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The Cotton Mill Boys (1968-1985)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

Not many bands in Ireland had the consistent staying power of the Cotton Mill Boys. Formed in 1968, the Cottons were a part of the new breed of band, a country outfit in the purist sense. Along with the likes of The Smokey Mountain Ramblers, Hoot'nannys, Virginians, Hillbillies, and others, the Cottons were part of a new trend which hit the scene in the late sixties - bands that played country music, pure and simple. The Cottons played it very well, if their long career is anything to judge them by.

It was the late sixties when Gerry Madigan and Brian Dowling formed a duo to play the Dublin club scene. With Brian on guitar and Gerry on five string banjo (and guitar) they played bluegrass music with close harmonies such as tunes from the famous Carter family (daughter June would marry Johnny Cash). "We used to sing a song called Cotton Mill Girls," says Gerry, "one evening on the way into the 95 Club in Harcourt Street, Mick Moloney and Paul Brady (who were later to be in The Johnstons folk group) said, “here come the Cotton Mill Boys” and the name stuck!"

In 1968, the band grew to a four piece adding Mick McManus (later to be known as the dancing fiddler) and Sean McAviney on washboard. Still playing a bluegrass set, the band was featured on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne. Eamonn Andrews then selected the band as the first headline act in the Riverboat Room in his new Dolphin Inn Hotel, further consolidating the band's reputation as a top cabaret act. However, the move started to put a strain on the band members as they all held full time day jobs. In October, 1968, they joined the nationwide tour of The Johnny McEvoy Show, along with The Real McCoy, Maxi, Dick and Twink, and the McTaggarts. It was at this time that the boys met the late Brian Molloy, who had been managing bands for the Tom Costelloe organization. He saw their potential as a touring act and convinced them to expand their lineup and turn professional.

In June, 1969, Gerry and the boys were ready to hit the road full time as a fully fledge showband. They expanded their lineup to a seven piece, went electric and played their first gig in the Crystal Ballroom in Dublin on the 20th of June (other reports say it was the 13th of May). The new lineup included Tommy Kinsella (bass), Joe Giltrap (guitar), Paul Kenny (RIP-drums...Paul had left the Smokey Mountain Ramblers), Brian Harris (ex Creatures-guitar), Mick McManus (fiddle), Paul Duffy (keyboards), and Gerry on guitar, banjo and vocals. This lineup lasted only about a month though as the band realized they needed to be more commercial for the dancing scene.

They added Frank "Monty" Montgomery on vocals and guitar and in October, 1969 they added lead singer Mike Scott (who had been singing in cabaret in England would later front the Hoot'nanny's) and after a couple of other changes, the new "original" lineup (photo above) was left to right: Tommy Kinsella (bass), Frank "Monty" Montgomery (guitar), Gerry Madigan (banjo/gtr.), Mike Scott (vocals), Buddy Boland (lead guitar), Paul Kenny (RIP-drums) and seated in front, Mick Manus (fiddle). Although this would form the basis of the band for the next four years, there was one more change during that first year: Tony Hughes replaced Frank on rhythm guitar and vocals and the lineup was finalized. Tony had been with The Lions Showband which he joined in May, 1969. The Lions split six months after the death of founder Danny Pearse, who was briefly replaced by Gene Chetty of the Gents.

With heavy influences from bluegrass, the band was like nothing else on the Irish scene. They were an immediate hit with dancers. Before 1969 was finished, they had released their first single, "Joey Maroney" written and sung by Gerry Madigan and appeared on the Late Late Show again in October.

With Gerry on banjo and Mick dancing across the stage with his fiddle, the band could take their music to places Irish punters had never heard before, getting the place up and "jiving" in minutes. Mike Scott and Tony Hughes both had great singing voices that allowed the band to cover a wide range of musical styles across the spectrum of country music.

In August, 1970, the band released it's first album which included tracks like Silver Haired Daddy, Fire on the Mountain and Jesse James. The album featured the talents on 4 of the bands members and helped showcase their versatility.

In December, 1971, a blurb in Spotlight announced that Martin McGregor had joined the band from Tracy and the Grassroots to stand in for drummer Paul Kenny who collapsed on stage. The article said Paul was "recovering from stomach trouble."  Sadly, he did not recover and Paul passed away after only six months on the road. Shocked and saddened by his passing, the band had brought Martin into the band full time.

In the early 70's the band went from strength to strength under the watchful eye of manager, Brian Molloy (RIP) who also owned Hawk Records, the band's label. In August, 1972, the band had their own show as part of Ulster Television's "Their Kind of Music" series. Tracey of the Grassroots was their guest on the night. The same month, an article in Spotlight announced that the band had split in half with Tom Kinsella, Fran Boland and Martin McGregor leaving to form their own band with Fran Ryan of the Hoot'nanny's which would become Buckshot. Into the band came Philip Duffy on guitar and fiddle.  

The next major change for the band occurred in 1973. Mike Scott left the band to join the Hoot'nanny's, an outfit that looked and sounded remarkably like the Cottons. To counter the loss of Mike, the Cottons brought in Des Wilson, who had previously been with Tracy and the Grassroots. A keyboard player with a strong country voice, Des brought a new dimension to the band and they continued to maintain their popularity as one of the country's top country outfits. At around the same time,  founder Gerry Madigan also left the band for a time when he got married (coincidentally to the same Tracy of Grassroots fame) and he was replaced by Ted Reid on steel guitar. There were also two other major changes in that Buddy Boland left and was replaced by Phillip Duffy on guitar and Tommy Kinsella said goodbye to be replaced by Don Sherry, husband of singer Gloria. Martin McGregor also left, and was replaced by Gene Berrill on drums. Tommy, Buddy and Martin subsequently formed their own band called ‘Buckshot’, with leader singer Bill Ryan.

By the mid 70's, the Cottons were enjoying success both in Ireland and on the lucrative dancing scene in the UK where they regularly packed in record crowds. Gerry Madigan reports that they hold the record for the recently closed Galtymore Ballroom in Cricklewood when they packed in over 6500 dancers into the three ballroom complex. They also played Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre, the Ulster Hall in Belfast, National Stadium Dublin and King’s Hall in England.

The band underwent another major change in 1975 when Mick McManus left the band and he was replaced by Charlie Arkins, an accomplished fiddler whose signature rendition of the Orange Blossom Special would become one of the band's most recognizable numbers for the next few years.

In 1976, Gerry returned to the band's lineup and little did anyone know that the ensuing few years would be the most successful in the band's history. It started when Gerry convinced the band to audition for England's top entertainment show at the time, Hughie Green's "Opportunity Knocks." In the summer of 1976, the band auditioned in the Country Club in Portmarnock and wowed the show's producers with their three number set, which, of course, included the Orange Blossom Special. They were instantly booked for the show and ended up making three appearances on the top UK TV show. The success gave them a new lease on life both in Ireland, but more importantly, across the UK.

They played across England in clubs and concert venues, and became a top act on the United States Air Force bases throughout England and Europe.  They appeared on the International Wembley Country Music Festival at the Wembley Arena in England and then on to the Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas, plus a one-week showcase gig at the famous Halsey Ranch in Oklahoma, which invites every major booking agent in America to view the Jim Halsey stable of artistes. The Cotton Mill Boys’ spot on the International Country Music Festival was used by BBC TV to promote the subsequent TV spectacular.

Although the band had been releasing singles on a regular basis (see discography below), 1976 was to be their "break through" year as they made history by being the ‘only’ Irish band to hold the #1 and #2 positions at the same time in the Irish charts. Their record, ‘The Wedding Song’ was at #1, and another single, ‘Raining In My Heart’/’Orange Blossom Special’ was placed at the #2 spot. The following summer they were invited to top the bill at the Peterborough International Country Music Festival and were invited back the following year.

1978 saw the band continue its success, but it was to also to be a tumultuous year. On May 30th they appeared on the famous Benny Hill Show playing the Orange Blossom Special. Also in 1978, RTE gave the band their own six part television series which allowed them to show the full spectrum of their musical styles which had been enhanced with the addition of Francie Lenehan on guitar. Francie had previously played with Frankie Carroll's Ranchers among others. Some of their special guests on their show included Paul Brady and Marianne Faithful. The show also produced a live album which sold well in Ireland.

However, after the success of having their own television series on RTE, the band lost three members: Francie Lenehan, Gene Berrill (drums), Bobby McGawley (bass) left. The new lineup included John McGrenra (bass), John Mc Manus of Dublin on drums (originally with Carol & New Blues), Brendan O Keefe of Dublin on guitar, and Brendan O'Brien of Dublin (brother of Irish rocker Deke O'Brien) on keyboards, along with Charlie, Tony, and Gerry. But at almost the same time Gerry Madigan left the band to form a new blue grass cabaret outfit called Mash with George Kaye, former fiddle star of both the Smokey Mountain Ramblers and Rocky Tops. Although a great lineup, the band was short lived and Gerry would return to the Cotton's lineup a year or two later. The Cottons, in the meantime, carried on, buoyed by the success of their TV series.

They released a best selling album from the series and another, The Best Of The Cotton Mill Boys on the K-Tel label. 1978 would also be the end of the band's chart success as their single, Heaven's Just A Sin Away, became their last chart record, topping out at number 12 in the Irish charts. In early  1979 they released the single, You Are No Angel, which featured newcomer female vocalist Kim Newport, who had also been recently signed to Hawk Records. Although the record did not chart for the Cottons, it was re-recorded by pop artist Shaun O'Dowd in 1981 and charted at number 13.     

Gerry rejoined the band and they continued to do the usual Irish circuit, as well as a lot of concert shows in the U.K. including Country Clubs and Festivals. They went to Belgium to play at the world famous SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters of Allied Personnel in Europe) where they packed the clubs and got rave reviews. They spent six weeks touring the whole of the UK from Inverness in North Scotland all the way down to the Isle of Whyte in the south. They also played all the American Air Bases in the UK which would consist of three 45 minute shows with 20 minute breaks in between. The band was handled in the UK by Lou Rodgers father of the 70's singing star Clodagh Rodgers. On most trips they would appear on local TV evening magazine shows as a promo to the local appearances.    

In 1980, Gerry once more left the band, this time to manage a local group named Bagatelle. Under his guidance he produced their recording of Trump Card and secured a major deal for them with Polygram. He subsequently got them booked on the final night of the Late Late Show, where they sang their original song, Summer in Dublin. Unfortunately, as Gerry was going through a divorce with his first wife, he suspended his management of Bagatelle, but the band's appearance on The Late Late launched the band into the stratosphere of the Irish entertainment industry as Summer In Dublin became one of the biggest Irish singles ever and the band broke records across Ireland. Subsequently, Oliver Barry took over the management of the band and the rest is history.

The early eighties was a tight time for every band in Ireland, as discos and clubs were on the rise and the ballrooms of old could no longer compete with the amenities provided by the hotels and clubs. With a versatile line-up, and Gerry back in the lineup, the Cottons were able to capitalize on the cabaret/club circuit in the UK, and also on the concert circuit. However, they decided to add some extra glamour and sex appeal to the band by recruiting a cabaret singer from Dublin, Collette O'Hanlon, who used the stage name, Sharon King. At the tender age of just 20 years old, she had been playing the Dublin Cabaret circuit her addition to the band added a new dimension to the band’s overall appeal and their ability to perform numbers that had previously been out of their scope.

With Sharon out front, the band had a new and vibrant image. They added numbers from artists like Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, broadening the band's appeal. They continued to play the US Airforce bases where they were a top draw and they shared the bill with the The Bellamy Brothers at a Country Music Festival in Cork.  

However, by 1985, even the Cottons had to face the reality that had already claimed many of their contemporaries, the era of the ballrooms was over and they decided to call it quits. After sixteen years, one of Ireland's most dynamic country acts went the way of all but a handful of bands and were no more.

Sharon formed her own rock band called Xerxes. The drummer from the Cottons joined her, and Gerry Madigan managed the band. Charlie Arkins has his own recording studio, plays on plenty of TV and recording sessions, and still tours constantly; Gerry Madigan is now a best-selling author and lives in Canada, where he is married with six children and six grand-children (soon to be eight!); John McGrenra lives in Donegal; Tony Hughes is working in Dublin and still plays the occasional cabaret gig; Des Wilson sadly passed away in the nineties; Mike Scott also works in Dublin and does occasional gigs.

During their history, the Cottons recorded a total of 15 top selling albums and about 25 singles and played in every corner of Ireland, the UK, and most of Europe. During their peak years in the mid seventies, they were perhaps the biggest country band in Ireland and definitely one of the first to play true country music (vs. the "Country and Irish" sound used by so many Irish bands). And although their line-up changed regularly, they somehow were able to maintain their unique sound and provide their own special brand of entertainment.    

Our special thanks to Gerry Madigan, founder of the Cottons, and John McGrenra (bass player from 1979-1984) for their assistance in writing this history of the band.

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Cotton Mill Boys - 1969 Cotton Mill Boys - 1969 Cotton Mill Boys - 1969 Cotton Mill Boys - 1969 Cottons - 1969
Cotton Mill Boys Cotton Mill Boys Cotton Mill Boys Cottons - 1970 Cotton Mill Boys
Article 1970 Cottons - 1970 Cottons - 1970 Cotton Mill Boys - 1970 Cottons - 1970
Cottons - 1970 Cottons - 1970 Cottons - 1970 Cottons - 1970 Cottons - 1970
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cotton Mills Boys - '71
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cotton Mill Boys - 1973 Cotton Mill Boys - 1973 Cotton Mill Boys - 1975

Gerry & Charlie - 1974 Cotton Mil Boys - 1976 Cotton Mill Boys - TV Series Photo 1978 Cotton Mill Boys - 1978 Cotton Mill Boys - 1979
Mash - 1979 (PH) Cotton Mill Boys-1979 Cotton Mill Boys-1979 Cotton Mill Boys - 1979 Cottons-early 80's (JM)
Cottons Advert Cotton Mill Boys - 1983 Sharon King - 1984 Cottons - 1984 Cottons - 1984
Cottons - 1984 Cottons - 1972 (KM) Cottons - 1976 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972
Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972
Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972
Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1971
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1973
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971
Cottons - 1974 Cottons - 1973 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1976
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1972 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1972
Cottons - 1971 Cottons - 1974 Cottons - 1972 Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF)
Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF)
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Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys-'78 (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF)
Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF)
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Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Cotton Mill Boys (RF)
       
Cotton Mill Boys (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Record Sleeves
A - Cotton Mill Boys B - Cotton Mill Boys A - Cotton Mill Boys B - Cotton Mill Boys Final LP Cover

Lineup Changes
 

Year Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Gtr/Keyboards Banjo/Steel Fiddle
1968
 
  Brian
Dowling
      Gerry
Madigan
 
1968
 
  Brian
Dowling
  Sean
McAviney
  Gerry
Madigan
Mick
McManus
June
1969
Joe
Giltrap
Brian
Harris
Tommy
Kinsella
Paul
Kenny
Paul
Duffy
Gerry
Madigan
Mick
McManus
July
1969
Mike
Scott
Frank
Montgomery
Tommy
Kinsella
Paul
Kenny
Buddy
Boland
Gerry
Madigan
Mick
McManus
Nov
1969
Mike
Scott
Tony
Hughes
Tommy
Kinsella
Paul
Kenny
Buddy
Boland
Gerry
Madigan
Mick
McManus
Nov
1971
Mike
Scott
Tony
Hughes
Tommy
Kinsella
Martin
McGregor
Buddy
Boland
Gerry
Madigan
Mick
McManus
Aug.
1972
Mike
Scott
Tony
Hughes
Don
Sherry
Chris
Collum
Phillip
Duffy
Ted
Reid
Mick
McManus
??
1972
Tony
Hughes
Phillip
Duffy
Don
Sherry
Chris
Collum
Des
Wilson
Ted
Reid
Mick
McManus
1975 Tony
Hughes
  Brendan
Jameson
James
Hanlon
Des
Wilson
Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins
1976 Tony
Hughes
Francie
Lenehan
Bobby
McGawley
Gene
Berrill
Des
Wilson
Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins
1978 Tony
Hughes
  Bobby
McGawley
Gene
Berrill
Des
Wilson
Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins
1978 Tony
Hughes
Brian
O'Keefe
Bobby
McGawley
Gene
Berrill
Des
Wilson
Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins
1979 Tony
Hughes
Brian
O'Keefe
John
McGrenra
John
McManus
Brendan
O'Brien
  Charlie
Arkins
1980 Tony
Hughes
Gene
Inglesby
John
McGrenra
John
McManus
    Charlie
Arkins
1980 Tony
Hughes
Gene
Inglesby
John
McGrenra
Pat
Waller
Brendan
O'Brien
Nicki
Brennan
Charlie
Arkins
1980 Tony
Hughes
Martin
Johnston
John
McGrenra
Pat
Waller
Brendan
O'Brien
Dan
McAteer
Charlie
Arkins
1982 Tony
Hughes
Harry
Martin
John
McGrenra
Alan
Barton
Brendan
O'Brien
  Charlie
Arkins
1983   Aidan
Cunningham
John
McGrenra
Alan
Barton
  Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins
1984 Sharon
King
Aidan
Cunningham
John
McGrenra
Alan
Barton
  Gerry
Madigan
Charlie
Arkins

Discography:

Singles:

Cotton Mill Hoedown / Y’All Come
Diamond Records - CMD 101 - 1968    

Joey Maroney / My Clinch Mountain Home (featuring Gerry Madigan)
Target Records - 7N.17783 - June, 1969
Goodbye My Darling / Little Liza Jane
Target Records - 7N.17857 - 1969
Silver Haired Daddy / Jesse James
- #13 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17922 - February, 1970
Wild Irish Rose / Buddy's Tune (featuring Tony Hughes)
Target Records - 7N.17969 - 1970
Old Home Place / You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Target Records - 7N.45028 - 1971
Top Forty / Bridle On The Wall
Eagle Records - EA.100 - 1971
Cricklewood (Mike Scott) / Flop-Eared Mule (Mick McManus)
Target Records - 7N.45059 - July, 1971
End of a Lonely Day / Betty Jane (featuring Tony Hughes)
- #16 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - 2078-009 - August, 1971
How Can I Write On Paper (Mike Scott) / Ashes Of Love (Gerry Madigan)
- #19 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 303 - June, 1972
Try A Little Kindness (Tony Hughes) / Katy Clyne (Gerry Madigan) / The Maiden's Prayer (Mick McManus) /
Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger (Mike Scott)
- #7 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 307 - 1977 
Judy (Tony Hughes) / Lost Indian (Mick McManus)
- #7 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 315 - April, 1973
Please Daddy (Tony Hughes) / You’re No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine (Gerry Madigan) / 500 Miles (Mike McManus) / Charlestown Tavern (Des Wilson)
- #18 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 329 - November, 1973  
Arms Full of Empty (Des Wilson) / She Thinks I Still Care (Tony Hughes)
- #11 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 335 - March, 1974  
(All Together Now) Let’s Fall Apart / Now You’re Gone (featuring Tony Hughes)
- #17 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 343 - June, 1974
Will The Circle Be Unbroken / Joey Maroney
Hawk Records - HASP 381 - 1976
The Wedding Song / You'll Never be Lonely Again
- #1 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 393 - August, 1976
Raining In My Heart/Orange Blossom Special (Charlie Arkins)
- #2 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 396 - 1976
I Don't Regret A Minute / Turkey In The Straw
- #15 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 403 - February, 1977
I’ve Just Seen Her Face (Gerry Madigan) / Heathery Breezes (Charlie Arkins)
Hawk Records - HASP 407 - 1977
Lucille
- #2 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - April, 1977
Heaven's Just A Sin Away / Showboat Gambler
- #12 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP 416 - April, 1978
Whiskey / Catwillow River
Hawk Records - HASP 429 - November, 1978
You Are No Angel (with Kim Newport) / Penelope
Hawk Records - HASP 435 - April, 1979
Devil Went Down To Georgia
Hawk Records - HASP 446 - October, 1979
Truck Drivin' Man
Hawk Records - 1979
Should I Come Home / Should I Come Home (instrumental)
Hawk Records - April, 1980
Watch and Gold Chain / The Devil Went Down To Georgia (featuring Gerry Madigan)
Homespun Records - HS 067 - 1983
Take Me Back To Tulsa (Gerry Madigan) / Fire On The Mountain (Charlie Arkins & Gerry Madigan)
Homespun Records - HS 086 - 1984

Albums:

Meet The Cotton Mill Boys (On Bullseye?)
Marble Arch Records - MAL 1345 - August, 1970
The Many Sides of the Cotton Mill Boys
Hawk Records - HALP 103 - 1972
Cotton Mill Boy (featuring Gerry Madigan)
Hawk Records - HALP 108 - 1972
Hitsville
Hawk Records - HALP 108 - 1973
Try A Little Kindness
Hawk Records - HALP 121 - 1974
The All Star Cotton Mill Boys
Hawk Records - HALP 124 - 1974
25 Country Classics     Vol. 1
Hawk Records - HALP 133 - 1974
25 Country Classics     Vol. 2
Hawk Records - HALP 137 - 1975
25 Country Classics     Vol. 3
Hawk Records - HALP 145 - 1975
Orange Blossom Special
Hawk Records - HALP 158 - 1976
Flyin' High
Hawk Records - HALP 171 - 1977
16 Songs From Their RTE Series
RTE Records - RTE 52 - 1978
Cotton Pickin'
Heritage Records - HSLP 006 -
The Best Of The Cotton Mill Boys, Vol. 1
Harp/Pickwick Records - HPE 627 -
Cotton Mill Boy's Golden Collection
K-Tel Records - KLP 50 - 1980

Audio Clips

     

You Are No Angel

Stoney Mountain

     

Where Are They Now?  

Gerry Madigan: After leaving the Cottons in the Fall of 1978, Gerry formed his own highly successful bluegrass band called Mash, but he was back with the Cottons in the early 1980's. By the mid 80's, the scene was dying and Gerry left the music industry and ended up as Managing Director of Gym Services, Ireland, a financial services company. In the mid 1990's, Gerry emigrated to Canada and wrote his book, Five Plateaus of Progress, which was not only a best seller, but forms the basis for his management company. He and his wife, Marina, have six children and love Canada, although he visits Ireland regularly.
Joe Giltrap:  If you know more, please let us know.
Mick McManus:  If you know more, please let us know.
Brian Harris:  Brian "Bridie" Harris still plays regularly in and around the Dublin scene. His most recent project is with Chris Meehan, with whom he has played for many years in his "Redneck Friends" band. 
Tommy Kinsella:  If you know more, please let us know.
Paul Kenny: RIP Paul sadly passed away within six months of the band's formation in 1969. 
Paul Duffy:  If you know more, please let us know.
Mike Scott: We got a great email from Mike in late 2015 telling us he is still alive and kicking. He retired from the showband scene after a stint with the Hoot'nanny's, but still plays these days accompanying himself on keyboards and guitar. He also does a lot of drawing and painting in his spare time. 
Frank Montgomery:  If you know more, please let us know.
Buddy Boland - RIP:  Buddy stayed with the Cottons for three years until he left, along with Tommy Kinsella (bass) to form a new country outfit which would become Buckshot after the addition of Donegal's Bernie O'Boyle (Bill Ryan) on lead vocals. Buckshot became one of the most successful country outfits of the era, releasing at least 13 singles, eight of which reached the Irish charts. Buddy continued to entertain right up until his death, regularly performing at functions in and around Bray and Dublin. He died suddenly on March 10, 2012. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends and our sincere sympathies are extended to his wife, Teresa, son Simon, daughter Roma, grandson Samuel and his entire family.        
Tony Hughes:  We received an email in January, 2011 from Tony's daughter, Leigh Hughes, telling us that Tony is alive and well and living in Palmerstown. If you know more, please let us know.
Martin McGregor:  If you know more, please let us know.
Phillip Duffy:  If you know more, please let us know.
Don Sherry:  If you know more, please let us know.
Chris Collum:  If you know more, please let us know.
Des Wilson: RIP Des left the band in 1978 and formed his own band, Midnight Express. However he became ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour for which he had surgery and eventually recovered. In his later years he traveled regularly with his wife, Mary, who was a member of Two's Company and wrote several songs including one about his hometown, Dear Dundalk. Sadly, Des passed away in 1990 at the age of 47.
Charlie Arkins: Charlie stayed with the Cottons to the end in 1988. He writes to tell us after that he went with John Hogan's Band for ten years. More recently, Charlie has been playing with Jimmy Buckley's Band, since 2008. He also did a short stint with Robert Mizzell. He still does plenty of session work ands has his own studio at home in Athboy, Co. Meath which is operated by his son. He recently appeared on the CD by Lisa Stanley, daughter of Maisie McDaniel.    
Francie Lenehan: After leaving the Cotton Mills Boys, Francie returned to Sligo where he formed Southern Comfort, a very popular group with his brother John and drummer Billy Kelly. In the mid 80's Francie was part of The Hennigan's Blooze Band with James Blennerhassett, who now plays with the Conquerors. Francie still lives in Sligo and plays regularly across the Northwest. He is in demand for both live work and recording sessions and plays regularly with names such as Ray Lynam, Chris Meehan and others. For many years he has also played with ex-Sands guitarist Bobby Kelly, in a duo. These days he does a lot of work as a solo performer.    
Gene "Geno" Berrill - RIP: Geno would go on to have a long career playing with a variety of bands after leaving the
Cottons, joinign the Farmer's Sons and in the early 80's the Nevada SHowband. Nevada. In the late 80's he would
play with the Ray Lynam Band, and for many years around the East of the country with The Long Riders.
Sadly Geno passed away after a long battle with cancer on April 17, 2016.
Gene Berrill:  If you know more, please let us know.
Brendan Jameson:  If you know more, please let us know.
James Hanlon:  If you know more, please let us know.
Bobby McGawley:  If you know more, please let us know.
Brendan O'Keefe:  If you know more, please let us know.
John McGrenra: John was with the Cottons until they called it quits in the late 1980's. He returned to his native Donegal and formed the very popular band, Choice. In recent years, he has had to quit constant touring because of health issues, but still remains interested in the music scene and plays occasionally.   
John McManus:  If you know more, please let us know.
Brendan O'Brien - RIP:  If you know more, please let us know.
Gene Inglesby: RIP After leaving the Cottons, Gene went on to play with the Nevada in their latter days. Gene sadly passed away on January 4, 1990. Our thanks to John McGrenra and Gene's daughter, Dawn, for the information.
Pat Waller:  If you know more, please let us know.
Nicki Brennan:  If you know more, please let us know.
Martin Johnson - RIP: We received an email from Al Owens telling us that in the mid seventies, Martin moved to the UK where they met around 1979 and together with (Al from Roscommon, a drummer) they formed the band Stagecoach with singer Billy Finnegan. Three years later Billy moved to Co. Armagh and started a new band and within a short time, Martin also came to Armagh and joined the band which they called Stagecoach again. After that Martin did solo and duo gigs around Dundalk but sadly passed away in October 2002. Our thanks to Al for the update.
Dan McAteer:  If you know more, please let us know.
Harry Martin: We got an email from Declan O'Kane teeling us he bumped into Harry in August, 2012 and at that time, he was living in the Southeast, although he did not say what Harry has been up to in recent years. Our thanks to Declan for the update. If you know more, please let us know.
Alan Barton:  If you know more, please let us know.
Aidan Cunningham:  If you know more, please let us know.
Sharon King (Collette O'Hanlon):  After leaving the band, Collette toured Europe with Xerxes, where they played in the prestigious Atlantis Club in Basel Switzerland. She also participated in lots of session work on the Dublin recording studio scene. In spite of many offers to front bands in Switzerland and other parts of Europe, she stayed in Ireland and did some solo gigs and also some with her old friend Laurie Hartz on the cabaret scene. She seems to have distanced herself from the music scene in recent years, but still lives in Blanchardstown in Dublin. From Gerry Madigan. If you know more, please let us know.

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© 2002-2016 GMS Productions

In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006