Sun Valley Boys Photos (1970-1974?)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The Sun Valley Boys got their start around 1970 when the extremely
popular showband, The Cadets, finally called it quits after almost a
decade on the road. After Eileen Reid gave up performing to have a
child and then went into cabaret, the band went its separate ways.
Noel McGann (bass)
and Brendan O'Connell (guitar) teamed up with Johnny McEvoy and
formed a country band for the ballroom circuit. Eventually Jimmy and
Eileen decided they would do cabaret together. Jas Fagan (trombone)
and Paddy Burns (trumpet) formed the Sun Valley Boys, a country
outfit aimed at the newly emerging massive country and Irish genre
which was dominate by names like Big Tom and Larry Cunningham.
The boys first needed
a lead singer and found one in Kerryman, Denis Bowler. Although born
in Glenbeigh, Denis went to Limerick when he was 12 years old. He
learned the violin (as many did back in the day) and sang in the
school choir but as he said in a 1972 Spotlight interview, "I didn't
have great ambitions in school." At 18, he answered an advert
looking for male psychiatric nurses in St. Ita's Hospital outside
Dublin. "I enjoyed working there," he said, "I was helping people
who were less fortunate than I was." However, Denis had been bitten
by the singing bug and was soon started singing in public.
"I was doing some
cabaret work in the Drake Inn and the Tudor Rooms," Denis related,
"the Cadets had jus broken up and Paddy and Jas were looking for a
singer to start a new band. They came in for a drink one night and
offered me the job." The original lineup was soon set with Denis
(vocals and fiddle), Jas (trombone) and Paddy (trumpet), joined by
Joe Monks (guitar), Dennis Heerey (keyboards), Brian Laffan (drums)
and Shea Martin (bass). Denis Ryan took over the management of the
band and they hot the road in mid 1970.
Based out of Dublin
(we think), the band played a country set, but with Denis'
proficiency on the fiddle, they also threw in some Ceili music which
was extremely popular with dancers and they started to make a name
for themselves in the Southeast of the country. As with all bands,
they need a hit single to establish themselves nationwide and
released their first single, Dingle Bay. The single got lots
of airplay, but did not sell, although it helped broaden their base
In 1971 the band
signed with Release Records and put out
I Don't Care What You Used To Be with the B-side written by
guitarist Joe Monks called I'm A Sun Valley Boy. Again, the
single had little impact on sales, but the band continued to build a
solid following around the country. Around this time, the band
experienced some lineup changes, although we can be sure exactly
when they occurred. We think around November, 1971, Eamonn Donnelly
(drums) came to the band from the Capitol after they called it
quits, replacing Brian Laffan and ex-Wheels bassist John Quarney
took over from Shea Martin after the Wheels went off the road.
Finally, in 1972, the
band hit it big with their single The Ireland of Tomorrow,
which was written by Joe Monks. The record reached number 6 in the
Irish Charts and was reported to be the 17th best selling Irish
single of the entire year. We are pretty sure the band hits its peak
at this time as we can only find another reference to them when they
released a single in 1973 called McGee's First Week's Pay on
the Release label.
We will continue to
research the band's history and hopefully add more to their history
on this page. If you know more about the Sun Valley Boys,
please send us an email.
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image