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Bandits Showband Story (1963-1975)

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

The Story

The first mention we can find of the Tuam based Bandits is in November 1963 when they were advertised to play several local dances in the Tuam Herald. Around this time in other advertisements they were described as a "local group." It took the band a while to get established but by the following year, they were playing across several counties and had made great stride in conquering neighboring Mayo venues.

By mid 1964, the band went on its first tour of venues in England and other reports in the Tuam Herald that year said they were regular visitors to England in the months that followed. In these early days, the lineup of the band was: Johnny Cosgrove (drums), Tommy Walsh (trumpet), Frank Fahy (vocals), Tommy Ryan (bass), Eamon Ryan (guitar), Jimmy Reilly (sax), and Willy Brogan (trombone). We are a little confused about the role of Liam Ivory (accordion) in the band. Newspaper report surrounding his passing in 1988 credited him as being a "founding member" of the band, although we can find no information from early sixties to substantiate that. Let us know if you know more of the story. The band was being managed by Raymond O'Brien.

At some point in 1966 the band had their first lineup changes when Johnny Cosgrove was replaced on drums by Donal Troutt, and Stan McCormick took over for Tommy Walsh on trumpet. Tommy would go on to play with many big bands of the era including the Graduates and the Real McCoy among others.  

In June 1966, the band recorded their first of several singles entitled Riverman and sung by Tommy Ryan. It was released on the Emerald label (as would all their singles over the next few years. Although the record sold well locally, the band did not have a hit record with any of their releases. At the time, the band made the claim that Tommy Ryan (who came from Milltown) was the first Galway "born, bred and reared vocalist to be featured on a showband record."

In September, 1967, tragedy struck the band when Jimmy Reilly's sox-year-old son, Thomas, was struck and killed by a lorry near his home on the Athenry Road. The same year, the band released One More Ride which failed to chart.

A year later, on September 13th, 1968, the band released its third single, "Schumann Was His Name," a bouncy sing-along song which was arranged by Jim Doherty. Despite a blaze of publicity which touted the single as a sure fire "hit," the recored didn't make the charts, but it did help the band maintain its growing reputation as a steady showband that entertained dancers with a great mix of pop and standards.

Interestingly, the story about their latest single reported that it was conceived during the band's "fourth" birthday party which was being held at manager Raymond O'Brien's house in Galway. Given that the band first came together in late 1963, this is a little confusing but publicity reports back in the showband days never let facts get in the way of a good story.  

An article in the July 12th issue of the Tuam Herald reported the formation of a new country band by Des Kelly in Galway called the Virginians. In the article Tommy Ryan was named as the new outfit's bass player, although we don't think this ever happened as Tommy would be the Bandits' featured vocalist through at least 1970. 

The last reference we can find about the band playing regular gigs was in late 1975, after which time, the band seemed to disappear from the newspaper adverts for dancing and we assumed they broke up. 

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Bandits Showband (DL) The Bandits (JB) Bandits Showband (JB) Bandits (RF) Bandits (RF)
Bandits (RF) Bandits-1966 (RF) Bandits - 1963 Bandits - 1964 Bandits - 1968
Years Vocals Guitar Bass/Vocals Drums Trombone Sax Trumpet
1964 Frank


Riverman / Rosa Rio
Emerald Records / MD 1047 / June, 1966
One More Ride / Bright City Lights
Emerald Records / MD 1069 / 1967
Schumann Was His Name / Mrs. McGrath
Emerald Records / MD 1107 / September, 1968
A Picture From Life's Other Side / Barefoot Nelly
Emerald Records / MD 1142 / 1970

A Mother's Love Is A Blessing / Deepening Snow (featured Tommy Ryan)

Emerald Records / MD 1153 / 1970

Audio Clips

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Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Liam Ivory - RIP:
Tommy Ryan - RIP:
Frank Fahy - RIP:
Tommy Walsh - RIP:
Eamon Ryan: Please let us know if you have any info
Johnny Cosgrove: Please let us know if you have any info
Willy Brogan: Please let us know if you have any info
Jimmy Reilly: Please let us know if you have any info
Donal Troutt: Please let us know if you have any info
Stan McCormick: Please let us know if you have any info


2002-2017 GMS Productions

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