Buckaroos Story (1968-1993)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Brian Coll's career started back in the early
1960's when he was with The Polka Dots, a band that would later be
fronted by Frankie McBride and would also be joined by Rob Strong.
However, he really came into his own as a member of one of Ireland's
most enduring bands, the Plattermen. Initially called The Platters
Showband, the group soon changed their name because of confusion
with The American Platters. In short time, they became The
Plattermen. However, in Brian's day, the Plattermen were a country
showband and a long way from the outfits fronted by Rob Strong and
Simon Scott in the 1970's.
The entertainment world in Ireland was shocked
when Brian left the Plattermen in June 1968 and started his own band
which he called the Buckaroos (the same name as Buck Owens' backing
band), but this "new" band was actually the bulk of the line-up of
the Claxton Showband who had been on the
road since 1961.
The band debuted in the Astoria Ballroom in Bundoran on June
9th, 1968 and were an immediate hit with the dancing public. Even
though they were was assumed to be a country band, on their first
night reports were of a mixed program of pop and country with John
Trotter's accordion playing being singled out as quite impressive.
The band was being managed by Barney Curley, who also managed the
Polka Dots, Brian's first band and (of course) the
The original lineup was: Brian Coll (vocals),
Brendan Sweeney (guitar), Kevin McGinty
(trumpet), Freddie Armstrong (drums),
Gerry Quinn (sax), John Trotter (trombone-keyboards), and Pio McCann
(bass). In July,
1968, the Plattermen announced the addition of Simon Scott to their
lineup and a
change of direction for the band from country to pop.
In October, 1968, the band was involved in a
car accident while driving on the M1 motorway near Belfast. Brian,
Brendan Sweeney and Gerry Quinn were all taken to the hospital after
the car they were travelling collided with a truck. They were all
later released and were not badly injured as they continued to play
The next time Brian
appeared in Spotlight was in May, 1969 when he released Asthoreen
Bawn, his first recording with the Buckaroos.
In March, 1970 an article in the Ulster Herald
reported a major shakeup for two Omagh based bands, the Buckaroos
and the Polka Dots. Barney Curley announced the Polka Dots were
changing their names to the Avengers, but would be retaining Frankie
McBride as lead vocalist. Three of the Buckaroos would be moving
over to the revamped band: John Trotter, Patsy "Pio" McCann, and
Gerry Quinn. Subsequently, they decided to keep the Polka Dots name
due to pressure from promoters.
At the same time, Seamus McCusker took over
management of the Buckaroos. To fill the spots vacated by the three
lads, the band added three new members: keyboard
player Jim Bradley from Motherwell in Scotland, Leo Mulligan from
Omagh on banjo and fiddle and a third member, we cannot identify.
There is some confusion here as it was reported that Arty McGlynn
had joined the band playing steel guitar, but Arty was also being
listed as remaining with the revamped Polka Dots lineup.
In early 1971 there was another major shakeup
in the band as it was reported three members of the Polkas Dots had
joined the Buckaroos. As far as we can tell this included Arty
McGlynn (guitar), Colm Keeley (drums) and Kevin Farrelly on
keyboards, but we can't be 100% sure about this. Brian also appeared
at the massive International country and western festival at the
Empire Pool in Wembley that year as well.
In the summer of 1971, Brian was off the road
for a short time due to an illness. A small advert in Spotlight
conveyed his apologies for the absence and a few weeks later, he was
back on stage. Later reports in Spotlight (late 1971) said
that Brian had spent six weeks in hospital with an unspecified foot
In early 1974, Brian was again off the road,
this time for 10 weeks due to an un-named illness. He returned to
the stage in March.
In April, 1974, Pascal Mooney reported in
Spotlight, that four members of the band had left to join Philomena
Begley's new band, The Ramblin' Men. The defecting members were;
Liam Gibson (guitar), Kevin Farrelly (sax), Colm Keeley (drums), and
Kevin McGinty (bass/trumpet). Arty McGlynn (guitar) and Jim Bradley
(keyboards) stayed with the Buckaroos. The four new musicians who
were drafted to fill the empty slots were: Gerry Quinn, who rejoined
the band, Liam Keenan (drums), Aidan McGuigan (bass), and Brian's
younger brother Martin Coll on rhythm guitar.
An article in the "Release Round Up" from
Spotlight on October 3, 1974 announced that Brian had joined the
Release organization for both recording and management. The article
also confirmed that long time manager, Seamus McCusker would
continue to handle Brian's bookings, while having the full support of
Release's marketing and PR resources. To some degree, the
announcement seems to have been superficial as Brian had been
recording with Release since 1969.
In June, 1977, Brian was off the road again,
after a motorcycle crash near the Monaghan-Tyrone border. This time
for a prolonged period as he announced he had retired from showbusiness, but on the advice of his doctors as he had trouble singing
for several months and he said, "I have been unable to yodel and
have had trouble singing because of shortness of breath." This
resulted in him disbanding the Buckaroos. The remaining members of
the band reorganised themselves under a new name, Country Spoonful
and hit the road in September, 1977. The lineup was: Arty McGlynn
(guitar), Martin Coll (guitar), Liam Keenan (drums), Aidan McGuigan
(bass), Mervyn Nixon (vocals), and T. Fox (keyboards).
In August, 1977 (two months after his
retirement), an advert appeared in the Anglo-Celt newspaper
from "Brian Coll and His New Buckaroos" who would be making their
first appearance on September 9th, although we don't think this
happened as planned. In December, 1977, the Donegal News
reported that Country Spoonful; had disbanded and that Arty McGlynn
would be rejoining Brian in the New Buckaroos. The band made their
debut that month and were now managed by Tony Loughman of the Top
Rank Organisation. .
In April, 1978, tragedy struck when the band's
road manager, Peter McGinnity (25) was killed in a road accident in
A recent scan of YouTube uncovered a video of a
BBC2 TV show made in 1980 called Six Days on the Road which
captured Brian and the Buckaroos as they traveled across Ireland and
over to England for gigs. It is a great "snapshot" of the way things
were for bands back as the era wound down and Brian makes some very
revealing comments about the state of the industry at the time, as
well as his own career. It is well worth a look if you have the
In May, 1980. Brian added a female singer,
Grainne Renehan from Limerick who he heard singing in England to the
band's lineup. She would only stay a short time (five months) before
starting her own band, Grainne and the Strangers in November, 1980.
During the 1980's, the dance scene in Ireland
underwent huge changes with the rise of discos and (more or less)
the end of the pop bands like the Nevada, Miami, etc. Country music
still seemed to have a loyal fan base and the Buckaroos continued to
entertain dancers across the country, although in much smaller gigs
as most of the ballrooms closed.
After conducting further research. we have
discovered that the Buckaroos stayed on the road longer than most
and we have found an advert for the band from September, 1993. In
July of that year, Brian had announced his farewell tour when he
said he was retiring from the "dance band scene." This may have been
the end of the Buckaroos, but Brian was still on the road himself
doing the pub and cabaret scene which he has continued to this day.
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image