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Buckaroos Story (1968-1993)

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

The Story

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 Claxton.

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 gigs.  

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 ailment.  

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 County Down.

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 time. 

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.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Buckaroos - 1968 Buckaroos - 1968 Buckaroos - 1968 (RF) Buckaroos - 1968 Buckaroos - 1968
Buckaroos - 1968 Buckaroos - 1974 Buckaroos - 1969 Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF)
Brian Coll of the Buckaroos Brian Coll & The Buckaroos Brian Coll of the Buckaroos 1973 Brian Coll & the Buckaroos - 1973 Brian Coll (DD)

Brian Coll & The Buckaroos - 1970 (KS)

Brian Coll - 1970 (KS)

Brian Coll (LR) Brian Coll & The Buckaroos - 1973 Brian Coll & The Buckaroos - 1970
Brian Coll - 1978 (PH)

Brian Coll - 1970

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1973

Brian Coll - 1973

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian & Ray - 1972

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian Coll - 1972

Brian Coll - 1974

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1971

Brian Coll - 1970

Brian Coll - 1970

Brian Coll - 1969

Brian Coll - 1969

Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF)
Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF)
Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF)
Buckaroos (RF) Buckaroos (RF)

Buckaroos - 1975

Buckaroos - 1975

Buckaroos - 1973

Buckaroos - 1972

Buckaroos - 1972

Buckaroos - 1972

Buckaroos - 1972

Buckaroos - 1971

Buckaroos - 1971

Buckaroos - 1970

Buckaroos - 1970

Buckaroos - 1972

Country Spoonful-77

   

Country Spoonful-77

Buckaroos - 1977

Buckaroos - 1977

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Record Sleeves

A - Brian Coll B - Brian Coll A - Brian Coll B - Brian Coll A - Brian Coll
       
Buckaroos (RF)

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Acc/Trm/Keys Sax/Misc Trumpet/Gtr
June
1968
Brian
Coll
Brendan
Sweeney
Pio
McCann
Freddie
Armstrong
John
Trotter
Gerry
Quinn
Kevin
McGinty
March
1970
Brian
Coll
Brendan
Sweeney
Kevin
McGinty (bass)
Freddie
Armstrong
Jim (keys)
Bradley
Leo (banjo)
Mulligan
 
Feb
1971
Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Kevin
McGinty
Colm
Keeley
Jim
Bradley
Kevin
Farrelly
 
May
1971
Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Kevin
McGinty
Colm
Keeley
Jim
Bradley
Kevin
Farrelly
Liam (guitar)
Gibson
April
1974
Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Aidan
McGuigan
Liam
Keenan
Jim
Bradley
Gerry
Quinn
Martin
Coll (guitar)
Sept
1977
Mervin
Nixon
Arty
McGlynn
Aidan
McGuigan
Liam
Keenan
T.
Fox
  Martin
Coll (guitar)
Dec
1977
Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Unknown Unknown Unknown   Unknown
1978 Brian
Coll
Unknown Pat
Unknown
Freddie
Unknown
Tony
Unknown
Grainne
Renehan
Martin
Coll
August
1980
Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Pat
Unknown
Freddie
Armstrong?
Tony
Unknown
  Martin
Coll
               

Discography (More to come)

Singles:

Asthoreen Bawn / I'll Be Glad To Help You Out
Release Records - RL.511 - March, 1969
The Prisoner's Song / I Wonder How The Old Folks Are At Home
Release Records - RL.530 - May, 1970
Give An Irish Girl To Me / Waiting - #7 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.548 - October, 1970
Soldier's Last Letter / Must You Throw Dirt In My Face
Release Records - RL.580 - May, 1971
These Are My Mountains / Kentucky In The Morning - #3 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.594 - August, 1971
When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again / The Knoxville Girl - #8 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.619 - January, 1972
Four Great Irish Hits EP - #4 Irish Charts
Release Records - MRL.1001 - June, 1972
She's Mine / Picture On The Wall - #12 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.639 - June, 1972
4 Great Irish Hits EP, Vol.2 /
Give An Irish Girl To Me - #10 Irish Charts
Release Records - MRL.1002 - September, 1972
The Moon Behind The Hill / Candy Kisses - #13 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.672 - April, 1973
Cover Mamas Flowers / Arms Full of Empty / Pass Me By - #14 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.708 - December, 1973
Hometown on The Foyle / If I Could Start Over/Silver Haired Daddy - #5 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.727 - March, 1974
Mail Call - #11 Irish Charts
Release Records - Unknown - January, 1975
The Farmer / Mickey McCann - #6 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.831 - July, 1976

Albums:

Sing Me Back Home
Release Records - SRL 3002 - 1970
The Best Of Brian Coll Country
Release Records - BRL 4039 - 1974?
Cover Mama's Flowers
Harp Records - HPE 603 - 1980 
Country Coll
Release Records - DSRL 6001 Double album 
Old Loves Never Die
Harmac Records - HM 31 - 1987
Countrified
Unknown Records - Unknown

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Brian Coll: Brian is still going strong and is a regular on the popular concert circuit in Ireland and England. He regularly tours and remains one of Ireland's best loved country performers. We understand Brian turned 70 in 2011, so the fact that remains relevant on the scene is an even greater testament to his longevity and talent.  
Arty McGlynn: While still with the Buckaroos, Arty started to focus his attention on the very different world of Irish traditional music. In 1979, while still with the band, he recorded his first solo album, "McGlynn's Fancy," which was the first recording ever in which the guitar is played in an authentic traditional style, and his reputation was spreading in a new direction. He subsequently became one of the most sought after musicians in the country, playing and recording with the likes of Christy Moore and Paul Brady and played with Planxty, Patrick Street, De Danann and the Van Morrison Band.
Kevin McGinty: If you know more, please let us know.
Colm Keeley: If you know more, please let us know.
Jim Bradley: If you know more, please let us know.
Kevin Farrelly:  If you know more, please let us know.
Liam Gibson: If you know more, please let us know.
  Band Member:
  Band Member:
  Band Member:

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