Listowel rocks for Jack and Jill Foundation

Hank Pope and His Black Magic Orchestra photographed back in the day on what is now the John B Keane Road in Listowel.
Hank Pope and His Black Magic Orchestra photographed back in the day on what is now the John B Keane Road in Listowel.

NOT since Led Zeppelin got back together in 2007 has a rock-and-roll reunion been as hotly anticipated as the return of 'legendary' north Kerry rockers Hank Pope and His Black Magic Orchestra!

Described as "Kerry's Answer to the Manic Street Preachers" by none other than influential Rathmore DJ Donal Dineen, the Hank Pope Orchestra enjoyed a cult following in the region for years and years up until their final show in 1992. It marked the end of a Halcyon era for the band so it's no surprise nostalgia is expected to flare like a bush fire across town when they take to the stage again on March 7 in The Mermaids.

Mature and settled now, they have at least a good excuse for returning to their young-man rock origins as the concert is all in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation; a vital charity working with families of children who have suffered brain damage.

To top it all they will reunite on a night that will see a number of other outstanding north Kerry acts rocking it out in the Mermaids, including Mudcat, Blacklist, Spiderbabys, Appo (from Kildare), The Filthy Filthy and young newcomers Save it for November.

"We haven't performed an official show since 1992, but, older, wiser and with slightly less hair we are reforming for the March 7 gig!" bassist Paul Morkan said. Paul is looking forward to jamming with former bandmates Declan Thorton (vocals), Ciarán O'Brien (guitar) and Tom Mulvihill (drums) provided they can get enough practice in first though.

"It should be a great night for a really worthy cause. It's been a long time since some of us played so we've a bit of practising to do. On opening my guitar case I found an AC/DC cassette, a half-eaten marathon bar and a book of green shield stamps so it's been a while!"

They are hoping the proceeds they ultimately donate to Jack and Jill will be rather more edifying than the contents of Paul's guitar case, so mark that diary and dust down those paisley shirts!

Tickets are €10 and available at Sheahan's Bar or Morkan's Jewellers.

A head shave is also going to take place with Paul among the many preparing to go under the snippers.


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