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April 13, 2012 / rockroots

Con Brio – New York To Heaven And Beyond


It’s very difficult to find out anything about this record beyond what’s written on the sleeve notes. These tell us that Con Brio was a duo of Gerald Downey (organ/synthesizer) and Gavin Bailie (drums), and that the album was recorded in Belfast in January 1985 and released on the Fad label. The song choices (all covers) veer from ’50s pop to ’80s pop to hymns and film theme tunes. The musical arrangements are sparse due to the limitations of having just two musicians and are occasionally quite good but there’s an inescapable wedding band/supper club feel overall. Downey was “Ulster’s youngest organist entertainer” in his early teens. Bailie, it seems, was involved in the strong Northern Ireland pipe & drum band tradition from an early age, and is noted as having become the youngest fully qualified drumming instructor in the world by the age of 15. During the 1990s he would earn a reputation as an innovative drum sergeant in pipe bands based around Monkstown, Co Antrim. The radio broadcast below reveals that Bailie also led his own ‘Concert Drum Corp’ in the mid-’90s which combined elements of tightly-synchronised traditional drumming with modern synth accompaniment, similar to Con Brio but to much greater effect. The subsequent careers and current whereabouts of Downey and Bailie are unknown to me, but anyone who can shed more light can leave a comment.


The Gavin Bailie Concert Drum Corp live in 1996, plus interview with Gavin Bailie.


Con Brio – New York To Heaven And Beyond (192 kbps):

  1. 2001 – A Space Odyssey / Star Wars
  2. Chariots Of Fire / Every Breath You Take / I Just Called To Say I Love You
  3. Blue Moon
  4. New York, New York / Slow Boat To China
  5. Stuck On You / Hello
  6. Sound Of Silence / Moon River
  7. How Great Thou Art
  8. Norwegian Wood
  9. Lady Madonna



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