Maisie McDaniel 1940-2008
Born Mary Anne McDaniel, but better known as Maisie McDaniel, this singing legend was born in London but came back to live in Sligo at a very early age, and went on to become one of the earliest female superstars of the Irish entertainment industry.
At the height of her career, Maisie McDaniel was one of the most recognizable faces in Ireland, with regular guest appearances on Irish television and a string of hit records to her credit.
Maisie McDaniels began her career winning prizes at singing competitions around Ireland, becoming a celebrity after winning a major ballad competition in Swinford, County Mayo and turning professional under the watchful eye her manager George O'Reilly.
Maisie's earliest recordings were typical pop vocals on the Fontana record label, but it was her manager George O'Reilly who suggested Maisie move to country and western music and she never looked back, quickly becoming a major star, appearing on RTE's Jamboree programme and on Maureen Potter's radio programme.
In 1964, her manager George O'Reilly decided on another change in direction, and Maisie hit the Showband circuit, fronting the new Nevada Showband, who had up until then, only achieved moderate success with Brian O'Brien as their lead singer.
With Maisie now fronting the band, they were seen as one of the best lineups in the country within a matter of weeks. However, this new found success was to be short-lived after Maisie was seriously injured in a car accident, and she was off the road and hospitalised for several months. Missing her chance of representing Ireland in the Eurovision as a result.
After recuperating on her farm in Tullyhill, a few miles north of Sligo Town, Maisie took a break from show business and in May 1965 she married ace accordion player Fintan Stanley.
Fintan and Maisie went to England playing the cabaret scene there for a number of years, but were enticed back to Ireland in 1969 after being offered the chance to be part of a new Telefis Eireann show, Hoot-Nanny which was hosted by Shay Healy, who would later write Johnny Logan's 1980 Eurovision winning song What's Another Year.
The show was a huge success and as a result, Maisie and Fintan formed a five piece group called The Ramblers which lasted until 1970 when the band was renamed the Nashville Ramblers and became a six piece band, releasing Okie From Muskogee which featured both Maisie and the Cadets former front-man Gregory Donaghy, and went on to tour England and appear on the BBC's Country Meets Folk television programme and the Larry Cunningham show on RTE television.
However, in August 1970 Maisie left the band due to a threatened miscarriage, and in October it was announced officially that Maisie and Fintan were both leaving the showband circuit altogether, and were settling down to life in Sligo, playing the cabaret and lounge scene in the north-west of Ireland.
Maisie give birth in 1973 to her and Fintan's only child, Lisa Stanley who is now a well-known singer in her own right, though Maisie and Fintan were later to split up, with Fintan emigrating to the United States where he still lives today.
Maisie came out of retirement in 1985 and recorded an album of her former hits, though she deliberately remained "out of the limelight", performing only once in a while for special occasions, she remained a celebrity in and around Sligo.
Sadly Maisie McDaniel passed away at her home in Sligo on June 28th 2008, though her legacy as one of Ireland's premier female vocalists of the early 1960's lives on in her daughter Lisa Stanley who released a CD of Maisie's hits in 2009.
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