Jack Brady was alive now, he’d leave them for dead’.
There are few dancers now that could come up to Joey Patterson of Number 46. He was also centre-forward with the Valley rangers soccer team. His father was a blacksmith and his sister May Liza was the prettiest girl in the street. Except for Lily and Maureen McAleavey of Number 50. They were more my age.
Joey could tap-dance as well as Fred Astaire – in his ordinary shoes; in his football boots, even! And him only an ordinary working chap. But our street was full of talent.
Jamesie Brothers – who later went to America – could perform such stunts on his Raleigh bicycle. He could stand on one foot on the saddle and it moving, and steer with his other foot. He could even stand on his head on the saddle while the bike was moving. He could sit on the handlebars and pedal the bike in circles, forwards or backwards.
The first person I ever heard playing the zither was Tish Loughran, Peter’s wife. You could listen to her all night. How they come back to me, all those warm, lovely people.
Mary McGuigan reminds me that her father-in-law Gabriel once played drums with the Vincent Lowe Trio. That chap could tap out a rhythm on the drums, cymbals and clog-box that would galvanize a skeleton.
Self-taught too. By the way, Gabriel didn’t live in Cecil Street. It was just most, not all of the town’s talent that resided in Cecil Street! Do you remember Dermot McConville, the fiddler and Kathleen Morgan the pianist? Aye the talent was here, when I was a boy!