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Hoot'nannys Feature (1970-1976?)

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

The Story

When you find a formula that works, it's usually worth repeating. So it was a year after the Cotton Mill Boys took the dance scene by storm, that the Tom Costello organization launched another country outfit, the Hoot'nanny's. The first hint of the band's formation came in the January 29th issue of Spotlight which reported that the new band was in rehearsals already.

At the same time, Bernie Boyle, a cousin of Margo's from Burtonport, Co. Donegal had been working in England. Fellow Donegal man Hughie Ward had contacted him telling him another new band, the Virginians, were looking for a singer. Bernie came home and auditioned for the band, but did not get the job. Ready to return to England, he was approached by the Hoot'nanny's and took the stage name, Bill Ryan.   

Originally fronted by Bill, the band's career would parallel that of their stable mates, the Cottons. In fact, they would end up being fronted by Mike Scott, who started with the Cottons. A couple of weeks later, in the March 6th issue, the band was officially launched. The article said that the band had been formed around the nucleus of the former Greener Pastures band which included: Mick O'Malley (guitar), Stan McKee (guitar), Frank McGirr (bass) and Ollie Cunningham (drums). The band released it's first single, Mighty Lonesome, in April, 1970 on the Target (Pye) label. Although it received plays, it did not sell well. In June, the band released its second single, Story of a Broken Heart, once again on the Target label and once again, it did not make any impression on the charts.   

A report in the Insight column in Spotlight in September, 1970 reported the band was playing their first Dublin gig in the National Ballroom on the 17th of September. This was only strange because the band was actually based in Dublin and had been on the road since February. A month later, in November, Pat Hamill joined the band on vocals and guitar. Pat had previously been with the Beverlies, although a story in Spotlight stated he was discovered by the band's road manager, Pat Murphy, singing in a pub in Draperstown.

In February, 1971, Spotlight reported that Stan McKee had left the Hoots to join Frankie Carroll's band, the Ranchers, replacing Sligo guitarist Francie Lenehan. In May, 1971, the band released it's fourth single and the first on a new label, Ruby Records called Hot Corn Cold Corn. Unfortunately it met with the same lack of chart success as previous releases.  

In September, 1971, the band added a new member, "Wee Mick" (real name Mick Murray and so called because he stood a reported 4'5" tall). As well as singing, he was a farmer in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh before joining the showband ranks. In today's politically correct world, it is doubtful punters would have stood for it, but back in the early seventies, Mick dressed up in different costumes, made all kinds of noises, ran around the stage and then would end up singing, which brought in dancers in droves to see the oddity. They also released their next single, These Hands, which was to become their first hit record, climbing to number 15 in the Irish charts. Between their new curiosity factor and a hit record, the band was now doing very well on the circuit and gaining new fans across the country.

In November, they released Nellie Kelly and it sold well, but not chart. In January, 1972 the record spent four weeks in the "Other Good Sellers" category of the Irish charts. This special mention identified Irish made records that sold well, but not well enough to make the actual charts (which included International releases as well). Of course, many bands of the era took this to mean they had a "chart record."    

In mid 1972, the band suffered a major setback when the original vocalist Bill Ryan (around whom the band had been built) left to join the Gallowglass Ceili Band. It was part of a major shake up for the Gallowglass which had been one of Ireland's top Ceili bands (a dying breed) since 1950.

In July 1972, the Gallowglass owner, Pat McGarr, took out a full page advert in Spotlight announcing a new sensation "The Symbols (ex-Gallowglass)" which was a new name for the band. In the lineup was Mandy as female vocalist along with Bernie Boyle (aka Bill Ryan - who would soon front Buckshot). We understand from Elizabeth Farrelly (Mandy) that Bill recorded Mrs. Jones as the band's first single, but before it could be released, he had been drafted to front a new band formed by defecting members of the Cotton Mill Boys called Buckshot.  

At this point Wee Mick took a more central role on vocals, along with Pat Hamill. In August, 1973, the band released Rockin' The Baby, which featured guitarist Dessie Flaherty (Dessie would eventually join the reformed Miami showband after the tragic death of three members in July, 1975). The single sold very well and became their second (and final) chart record, topping out at number 12 in the charts.    

In March, 1974, Julie Boyd reported that Wee Mick (vocals), Frank McGirr (bass) and Harry Cooney (guitar) left the band. Mike Scott was drafted as the band's new lead singer. We also know that around this time, Jim Dalton left the band to join the newly formed Boys n' Girls.

In November, 1975, a blurb in Paschal Mooney's Country Round Up was talking about the band's new lead singer, Johnny Scariff after nearly going off the road in 1974. George Hilliard was now managing the band and we're not sure how much longer they lasted. .          

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

The Hoot'nanny's - 1970 (FM) Hoot'nanny's - 1971 (FM) Hoot'nanny's (JD) Hoot'nanny's (JD) Mike Scott of the Hoot'nanny's -1975
Hoot'nanny's - 1971 Hoot'nanny's - 1970 Hoot'nanny's - 1971 Hoot'nanny's - 1971 Hoot'nanny's - 1972
Hoot'nanny's - 1973 Hoot'nanny's - 1973 Hoot'nanny's - 1973 Hoot'nanny's - 1973 Hoot'nanny's - 1975
Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF)
Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF)
Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF) Hoot'nannys (RF)
         

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Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Guitar/Steel Banjo/Fiddle
Easter
1970
Bill
Ryan
Stan
McKee
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Mick
O'Malley
Hugh
Ward
1970 Bill
Ryan
Stan
McKee
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Peter
Hines
Pat
McSweeney
Oct/70
Larry G
Bill
Ryan
Stan
McKee
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Pat (Banjo)
McSweeney
Peter
Hines
Nov
1970
Bill
Ryan
Stan
McKee
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Pat
Hamill
Peter
Hines
Feb
1971
Bill
Ryan
Pat
Murphy
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Pat
Hamill
Peter
Hines
Sept
1971
"Wee" Mick
Murray
Jim
Dalton
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Ronnie
Kennedy
Pat
Hamill
Peter
Hines
Aug
1973
"Wee" Mick
Murray
Des
O'Flaherty
Frankie
McGirr
Ollie
Cunningham
Freddie
O'Connor
Pat
Hamill
Mike
Feeney
March
1974
Mike
Scott
Des
O'Flaherty?
Frankie
McGirr?
Ollie
Cunningham
Dick
Farrelly
Pat
Hamill
Mike
Feeney?
Nov
1975
Johnny
Scariff
Unknown   Ollie
Cunningham
Dick
Farrelly
Pat
Hamill
Mike
Feeney?
             

Discography (More to come)

Mighty Lonesome / Rose of Arranmore
Target Records - 7N.17936 - April, 1970
Story of a Broken Heart / Greener Pastures
Target Records - 7N.32563 - June, 1970
Rock My Soul / Smokey Blue Eyes
Unknown Record - Unknown - January, 1971
Hot Corn Cold Corn / Blistered
Ruby Records - RUB.126 - May, 1971
These Hands / Jambalaya - #15 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB.137 - September, 1971

Nellie Kelly / Please Mr. DJ
Ruby Records - RUB.141 - November, 1971

Yesterday Today / Little Annie Rooney
Play Records - PLAY 29 - 1972
Taller Than The Trees / Stop The World and Let Me Off
Hawk Records - HASP.302 - March, 1972
Last Time I'm Leaving
Hawk Records - HASP 312 - April, 1973
Rockin' The Baby (Dessie O'Flaherty) / Cards And Letters (Pat Hamill) - #12 Irish Charts
Hawk Records - HASP.322 - August, 1973
He Follows My Footsteps (Mike Scott)
Unknown - Unknown - August, 1974

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Bill Ryan:
Stan McKee:
Frankie McGirr:
Ollie Cunningham:
Ronnie Kennedy:
Peter Hines:
Pat McSweeney:
Pat Hamill:
Jim Dalton:

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