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Sk'boo Band Feature (by Colum Connolly) ()

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The Story

Involved in popular music in Belfast since a child popular musician (5) in 1948.

Have done “pub” bus excursion entertainment in the early 1950’s, then
the Maritime Hotel in 1958 in amateur variety shows and did summer evening “pop” bus runs to Bangor County Down at this time also.

In 1958 I had to restart my music career from scratch and by 1962 played bass guitar in various guitar bands in Belfast.

In 1964 I played in the post-Van Morrison and Geordie Sproule Manhattan showband 1964-65.

I then continued playing in various rock bands in Belfast and at various venues and also in the resident band in the Stella Maris seamens’ mission in Belfast 1967—68.

In 1969 I was asked to help form a substantial and stable rock band in Belfast that did not claim continuity with break-ups of Them, and agreeing on a name after the colloquialism “skiboo” (Sk’boo) of Harland and Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast in this way this achieved the separate stance apart from Them and Van Morrison.

When left with the remants of Sk’boo, myself (bass guitar) and Ricky McCutcheon (drums) and with our manager able to suggest Gary Moore to us, thus to continue on the road as Sk’boo, Ricky and I agreed that as we couldn’t re-run the first successful start to Sk’boo’s career momentum again we should seem more prudent if we simply left off.

A week or so after the demise of Sk’boo the lead guitarist of the Green Angels showband from Ballymena called round to me to see could I do bass for the Ballymena band. This I played in until I went to Australia in 1970.

My most memorable and rewarding experience in my musical career was surviving being almost killed in a band transport smash up just past the Mull of Kintyre somewhere along the Antrim Coast Road on the way home to Belfast after a dance gig in Cushendun on the night the Americans landed on the moon.

This is actually a contribution of a little bit of info about myself, since you have already generously listed me and any kind of publicity is good publicity--Colum Connolly originally of Sk'boo Belfast. Though the band or writing nom de plume I use is Colm Connolly and not so much as a disguise or not much of a disguise, as that I got fed up with people mistaking my signature as "Colin" or worse, it could be "Colon".

I only became responsive again quite recently as regards the whole rock scene/showband scene in the island of Ireland generally back in the late 1950s and 1960s. This was due to my children's pressure as caused by their confusion as to what the 1960s were really like. I told them that rock stars got booted out of places then and not invited into ritzy restaurants to dine of caviar at all. In the gents public toilets in Belfast, the care-takers threated to call the police and that "We don't want people like you in here".
The "missing"  bit about myself is that after Sk'boo disbanded with Jim Armstrong and Kenny McDowell (lovely lads towards myself, and we oft would have deep discussions about how things were up in the like of Cullybacky in Mid-County Antrim) got an offer from a Chicago outfit, myself (bass) and RIcky McCutcheon (drums) felt JIm and Kenny's departure was too much of a throw to continue Sk'boo in image, Rock presentation and and trying to write Sk'boo's West Coast-like Rock material on the run--it took time. You just didn't close your eyes and think of a jingle. But I suppose, maybe we should have because our manager Gerry Giffin told us that Gary Moore would come along.
Anyway, Gary went on down to Dublin after Ricky and I in Belfast decided just to leave Sk'boo shelved , and Gary then took on the job of lead guitar with Skid Row, down there.  Our loss was Skid Row's gain as they say. But just after we (Sk'boo) got back from London and a farewell concert in Wolverhampton  and I was sitting feeling sorry for myself at home one night a few weeks later, Sean Devlin ex-of the Seasons showband from Andersonstown, West Belfast called round and said that Denis Osbourne ex-Seasons also and bass in the Green Angels, Gerry McClean's outfit from Ballymena, was leaving and I should take the job.
So after Sk'boo late June-early July 1969, I went to the Green Angels with Gerry McClean, Roy Addinell  and Mickey Conway.
There is a bit of a postscript to all of this by another member of the Green Angles at this time, Seamus McConnell from Derry in his stories of the Derry music scene From Aces to Angels  chapters "Big TIme At Last" and "End Of The Line". Heaps of other info on musos travelling to Germany on dance circuit  gigs in the 1960s.
Thanks for keeping my name alive in the scene back there! I hope any little bit of info I happen to provide here may be helpful to you.

More to come.....

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Where Are They Now?  

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