Tony Lambert, formerly the keyboard and accordion player with Galway rockers The Saw Doctors, has died in Thailand.
Lambert, who originally hailed from Wales, played on a number of the band’s best known songs including their signature hit ‘I Useta Love Her’. He moved to Thailand in the mid-1990s shortly after he won more than €850,000 in Ireland’s 1993 National Lottery. It is understood he has died following a heart condition.
Lead guitarist with the band Leo Moran played tribute to his former bandmate as “a truly magnificent man of music”.
Describing Lambert as “a virtuoso musician on many instruments”, Moran relayed the story of how the Welshman joined the band through a Facebook message posted by the band’s manager Ollie Jennings.
“The Saw Doctors went to Loco Studios near Newport in Wales with producer, Phil Tennant, to record ‘It Won’t Be Tonight’, ‘Sing A Powerful Song’ and ‘I Useta Lover’, one of which would be released as their follow-up single to ‘N17”.
“Phil felt the tracks, in particular ‘I Useta Lover’ needed an extra element, maybe an accordion. We got in touch with Gethin Scourfield and Geraint Jarman whom we’d met through their coming to Galway a few months previous to shoot a video for ‘N17’ for (TV channel) S4C. They highly recommended a local Welsh musician to us who could play both accordion and keyboards. Tony Lambert.
“Tony arrived and gave the tracks even more than we had imagined or hoped for. The song released was ‘I Useta Lover’, which became a success and Tony joined the band and moved with his dog, Squirm, to Ireland.
Before he won the Lotto, Lambert lived in a converted bus parked in an old farmyard in Claregalway in The Saw Doctors’ home county of Galway.
“He could play with great feel and hit so many right notes, as few or as many as were appropriate, and he also had the expertise to squeeze every classic electric and mechanical trick out of the Hammond organ and its accompanying twirling Leslie speaker,” Leo Moran wrote. “His presence added warm, deep and dynamic textures to the songs of The Saw Doctors.”
“In 1993 he won the Irish lotto and not long after moved to Thailand, never again having to wait for a late-arriving minibus to shake him on bad roads to some end of the country or other.”