The Gentry

One of the “new breed” of pop bands that made their ballroom debut with an expanded lineup in 1969.

(Not in order): Norman Lindsey (guitar), Donie Devaney (sax), Scott

Mulvey (keyboards) and Davey Traynor (sax) Cahir O’Doherty

(front-vocals), Greg Donaghy (drums) and Ernie Durkin (bass).

From left: Cahir O’Doherty (Ballymena), Norman Lindsay (Ballymena),

Mervyn Doole (Antrim), Gerry Neill (Portstewart), Billy Boyd


Gentry’s first-ever handout

photograph. Cahir O’Doherty, Seamus Caulfield, Ronny Souter, Norman

Lindsay Vocals: Cahir O’Doherty, Lead Guitar: Norman Lindsay, Bass:

Ronny Souter, Drums: Seamus Caulfield

Cahir O’Doherty and Billy Boyd

The Gentry changed their name to The Nobility before adding brass in the late ’60s (thanks to Karen Mulligan).

From: Ballymena

Active: 196? – mid-70s

Style: pop-rock

Lineup (October 1966):

Cahir O’Doherty – vocals, rhythm guitar

Victor McCullough – lead guitar

Gerry O’Neill – organ (left January 1969)

Ronny Souter – bass, vocals

Mervyn Doole – drums

Lineup: (1969)

Cahir O’Doherty – vocals, rhythm guitar

Norman Lindsay – lead guitar

Scott Mulvey – organ

Ronny Souter – bass

Billy Boyd – drums


The Gentry began life as a mid 60s beat group. The briefly changed their name to The Nobility in 1968 before reverting to the Gentry name again and began playing as a showband in the summer of 1969. They contined to play pop and rock material but crossed over into showband territory. This occasionally led to identity crisis problems, with rock fans viewing them as a showband and vice versa.

By far their most interesting track is the Pink Floyd-ish “Attempted Contact”, released as a B-side in 1969. “Let It Shine” is a decent gospel flavoured track. What would have been their debut single “Walk Under Water” was announced as early as January 1968 by CBS Records but this never came to pass. If it’s anything like “Attempted Contact”, it should be tracked down. The difference in style of the later material is explained by the many lineup changes. The only constant was singer and band leader Cahir O’Doherty.

There were many lineup changes over the years. Billy Boyd (drums) replaced Mervyn Doole. Norman Lindsay took over from Victor McCullough. Gerry O’Neill’s replacement was Scott Mulvey (keyboards). Ernie Durkin (ex Orange Machine, Blue, Cotton Mill Boys, later in Buckshot) (bass) and Greg Donaghy (ex Grannys Intentions, Blue, later in The Times) (drums) became the rhythm section sometime before 1970. The augmented lineup included Donie Devaney (sax) and Davey Trainor (sax). Paul Duffy also joined from Blue. Brian Harris (also in the Cats Pyjamas) replaced Norman Lindsay; Shay Murphy (ex Purple Pussycat) replaced Greg Donaghy in 1970. Seamus Caulfield also played drums at some point. Gerry Mulryan played trumpet at some point. There may have been other changes.

In mid-73 two members of Dublin rock band Jack (ex Adolf J Rag and The Urge) were lured into the band, bringing Jack to a halt. I don’t know much more about this at the moment but it may have been as a result of the Purple Pussycat (near) reunion (which took Brian Harris and Shay Murphy).

In May 1973, in Ken Stewart’s regular column in Billboard, the band was reported to be in London at AIR studios, recording under the direction of Peter Sullivan. Among the tracks to be recorded was a new version of “Let It Shine”. These recordings were never released.

Cahir O’Doherty eventually went solo, starring in the Joseph musical and fronting his own Dazzle Band in the mid-1970s and recording for various labels. He released his solo debut LP in 1975, “Rock My Soul” (EMI). O’Doherty and Harris played together again in the late 70s in Beats Workin’ with Bobby Kelly (ex The Hootenannys, The Chosen Few, The Greenbeats, Sands) on guitar, Bob Bolton (ex Stepaside, Swarrbriggs Band) on bass and Jimmy Compton (ex Lyttle People, Real McCoy) on drums. No relation to the pop/rock band active circa 1980.


Sing Me A Sad Song / Attempted Contact

7″ – Dolphin Records – DOS 35 – IRL – May 1969

A-side by Lindsay; B-side by Lindsay & O’Doherty.

Produced by Larry Mooney & Bill Somerville-Large.

Yellow River / Lonely But Free

7″ – Dolphin Records – DOS 56 – IRL – February 1970

The Long Road // Sing Me A Sad Song / Attempted Contact

7″ – Dolphin Records – DOS 71 – IRL – September 1970

How Do You Do? / Lonely But Free

7″ – Philips Records – 6156 003 – IRL – 1972

A-side is a Mouth & MacNeal cover.

B-side by Cahir O’Doherty & Brian Harris.

A-side produced by Bill O’Donovan at Trend Studios, Dublin.

B-side produced by Cahir O’Doherty.

Let It Shine / Keep Playing That Rock ‘n’ Roll

7″ – Philips Records – 6156 004 – IRL – September 1972