With hits like Pick Me up on Your Way Down, Roomful of Roses and Blackboard of My Heart, Maisie McDaniel became a household name during the Irish showband boom of the 1960s.
However, a promising showbiz career was cut short dramatically when she and her then husband, the well-known accordion playerFintan Stanley, were involved in a serious road accident which left her badly injured and led to her premature retirement from the music business. A highlight of her career was when she performed with legendary US singer Jim Reeves when he visited Ireland.
She was born Mary Anne McDaniel in Sligo. After winning a ballad competition in Mayo, she came to prominence in the early 1960s with a local band in Sligo called The Fendermen. She then teamed up with Fintan Stanley who was recognised as one of the top accordion players of his time.
Maisie McDaniel and Fintan Stanley were so successful that they came to the attention of the record companies and a shrewd promoter, George O’Reilly, suggested she sing country and western. She was to front the Nevada Showband and on St Stephens Night, 1964, the band made its debut at the Premier Ballroom in Thurles.
The new band was just getting off the ground when disaster struck. Masie was a passenger in a car driven by showbiz entrepreneur Oliver Barry when the accident happened in January 1965. She broke her hip and was hospitalised for several months. She also missed her chance to represent Ireland in Eurovision, her place being taken by Dickie Rock.
After her recovery, she decided to take a break from the showband scene. Her place was taken by the singer Kelley, who went on to have some success with the band which lasted for many years and was fronted by, among others, Red Hurley.
Maisie and Fintan Shanley married and they went to England playing the cabaret scene there for several years.
Returning to Ireland in 1969 she made regular TV appearances and she and her husband formed the Nashville Ramblers and became known for their recording of Okie from Muskogee. They toured England and appeared on the BBC.
But in August 1970, Maisie left the band because of a threatened miscarriage and her husband also quit.
She remained out of the limelight after her daughter Lisa was born in 1973, only performing in a local show in Sligo called Jamboree. Eventually Maisie and Fintan split up. He emigrated to America.
She died at her home in County Sligo on June 28, 2008, aged 62. Lisa Shanley, also a singer, released a CD of Maisie’s hits in 2009.