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Country Folk Feature ()

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

The Story

In the November 21st, 1969 issue of Spotlight, the Insight column announced that promoters Johnny Kelly (formerly of the Capitol) and Johnny McNally (who ran the Airlines dance in Dublin's Crystal Ballroom) had signed Margo (O'Donnell) to front a new band, which was soon revealed as The Country Folk. The new band debuted on St. Stephen's Night, 1969. 

Born Margaret O'Donnell in Kincasslagh, Co. Donegal Margo is one of the real enigmas of the Irish entertainment scene. She started her career with local band, The Keynotes and her debut disc, Bonny Irish Boy, actually cracked the Irish Top 20, no mean feat for a newcomer to the scene. Her second record, Road By The River made it to number two, establishing her as a bona fide star with the "Country and Irish" set.

The original Country Folk lineup was made up of: Mick Bagnall (bass), Paul Mitchell (steel guitar), Aidan Graham (drums), Colm Graham (guitar), Roy Butterfield (guitar) and Owin St. John (fiddle). In the August 8th, 1970 edition of Spotlight it was reported that Owin left the band and was being replaced by a sax player. The article also reported that Margo had been off the road for a week due to an appendix operation.        .      

Fronting the Country Folk, Margo continued to build on her success and popularity with more hit singles including a number one--I'll Forgive and I'll Try to Forget. In the Spotlight National Show business Poll (whose results were published in the January 16th, 1971 issue of the magazine), Margo was voted top female artist, beating out Eurovision winner, Dana (2nd), Kelley (3rd), and Sandie Jones (4th). The result consolidated her position as one of the top acts on the ballroom circuit.

In late 1972, the band underwent several changes and when the dust settled, only Margo, Dave Traynor and Frank McCaffrey were left in the band. According to Julie Boyd's column in the December 14, 1972 issue of Spotlight, the new lineup was: Frank McCaffrey (bass), Ray Doherty (guitar), Paddy Higgins (drums), Joe Murray (keyboards), Jim Malone (sax), Dave Traynor (sax) and Margo (vocals).

It appears that in early to mid 1973 the band changed its name to Margo & Co. (or possibly a new band was formed, but we doubt it at this point). However this would be short lived as in July, 1974, the singer was involved in a serious car accident and was off the road for a while. After a four month recuperation, she joined with Mattie Fox (who had previously been with the Country Blue Boys and the Grassroots) and they headed up a revamped lineup of the Grassroots, with the new name, Country Pride. The new band made their debut on Christmas Night, 1974.

In the meantime, Ray Doherty had left to join the Big 8 and Kieran Murphy returned to the stage. The Country Folk continued on without hardly missing a beat. Frank McCaffrey became the "front man" and manager John McNally drafted Frankie Carroll (bass/vocals) from the Brendan Shine Super Band and Michael Kane (steel) from the Conquerors in the reorganisation of the lineup. A year later, Frankie would follow Ray Doherty into the Big 8 filling the shoes left empty by the death of Tom Dunphy. They released a single in November, 1974 which featured Frank singing My Wild Irish Rose (the song had been a hit for Roly Daniels in 1971). The song did not make the charts but the band was doing steady business. 

There is little

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Country Folk - 1970 Margo & The Country Folk (DL) Country Folk - 1970 Country Folk - 1970 Country Folk - 1970
Country Folk - 1970 Country Folk - 1971 Margo & the Country Folk - 1971 Margo & the Country Folk - 1971 (KS) Country Folk - 1972
Margo & Co - 1973 Country Folk - 1975 Frank McCaffrey &
The Country Folk
Country Folk - 1975 Country Folk - 1974
Country Folk - 1975 Country Folk - 1975 Nov - 1970 Dec - 1971 Country Folk - 1971
Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF)
Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF)
Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF)
     
Country Folk (RF) Country Folk (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Lineup Changes (incomplete,,,need some help)
 

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Guitar/Keys Steel/Sax Other
1969 Margo
O'Donnell
Roy
Butterfield
Mick
Bagnall
Aidan
Graham
Colm
Grahan
Paul
Mitchell
Owin (Fiddle)
St. John
Aug
1970
Margo
O'Donnell
Kieran
Murphy
Mick
Bagnall
Aidan
Graham
Unknown Unknown Unknown
Nov
1970
Margo
O'Donnell
Kieran
Murphy
Mick
Bagnall
Aidan
Graham
Unknown Unknown  
Dec
1971
Margo
O'Donnell
Kieran
Murphy
Mick
Bagnall
Aidan
Graham
Jim
Mullaly (keys)
Davy
Traynor (sax)
Frank (trmpt)
McCaffrey
1973 Margo
O'Donnell
Kieran
Murphy
Mick
Bagnall
Aidan
Graham
Jim
Mullaly (keys)
Davy
Traynor (sax)
Frank (trmpt)
McCaffrey
1973 Margo
O'Donnell
Ray
Doherty
Unknown Paddy
Higgins
Jim
Malone
Davy
Traynor (sax)
Frank (trmpt)
McCaffrey
July
1974
Frank
McCaffrey
Kieran
Murphy
Frankie
Carroll
Paddy
Higgins
Jim
Malone
Davy
Traynor (sax)
Michael
Kane (steel)
               
               
               

Discography

Margo and the Country Folk
Gradh Mo Chroi / Mama Say A Prayer
- #6 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB 102 - March, 1970
I'll Forgive and I'll Try To Forget / Satisfied Mind
- #1 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB 113 - September, 1970
Deep Sheep Haven Bay / If I Kiss You (Double A Side)
Ara Records - ARA 001 - February, 1971

Don't Read The Letter / Time Changes Everything
- #1 Irish Charts
Ara Records - ARA 002 - June, 1971

Margo and Co.
Shamrock From Glanore / Cliffs of Dooneen
- #2 Irish Charts
Ara Records - ARA 004 - February, 1973
Deepening Snow /
 
Ara Records - ARA 005 - November, 1973

Country Folk
Lough Sheelin / Faded Love
IRL Records - IRL 226 - Unknown
My Wild Irish Rose / Let's All Go Down to the River / Rosemary / Maggie / Dear John Honky Tonk Blues
IRL Records - Unknown - November 1974
 

Audio Clips

         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

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