Sep 24, 2015

440/917 The Duskeys: Here today, gone tomorrow (Ireland 1982)

I have a difficult attitude to groups with three female singers and one male singer. Boney M. is maybe the only group that has used this formula successfully (although only half of the group actually sang on their records), but on other occasions I find this combination uneasy to follow. The Irish Eurovision representant of 1982 is a good example of a group that has a peculiar chemistry which all but ruins a plausible song in my opinion.

The Duskey sisters (consisting of two sisters Barbara Ellis and Sandy Kelly and their cousin Nina Duskey) had already participated in the Irish Eurovision selection one year earlier with a bouncy song Where does that love come from, and finished third in the results. Unfortunately the song that got the group finally to the Eurovision stage is much weaker.

Whereas the 1981 song is a charmingly old fashioned pop pearl with the threesome trading vocal lines and performing the song enthousiastically and inspiredly on stage, the 1982 song is very formulaic pseudo modern ditty with obvious lyrics and melody that stays the same after the first third is up. What makes the song interesting is a challenging orchestral arrangement which really gave the orchestra run for their money and the opportunity to spice up the otherwise rather tasteless soup. This wonderful orchestral backing is completely absent from a dull recorded version of the song.

To make the song more appealing the three Duskeys were joined by their Welsh cousin Danny Duskey, but this did very little to make the performance more interesting. Quite the contrary to me. The foursome sang together throughout the song without anyone (least of all poor Danny) having any moment to shine. Because the choreography of the four Duskey cousins was exactly the same and his voice was buried under the female voices, one wonders what the male member was doing in the group. Just like in the Belgian entry from five years prior, Danny seemed to be the silent boy who had been bossed around by the three female cousins to join them on stage to do exactly the same as they were doing. Well, that's the connotation I get from this song anyway.

Despite the mediocre result in the final results (11 among 18 participants) the group continued to be popular in their native Ireland. After a car accident the group broke up and the members continued their careers separately. Sandy Kelly found success in the country branch culminating with a recording done together with Johnny Cash. Danny Duskey would have his time to shine, when he participated in the Song for Europe contest in 1986 as a member of a group Palace. That song is also, in my opinion, better than the one he got to sing with his bossy cousins in Harrogate.

My points 2/5.

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