Country Folk Feature ()
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
In the November 21st, 1969 issue of Spotlight, the
Insight column announced that promoters Johnny Kelly (formerly of
the Capitol) and Johnny McNally (who ran the Airlines dance in
Dublin's Crystal Ballroom) had signed Margo (O'Donnell) to front a new band,
which was soon revealed as The Country Folk. The
new band debuted on St. Stephen's Night, 1969.
Born Margaret O'Donnell in Kincasslagh, Co.
Donegal Margo is one of the real enigmas of the Irish entertainment
scene. She started her career with local band, The Keynotes and her
debut disc, Bonny Irish Boy, actually cracked the Irish Top 20, no
mean feat for a newcomer to the scene. Her second record, Road By
The River made it to number two, establishing her as a bona fide
star with the "Country and Irish" set.
The original Country Folk lineup was made up of: Mick Bagnall
(bass), Paul Mitchell (steel guitar), Aidan Graham (drums), Colm
Graham (guitar), Roy Butterfield (guitar) and Owin St. John
(fiddle). In the August 8th, 1970 edition of Spotlight it was
reported that Owin left the band and was being replaced by a
sax player. The article also reported that Margo had been off the
road for a week due to an appendix operation. .
Fronting the Country Folk, Margo
continued to build on her success and popularity with more hit
singles including a number one--I'll Forgive and I'll Try to Forget.
In the Spotlight National Show business Poll (whose results
were published in the January 16th, 1971 issue of the magazine),
Margo was voted top female artist, beating out Eurovision winner,
Dana (2nd), Kelley (3rd), and Sandie Jones (4th). The result
consolidated her position as one of the top acts on the ballroom
In late 1972, the band underwent several
changes and when the dust settled, only Margo, Dave Traynor and
Frank McCaffrey were left in the band. According to Julie Boyd's
column in the December 14, 1972 issue of Spotlight, the new lineup
was: Frank McCaffrey (bass), Ray Doherty (guitar), Paddy Higgins
(drums), Joe Murray (keyboards), Jim Malone (sax), Dave Traynor
(sax) and Margo (vocals).
It appears that in early to mid 1973 the
band changed its name to Margo & Co. (or possibly a new band was
formed, but we doubt it at this point). However this would be short lived as in
the singer was involved in a
serious car accident and was off the road for a while.
After a four month recuperation, she joined with Mattie Fox (who had
previously been with the Country Blue Boys and the Grassroots) and
they headed up a revamped lineup of the Grassroots, with the new name, Country Pride.
The new band made their debut on Christmas Night, 1974.
In the meantime, Ray Doherty had left to join
the Big 8 and Kieran Murphy returned to the stage. The Country Folk continued on
without hardly missing a beat. Frank McCaffrey became the "front
man" and manager John McNally drafted Frankie Carroll
(bass/vocals) from the Brendan Shine Super Band and Michael Kane
(steel) from the Conquerors in the reorganisation of the lineup. A
year later, Frankie would follow Ray Doherty into the Big 8 filling
the shoes left empty by the death of Tom Dunphy. They
released a single in November, 1974 which featured Frank singing
My Wild Irish Rose (the song had been a hit for Roly Daniels in
1971). The song did not make the charts but the band was doing
There is little
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image
Margo and the
Gradh Mo Chroi / Mama Say A Prayer -
#6 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB 102 - March, 1970
I'll Forgive and I'll Try To Forget / Satisfied Mind -
#1 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB 113 - September, 1970
Deep Sheep Haven Bay / If I Kiss You (Double A Side)
Ara Records - ARA 001 - February, 1971
Don't Read The Letter / Time Changes Everything -
#1 Irish Charts
Ara Records - ARA 002 - June, 1971
Margo and Co.
Shamrock From Glanore / Cliffs of Dooneen -
#2 Irish Charts
Ara Records - ARA 004 - February, 1973
Deepening Snow /
Ara Records - ARA 005 - November, 1973
Lough Sheelin / Faded Love
IRL Records - IRL 226 - Unknown
My Wild Irish Rose / Let's All Go Down to the River / Rosemary /
Maggie / Dear John Honky Tonk Blues
IRL Records - Unknown - November 1974