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Real McCoy Photo Gallery (1968-1975)

The band hit the road in July, 1968, following a terrible traffic accident in which several members of The Greenbeats were injured and in which band mate Paul Williams lost his life. The Greenbeats called it quits, but Eddie Campbell (guitar), Dave Pennyfeather (drums) and Keith Donald (sax) decided to form another band and set out to find the right musicians to make up The Real McCoy. Peter Bardon took over management for the new band. Eddie had previously played with Englebert Humperdinck's backing band. 

The rest of the group was rounded out with Liam McKenna (bass) from Dublin beat group, The Creatures, and who would later join The Memories when bassist Daire Doyle was injured (but he reverted to guitar and stayed with the band upon Daire's return). They also recruited Keith Donald (sax), Kevin McAlea (younger brother of Des "Lee") on keyboards and Mike O'Brien, who had been singing on the Dublin group scene with The Good Tymes to front the band. The band played their first gig in Dun Mhuire, Wexford, on Thursday, July 25, 1968. 

Heralded as one of the "new breed" of showbands (they didn't use the word Showband in their name), the six piece band was set and soon established themselves as one of Ireland's first true "pop" bands. Their first single, I Get So Excited, was released in late 1968 and reached number 10 in the Irish Charts, a great introduction for any band. Following  the release of the single, they joined the October 1968 nationwide theatre tour of The Johnny McEvoy Show with acts like the Cotton Mill Boys (then a bluegrass outfit), Maxi, Dick and Twink and the McTaggarts. 

However, their second single, Quick Joey Small was a smash hit, reaching number 1 just before Christmas, 1968 and staying on the charts for 13 weeks. The band were firmly establish as one of the top "pop" bands in the country and went from strength to strength.

In late 1968, they added trumpet player, Dave Coady to the lineup to both fill out the sound and bolster their vocal sound as Dave had previously handle lead vocals for several other showbands, including the Donie Collins Band. Their first release with Dave on lead vocals was Many The Memories and it was also a hit, entering the charts on November 20, 1969 and topping out at Number 4.

In early 1971, Billy Brown was forming his new Superband and tapped Keith Donald on sax who was replaced by John L. Sullivan who had previously been with the Chessmen. I the summer of 1971, the band headed off to Canada to take on a six week residency in Toronto's Maple Leaf Ballroom.

In 1972, the band was shaken up when Mike O'Brien decided to leave and form a new outfit. An article in the November 18, 1971 issue of Spotlight talked about what happened next. Billy Brown, who had left the Freshmen to form his "Superband" was looking for a front man, as everyone in his band was playing an instrument. Mike had started rehearsing his own new band which was to be called "Fargo." According to the article, Eddie Creighton and Gerry Anderson had agreed to join the new band, but there is some confusion over what happened after that.

As best we can tell, the two bands decided to merge. Billy disbanded his superband with Johnny Brown, who had been with Billy, moving to the Real McCoy and Keith Donald, who had left to join Billy's band, returned to the McCoy.

The new band kept two guitarists - Tiger Taylor (the only members to stay with Bill) and Eddie Creighton. The result was the Brown and O'Brien Band which featured Billy brown (keyboards/sax/vocals), Mike O'Brien (vocals), Tiger Taylor (guitar), Eddie Creighton (guitar), Gerry Anderson (bass), Paddy Freeny (drums), and Ray Elliot (keyboards/sax).   

To fill the hole left by Mike's departure, the Real McCoy recruited a young female vocalist who had previously been with The Mexicans and Jim Farley's Big Band named Tina Reynolds. Tina's good looks, excellent stage presence and great vocals gave a new dimension to the previously all male band's sound. It didn't take long for her to make her mark as her single, I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar hit the number one spot in the Irish charts in late 1971. Although the band would release several more singles in 1972 and 1973 (two would enter the lower regions of the charts), none would have the impact of Tina's initial offering. The band also had to fill Dave Coady's spot, who had gone to join the Big 8. They got Tommy Walsh, who had previosuly been with Tony and the Graduates.

The band continued to do great business, but it all came to a crashing halt on a country road outside Portlaoise in the summer of 1973. The band was involved in a head on collision in which Tina suffered multiple injuries, the most serious of which was to her neck. She would remain in hospital for five weeks in intensive care. Keith Donald was also seriously injured but both would make a full recovery. In the meantime though, the band called it quits and the musicians went their separate ways.

After recovering, Tina would be selected to sing all of Ireland's entry in the 1974 National Song Contest and around the same time was asked to join the Nevada for the departing Kelly. 

In October, 1973, Mike O'Brien returned from Canada after leaving Brown and O'Brien (who had gone to Canada) and set about reforming The Real McCoy who were off the road. He tapped several members of Paul Lyttle's Lyttle People, who were left behind when Linda Martin and Paul left to rejoin Chips. The new members were: Jimmy Compton (drums), Liam Taggart (guitar), Barry Woods (keyboards), Alan Holland (bass) and Mike on vocals. The final piece in the puzzle was Gay Brazel (guitar/pedal steel) who would later join Tweed.

The reformed Real McCoy did a relatively nice business, but never attained the drawing power of their early days. In the summer of 1974, Barry Woods was replaced by keyboardist Ray Donnan and Gay Brazel left to move over to Tweed. Shortly thereafter, Jimmy was replaced on drums by a mate of Ray's from Belfast.

More to come.......

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Real McCoy - 1968 (PB) Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968
Real McCoy Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1968
Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy (LR) Real McCoy - 1968 Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969
Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969 (DL) Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969
Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1969
Real McCoy - 1969 Real McCoy - 1970 Real McCoy - 1970 Real McCoy - 1970 Real McCoy - 1970
Dave Coady - 1970 Real McCoy - 1970 Real McCoy - 1970 Tina and Real McCoy (TP) Tina and Real McCoy
Real McCoy - 1972 Real McCoy - 1971 Tina - 1971 Real McCoy - 1971 Tina - 1972
Tina - 1973 Tina - 1973 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972
Tina - 1971 Tina - 1971 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972
       
Tina - 1972 Tina - 1971 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Coming Soon
 
A - Real McCoy B - Real McCoy A - Real McCoy B - Real McCoy Coming Soon
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Sax Keyboards Trumpet/Gtr
1968 Mike
O'Brien
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Liam
McKenna
Dave
Pennefeather
Keith
Donald
Kevin
McAlea
 
Dec
1968
Mike
O'Brien
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Liam
McKenna
Dave
Pennefeather
Keith
Donald
Kevin
McAlea
Dave
Coady
1970 Mike
O'Brien
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Liam
McKenna
Dave
Pennefeather
Keith
Donald
Keith
Donald (sax)
Dave
Coady
March
1971
Mike
O'Brien
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Gerry
Anderson
Dave
Pennefeather
John L.
Sullivan
Keith
Donald (sax)
Dave
Coady
August
1971
Mike
O'Brien
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Gerry
Anderson
Dave
Pennefeather
John L.
Sullivan
  Tommy
Walsh (RIP)
Nov
1971
Tina
Reynolds
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Johnny
Brown
Dave
Pennefeather
John L.
Sullivan
Keith
Donald (sax)
Tommy
Walsh (RIP)
1973 Tina
Reynolds
Eddie "Ned"
Campbell
Johnny
Brown
Dessie
Reynolds
  Keith
Donald (sax)
Tommy
Walsh (RIP)
May
1973
Mike
O'Brien
Liam
Taggert
Alan
Holland
Jimmy
Compton
  Barry
Woods
Gay
Brazel (Gtr)
June,
1974
Mike
O'Brien
Liam
Taggert
Trevor
Boyst
Jimmy
Compton
Paul
Farrell?
Ray
Donnan
Mick
Carrass

Discography (more to come)

I Get So Excited / Someone's Taken Maria Away (Mike O'Brien) - #10 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17618 - September, 1968
Quick Joey Small / Happiness Is Love (Mike O'Brien) - #1 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17669 - December, 1968
Round The Gum Tree / I Will (Mike O'Brien) - #9 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17704 - February, 1969
Gitarzan / Anytime You Need Me (Mike O'Brien)
Target Records - 7N.17772 - June, 1969

Many The Memories / She's Different, She's Beautiful (Dave Coady) - #4 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17850 - November, 1969
Near or Far / So Long
Target Records - 7N.17972 - June, 1970
I'll Give You Things (Dave Coady)
Target Records -  - December, 1970
I Don't Know How To Love Him (Tina) - #1 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB.142 - November, 1971
Tell Me What's The Matter / It's Really Over (Tina) - #15 Irish Charts
Play Records - PLAY.26 - June, 1972
When Morning Has Come (Tina) - #20 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - 2078 033 - May, 1973

 

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (coming soon)

Mike O'Brien:
Eddie Campbell - RIP:
Liam McKenna: After leaving the Real McCoy, Liam joined the Memories. replacing the injured Daire Doyle on bass guitar. On Daire's return, Liam picked up guitar and stay with the band.   
Dave Pennefeather:
Keith McDonald:
Tina Reynolds:
Johnny Brown:
John Sullivan:
Dave Coady: Dave went on to several other bands, including the Big Eight and went to Las Vegas, although we know he wasn't in Brendan's Band in the 1990's. A search of the Internet has revealed that he formed his own band, Dave Coady and The Irish Express which not only performed in Las Vegas, but traveled across the United States as well. We are not sure of Dave's whereabouts today. If you do, please let us know. 
Tommy Walsh - RIP: We received an email from Sean Leonard in February 2016 telling us the sad news that Tommy
had passed away on the 7th February, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.
Liam Taggert:
Alan Holland:
Jimmy Compton:
Barry Woods:
Gerry Anderson: After leaving the ranks of the showband life, Gerry went back to University and earned a degree and lectured for a year before becoming the editor of a local magazine. He started doing spots for Radio Foyle and ended up doing a daily show which then moved to Radio Ulster. He also had a daily talk show for three years on television and is now a presenter with BBC-Northern Ireland (from Gerry's BBC profile).    
Gay Brazel: Gay left the Real McCoy and joined Tweed where he would stay for many years. As recently as a few years ago, Gay was still touring Ireland doing mostly corporate work and weddings with his band, The Whole Shebang.  

 

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