Eddie Masterson Remembered by James Reddiough
Eddie was born in Tubbercurry and was the first Irish songwriter to enter the British charts with the monologue A Tribute to Jim Reeves in December 1964. Larry Cunningham recorded the song and it was in the Top Ten here too during January 1965 – some fifty years ago. The story goes that Eddie wrote the song on the back of a cigarette packet but other sources say that he handed a couple of hand written sheets to Larry or one of the Mighty Avons in Carrickmacross after he had learned of the death of Reeves and put pen to paper.
In any event it introduced Eddie who was a solicitor to the world of showbiz and the major figures in the music business in the middle of the 1960’s. He went onto to hit the charts again in September/October 1977 with a tribute number to the late Great Elvis Presley when he composed Thank you, Elvis and it was recorded by Brendan Bowyer in August 1977. Brendan later recalled that he first met Eddie at a dance in Walsh’s the Central Ballroom in Charlestown in 1959 and years later they would enjoy Top Ten success with what was yet another monologue.
Eddie lived close to the scene of the action in Great Denmark Street in Barry’s Hotel from 1964 until his death in April 1982. The Square that is Parnell was a dancing mecca at the time and the major show bands appeared at the National and The Ierne and along with this in Barry’s after the dance they would go to the Belvedere and this is where Eddie used to meet them. Barry’s was also a meeting place for the GAA supporters from down the country and Eddie loved the world of sport as much as he loved the music world. He played for the Jimmy Magee All Stars and they raised millions for charity with their first game being held in Ballyjamesduff on the 6th June 1966.
His better known songs include Reflections of You that was entered in the Castlebar International Song Contest in September 1968, and won an award, for the category of easy listening. This was followed by It’s hard to Know and the Iron Man from Rhode, one of his tribute songs to well – known GAA stars, in this case the Offaly footballer Paddy McCormack and in 1975 he wrote a tribute to Micky Kearns The man from Dromard who was a member of the 1975 winning team of forty years ago.
It will be remembered that Sligo defeated Mayo after a replay in July 1975. Gene Stuart recorded When It’s Christmas Time Again in Connemara. Masterson wrote for the showbiz press too, he wrote a column for The Musical Gazette which was owned by Albert Reynolds and edited by Jimmy Molloy and he featured in The Spotlight and New Spotlight Magazines and there was extensive coverage of the song about Elvis in The Entertainment News during the 1970’s.
Eddie wrote a 300 word column for the Musical Gazette and in the column he would list the major promising acts for the years that he felt would do well in the coming year, he might list out five of the upcoming bands say for 1967, and he was never far from wrong in his predictions. Another contributor to the Gazette was Fr. Brian D’Arcy who because he was a clerical student wrote under his father’s name Hughie. Fr. Brian was a very good friend of Eddie. Eddie never wrote an autobiography but he appears in the life stories of others and he is remembered with fondness and humour because he loved to coin memorable phrases and to play the occasional practical joke from time to time. Albert Reynolds and Jimmy Magee knew him well, it was Jimmy who composed the final tribute to the man of tributes for his funeral in early April 1982, Eddie passed away on the 4th April 1982 aged 47 and is buried in Rhue Cemetery outside Tubbercurry.
Written by James Reddiough (Copyright 2015)