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Granny's Intentions

From: Limerick

Active: 1965-71

Style: beat / psych / rock

Lineup The Intentions / Granny's Intentions: 1965-67 approx
Lineup: 1967-69 approx
Lineup: 1970-72 approx

The Intentions 1965-66

Granny's Intentions began life as an R&B group (name?) formed by schoolfriends in Limerick in 1965. They were led by Johnny Duhan (born 1950 or 1951). The Rolling Stones were a big early influence, as was the collection of blues records owned by one of the early bandmembers (Ger Tuohy?). The early lineup also included a singer/harmonica player who left after overhearing criticism of his performance at one of their first ever gigs. His replacement was Cha Haran of the Fifth Edition, who became co-lead vocalist. The band changed it's name to The Intentions and incorporated a soul and Motown influence beside the R&B, including covers of "Move On Up", "Dancing in the Streets", etc. in their set. The comings and goings of the early lineups are unclear as yet, but the band was a sextet in 1966 and the other members apart from Duhan and Haran were (probably) Joe Heelan AKA Rip (guitar, who'd replaced one Bobby Driscoll), Joe O'Donnell (lead guitar) and Jack Costelloe (bass), who'd left The End (with Don O'Connor, later in Reform) and Willie O'Connor) to join The Intentions, and Guido Di Vito (drums), who was considered a limited drummer by some.

above: The Intentions included in the lineup of DJ Peter Jackson's Beat Show at the City Theatre, Limerick, February 1966.

right: Opening week of the Cavalier Club, Limerick, July 1966

below: Supporting the Empire Showband at another City Theatre, Limerick on 11 March 1966

The Intentions played clubs in Limerick such as Orlandos (also supported The Ludlows at The Savoy in June 1966) and then further afield, beginning with the Go Go Club in Cork. It was also in a club in Dublin where they spotted keyboard player John Ryan, originally from Athlone, playing with The Circle. Cha Haran invited Ryan to play organ on a couple of songs the band was recording at Pete Selwood's basement studio in Dublin in the autumn of 1966. This was the first time Ryan met the band. joined the Intentions, filling out their sound. Heelan and Joe O'Donnell left, and John Hockedy became the sole guitarist in 1966. After another Dublin gig, they were approached by someone (name?) who worked in advertising and was looking to manage a band. They accepted his services as manager. He arranged a residency for the group in Germany, a move which required a deeper level of commitment from the group. So Duhan left home (aged 16), and the other members burned personal bridges to varying degrees in order to commit to this trip, so the disappointment was considerable when it all fell through, and they ended up living in their managers flat on Leeson St. They soon ditched him and relocated to Dun Laoghaire. One can only hope the demos recorded in this era have survived and will one day see the light of day.

Granny's Intentions 1966-67

Brian Tuite (ex Stellas) became their manager during 1966 and the band changed it's name to Granny's Intentions. Taking him on meant making a serious commitment to the band, including a move to the UK when the time was right, and sorting out what was perceived to be a drummer problem. Tuite arranged tours in England, Scotland and Germany. These tours must have helped the band develop their beat/psych sound. By 1967 the time was ripe to relocate to London.

Once in London, the band played all the well known clubs of the era, including the Speakeasy, Pink Flamingo and Marquee Club. The upheavels of this period inevitably led to interpersonal wrangling which finally ousted DiVito from the drum seat, something Duhan later regretted in his autobiography. He characterises it as killing the spirit of the group and marking the beginning of the end, though drugs and the general lifestyle of swinging sixies London also played a role (John Ryan was also reputedly unhappy with the doper element in the band). DiVito's replacement was Dubliner Greg Donaghy. At an outdoor gig at Glastonbury, they came to the attention of Deram A&R and signed a deal with the label in 1967. They subsequently moved into the Madison Hotel, a musician hangout in London at tha time.

The Deram Singles 1967-68

The Grannys would record four singles and one LP for Deram Records. The first three singles were released between November 1967 and October 1968 and contain all non-LP material. Deram assigned staff producer Tony Clarke to look after them for the first of these. Clarke had made his name producing the Moody Blues. Under pressure to come up with some originals for the recording sessions, Duhan, Ryan and Hockedy wrote "The Story of David", a remarkable song by any standards. Released in November 1967, it is easily their best single, a distinctive beat/psych track with an inventive arrangement and melody and undoubtedly packed with commercial potential. The B-side "Sandy's On The Phone Again", a Ryan composition for the most part, was another strong track. This single should have been a hit, but like so many singles on Deram at that time, it wasn't promoted properly and it failed to chart.

Recording for Deram brought Cha Haran's role in the band into focus. Ryan and Tuite felt there was no real place for him anymore, and his contribution had diminished to providing backing vocals only. Not being chosen to sing either side of their debut single spoke volumes. With Duhan doing all the main vocals and Haran missing his family back home, he decided to leave and returned to Limerick. He later joined the army.

Granny's Intentions returned to Ireland in December 1967, appearing on the Late Late Show and making the front cover of the RTE Guide (send us a scan if you have a copy of this!--ed). They did a 2 week tour of Germany in early 1968 before returning to the studio in London for sessions for their second single. After the flop of the debut, they were assigned a new producer Wayne Bickerton, who suggested one of his own songs. The band didn't like "Julie Don't Love Me Anymore" but they didn't put up much of a fight and recorded it anyway. They didn't like the results but Deram released it, in April 1968, with Ryan's "One Time Lovers" on the B-side. It flopped too.

Duhan and Hockedy shared a bedsit in London where Hockedy began to teach Duhan the basics of guitar playing. During 1968 a folk influence began to appear in the band's new material. Bob Dylan and Tim Hardin covers were added to their live set. In March 1968, they played a big show in Dublin, and in August they appeared on RTE TV's Twenty Minutes With... show, performing covers of The Who, Frank Zappa and Tomorrow. They appeared on RTE's Like Now on 28th September 1968. Alas, neither show exists in the RTE archive and is presumed lost.

In October 1968, the third single was released, with the whimsical toytown popsike of "Hilda the Builder", another Wayne Bickerton song, on the B-side and "Never An Everyday Thing" on the A-side. This was a horn-fueled, orchestrated pop ballad arranged by Johnny Harris, not unlike Love Affair or the Marmalade, and was clearly an unabashed bid for pop success, forced on the rest of the band by Duhan - and it worked! Though it wasn't successful in the UK (where another artist released a version of it at the same time -- anyone know the details? -- thus reducing potential airplay), it was a big hit in Ireland, reaching #7 in the charts. This prompted manager Brian Tuite to book the band for a tour of the ballroom circuit in Ireland. A beat group playing the domain of the showbands was an unprecedented move at the time, and it proved to be a great success. This success in turn would prove to be very influential in Ireland. Beat group/showband amalgams (Frankensteins?) like the Dreams and the Real McCoy soon emerged, breaking the showband stanglehold on the ballroom circuit. The band made made the cover of the RTE Guide (again?).

To capitalise on this success further, Royal Showband manager Connie Lynch suggested adding a horn section and turning Granny's Intentions into an octet, but the band was not enthusiastic. Brian Tuite tried to entice Duhan and Donaghy away from the Grannys into a new (super)group he was assembling called Blue, with two members of the Orange Machine.

The Granny's Intentions lineup that started recording the Honest Injun LP in 1969.
LR: John Ryan, Johnny Duhan (front), Pete Cummins, Noel Bridgeman, John Hockedy

Honest Injun 1969

Meanwhile, the band entered 1969 with plans to record an LP for Decca in March and hopes of a US tour, but the lineup had splintered by May. Greg Donaghy took up the offer to join Blue, would prove to be short-lived, and Jack Costelloe left around the same time, leaving the Grannys as the core trio of Duhan, Ryan and Hockedy. The band had returned to Dublin by this point. Duhan was living back in a flat in Ballsbridge which he shared on occasion with Phil Lynott and Gary Moore. The band had played the Spotlight Winners Poll concert in Dublin in March, but I'm unsure of the lineup for that gig.

Though they'd returned to Dublin and their recent UK tour had been poorly attended, they were still hoping to record an LP. Deram were happy to commit to it on the strength of Duhan's latest demos.

By the time of the sessions for the LP in mid-1969, a country rock influence had crept into the band material thanks to The Byrds seminal "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" album. Dublin band Dr.Strangely Strange and the Incredible String Band had also made an impression.
During the LP sessions the core trio was helped out by various musicians including Pete Cummins (ex Grassband, The Circle) on bass & flute and Noel Bridgeman (ex Skid Row) on drums. Bridgeman returned to Skid Row after 3 tracks had been recorded though he appears in many promo photos taken in 1969. His replacement was Pat Nash (ex Uptown Band). Skid Row guitarist Gary Moore guested on three tracks. Cummins and Nash both joined the Grannys permanently.

The debut LP was released in March 1970, titled "Honest Injun". The front cover consists of a photo of the group superimposed over what was supposed to be a rough sketch of an idea for the cover artwork, submitted by John Ryan to the Deram art department. He was appalled when he discovered they'd used his sketch 'as is'. The LP itself is in a more progressive vein than the singles and is often (inaccurately) compared to Jethro Tull. It was considered a slight disappointment at the time of its release but someone at Deram must have liked it because the label was interested in a followup. Duhan had argued with the producer during the LP recording sessions and was subsequently banned from the control room. He believes his voice sounds thin and unnatural on the album.

Granny's New Intentions onstage in 1970, LR: Pete Cummins, Johnny Duhan, Ed Deane

Granny's New Intentions 1970

The band ended their relationship with manager Brian Tuite after the LP release and with the promise of a second album from Deram based themselves in the UK again. A new song "Take Me Back", penned by John Ryan, was released on the A-side of the band's last single, released in April 1970. John Hockedy left shortly after (ca June 1970) to study classical guitar and was replaced by slide guitarist Ed Deane. In June 1970 they signed a new management deal with John Gee of Marquee Artists' Management in London, associated with the Marquee Club, where they subsequenly played frequently over the following months, including a successful Thursday residency during the month of August (on the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th). The same month they also also appeared at the 10th National Jazz and Blues Festival at Plumpton Racecourse, and Gee also arranged a two week residency at the Boom Boom Club in Frankfurt. During this period they were usually billed as Granny's New Intentions, though they were still Granny's Intentions for a short Irish tour in July 1970.

1970 Plumpton Festival featuring Granny's 'New' Intentions on Sat August 8.

With the offer of a second LP for Deram still on the table, the Grannys regrouped in a cottage in Killala Bay in Co.Mayo to work on new material but the spirit wasn't there anymore. Duhan's sombre and abstinent leanings and his interest in an acoustic, non-rock music were at odds with the drugs/party lifestyle of the rest of the band. The band in return didn't like Duhan new songs much, complaining that they were too folky, too acoustic and "lacked a groove". Duhan didn't like their arrangements of his new songs either. He also refused to do any more covers. When his new songs were rejected by the rest of the band, Duhan decided it was time to leave the group. The Grannys soldiered on without him for a while before splitting in early 1972.

Other Projects & Reformations

Johnny Duhan seemed to disappear for the rest of the decade but he has sustained a solo career since 1980. See his entry for more details. Jack Costelloe and Guido Di Vito formed Jeremiah Henry with Johnny Fean pre Horslips. Both may also have been involved in the recording of the Irish Baha'is LP. John Ryan and Pete Cummins later played with Donovan (1972) and were later in The Fake (1976) with Freddie White. Cummins also managed Tony Koklin (1980-) and in 1985 joined the Fleadh Cowboys. He also worked with the Chieftains among others. Greg Donaghy was later in Blue and The Gentry. Pat Nash and Ed Deane played with the Woods Band and subsequently in Gay & Terry Woods backing band.

The first reunion gig on 28 August 1983 at the Markets Field, Limerick
as part of a fund raising concent for a local charities. The full bill was:
Village (Limerick), Blaze, The Outfit, Brush Shiels, Johnny Fean, The Rake N'Ramblers, Granny's Intentions.

Granny's Intentions reformed for a series of reunion gigs in 1983, beginning on August 28 with an open air event at Limerick's Markets Field which drew a crowd of 4000, followed by a date at the Glentworth Hotel on November 4th and Dublin's TV Club on November 11th. The lineup included Johnny Duhan (vocals), Cha Haran (vocals), John Ryan (keyboards), Johnny Hockedy (guitar), Jack Costelloe (bass), Guido Di Vito (drums) and Greg Donaghy (drums). They played an all originals set. They reformed again in December 1990 for a one-off gig at The Speakeasy, where John Hockedy performed regularly with different guests.

"Honest Injun" was finally reissued on CD in 2004 by Lemon Records (now OOP) but the 1967-68 singles were not included. If ever a band was crying out for a deluxe reissue package, this is it.

In 2014, Paddy Brennan of the Limerick Rock & Roll Club completed a documentary about the band called 'The Story of David'. This hour long documentary features interviews with all the main participants in the story (except John Ryan, alas). It was made released together with a singles CD and a live DVD (of recent vintage) in a 3-disc pack which was available direct from Paddy but which is now sold out.


65   Form as ?? / The Intentions in Limerick
65 Dec 20 Mon   Pop Show '65, City Theatre Limerick, as The Intentions
66 Feb 27 Sun   Peter Jackson's Beat Show, City Theatre Limerick, as The Intentions
66 Mar 11 Fri   City Theatre Limerick, supporting The Empire Showband
66 Jun   Savoy Theatre Limerick, supporting The Ludlows, as The Intentions
66 Jul 17 Sun   Cavalier Club Limerick, as The Intentions
66 Dec 19 Mon   Pop Show '66, City Theatre Limerick, as The Intentions
67   Glastonbury outdoor gig, scouted by Deram
67 Sep 17   Pink Flamingo Club
67 Sep 23   Uppercut Club
67 Nov 10   debut 45 released
67 Nov 12   Saville Theatre. with The Nice, David McWilliams, The Span, Ten Years After.
Invited onto the bill by Brian Epstein.
67 Dec 23   Jetland Ballroom, Limerick, supported by The Agents.
68 Jan 19   Town Hall, Lewes, E.Sussex, supporting Pink Floyd (2 shows)
68 Jan 22 Mon   Marquee Club supporting The Nice
68 early   2 week German tour
68 Mar 07 Thu   Marquee Club with Nite People
68 Mar 16 Sat   Jetland Ballroom, Limerick, supported by The Casino.
68 Mar 28 Thu   Marquee Club with Skip Bifferty
68 Mar   Headlining gig in Dublin
68 Apr 05   2nd 45 released
68 Apr 07 Sun   Marquee Club with Blue Rivers & his Maroons
68 Apr 18 Thu   Marquee Club with Marmalade
68 May 09 Thu   Marquee Club with The Gods
68 May 16 Thu   Marquee Club with Joe Cocker (Cocker's first Marquee appearance)
68 May 23 Thu   Marquee Club with Marmalade
68 Jun 03 Mon   Jetland Ballroom, Limerick, supported by The Ascot, The Reforms.
68 Jun 11 Tue   Marquee Club with Family
68 Jul 01 Mon   Marquee Club with Nite People
68 Jul 24 Wed   Marquee Club with Joe Cocker
68 Jul 30 Tue   Marquee Club with The Herd
68 Aug   RTE TV Special, Twenty Minutes With..
68 Sep 07 Sat   Jetland Ballroom, Limerick, special guest appearance with The Cadets.
68 Sep 26 Thu   Marquee Club with Joe Cocker
68 Sep 28   RTE TV, Like Now
68 Oct 11   3rd 45 released
69 Mar   Spotlight Winners Poll gig, Dublin
69 Mar 22 Sat   The Big 'C', Limerick
69 Apr 07 Mon   Jetland Ballroom, Limerick
69 Nov 08 Sat   Like Now, RTE TV
69 Nov 22 Sat   Tabu Club, Limerick
70 Mar   debut LP released
70 Apr 24   4th 45 released
70 May   New management deal signed with John Gee of Marquee Artists' Management
70 May 15 Fri   Marquee Club, as Granny's New Intentions, with The Spirit of John Morgan
70 May 22 Fri   Marquee Club, as Granny's New Intentions, with Affinity
70 JUn 24 Wed   Lyceum Theatre London, with Juicy Lucy, Fat Mattress, Steamhammer, and Granny's New Intentions
70 Jun 25 Thu   Marquee Club, as Granny's New Intentions, with Groundhogs
70 Jul 11 Sat   Franciscan Hall, Limerick (mini Irish tour)
70 Jul 17 Fri   New Hall, Ennis (mini Irish tour)
70 Jul 22 Wed   Marquee Club, as Granny's New Intentions, with support Rat
70 Aug 06 Thu   Marquee Club, as Granny's New Intentions, with Armada
70 Aug 08   The 10th National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival at Plumpton Race Course (6th-9th August 1970).
Line-up for the Saturday: Cat Stevens, Fotheringay, Strawbs, Magna Carta, Granny's “New” Intentions, Peter Green, Keef Hartley, Taste, Black Sabbath, Jackson Heights, Hardin York, LA (Love Affair), East Of Eden.
70 Aug 10   Barnet Resurrection Club. Granny's New Intentions
70 Aug 13 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions
70 Aug 20 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions, with Armada
70 Aug 27 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions, with Trevor Billmuss
70 Sep 03 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions, with The Interns
70 Sep 10 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions, with Armada
70 Sep 17 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions, with Armada
70 Sep 24 Thu   Marquee Club as Granny's New Intentions
72   The band splits
83 Aug 28   Markets Field, Limerick open air charity gig
83 Nov 04 Fri   Glentworth Hotel, Limerick
83 Nov 11 Fri   TV Club, Dublin


• The Story Of David / Sandy's On The Phone Again
7" - Deram Records - DM 158 - UK & Ireland - 10 November 1967 - no PS
7" - Deram Records - ME 366 - Spain - 1967 - PS
both tracks non-LP

• Julie Don't Love Me Anymore / One Time Lovers
7" - Deram Records - DM 184 - UK & Ireland - 5 April 1968 - no PS
both tracks non-LP

• Never An Everyday Thing / Hilda The Bilda
7" - Deram Records - DM 214 - UK & Ireland - 11 October 1968 - no PS
7" - Deram Records - 85037 - USA - 1969 - no PS
both tracks non-LP
spent 4 weeks in the Irish charts in November 1968, peaking at #6

• Honest Injun
LP - Deram Records - DML 1060 - UK - March 1970 - mono
LP - Deram Records - SML 1060 - UK - March 1970 - stereo
CD - Lemon Records - CD LEM 39 - UK - 2004

• Take Me Back / Maybe
7" - Deram Records - DM 293 - UK - 24 April 1970 - no PS
7" - Deram Records - DM 293 - Sweden - 1970 - PS
7" - Deram Records - 6101 001 - Holland - 1970 - PS
non-LP A-side

• The Story Of David
2xDVD + CD - Rock n Roll Records - IRL - 2014 - limited edition of 100 copies

Notes: This 3-disc set was compiled by Paddy Brennan. It consists of a documentary DVD, a live DVD and a compilation CD. The latter includes one previously unreleased track: a demo of "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever", recorded in London in the late 60s.

See also: Blue, The Circle, Johnny Duhan, The Gentry, Jeremiah Henry, Joe O'Donnell, Woods Band

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.

Last update: 9 September 2010.

thanks to TP McLoughlin

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