Mulvey’s House of Gifts, Carrick-on-Shannon at 3 p.m., country singer Philomena Begley will be signing copies of her autobiography Philomena Begley: My Life, My Music, My Memories.
Being the frontwoman of Country Flavour, the Ramblin’ Men, and Shotgun, and as a solo artist, Philomena Begley has been Ireland’s Queen of Country for a long time.
She ventured as a singer was with the popular Old Cross Céilí Band, with whom she sang as a dare, but stayed with the group. The group soon became known as the Old Cross Bandshow and released three records in Ireland in 1968 and 1969. However, none of them made an impression in the charts. In September 1970, the band changed its name to The Country Flavour. Begley’s first record following this became her first chart hit when “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” reached number seven on the Irish chart. In 1974 she formed the Ramblin’ Men, while the Country Flavour continued to tour with several other lead singers during the 1970s.
Begley toured with Ray Lynam from 1975 and they recorded many duets together, probably their most popular being “My Elusive Dreams”, which went on to be mentioned in The Pogues’ song, “A Pair of Brown Eyes”.
In 1975, Begley had a hit with her version of Billie Jo Spears’ hit song “Blanket on the Ground” which took her to number five in the Irish charts. Spears also released the song in the United Kingdom and in Ireland at the same time, but in Ireland. Begley’s version received the highest sales, as Spears’ version only went to number 11. By 1977, she was undertaking a major tour of the United States, and in 1978, she was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry by Porter Wagoner. Since then, she has returned annually to Nashville, been a guest of honor at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, and has sung at both the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall.
Her warm personality and down-to-earth approach, Philomena Begley revealed the highs and lows of her journey from the ceili halls of Tyrone to the bright lights of Nashville and beyond.
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