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TCM Archives > Western People > 2003/05/07 > George wore Mayo jersey with pride and captained Hollymount in ‘56

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 :

The Rockaways Showband from Belcarra

This week we feature a well known name from the music scene in this region over the years. The Rockaways Showband from Belcarra featured three of Brose Walsh’s sons, John Noel, James and Tomas. Some will be surprised to see a photograph of the three lads in a band that did not feature their father. But back in the mid to late 60s, the family operated two bands for a number of years.
Says Tomas Walsh: “Like so many other youngsters in those years, we were into rock n roll music. So we decided to form our own separate band and we called ourselves the Rockaways.
“There were many weeks when we played some dates as the Rockaways and were out with Brose himself on the other nights. In other words, we were operating between the two bands and playing different styles of music. When we were with him, it was the waltzes and the big band numbers, while we ourselves concentrated on the rock ‘n roll and charts.
“We played all over the country as the Rockaways and were flat out for a few years. But keeping two wagons on the road and switching between the bands eventually became too much so over a gradual period we merged the two bands again. For a time we were known as Brose Walsh and The Rockaways. But over a period we dropped the Rockaways and reverted to the Brose Walsh Band.
“Surprisingly enough, there are still some people who to this day refer to us as Brose Walsh and the Rockaways. It can be hard to lose a name when it becomes associated with you for awhile. Dan Doyle was a regular with both daddy’s band and our band. He was a great musician who came from Dublin and lived in Castlebar for many years.”
Back to this week’s photo which was taken around 1969 and which features the three Walsh brothers, James (keyboards), Tomas (guitar) and John Noel (trumpet), all of whom are still playing the circuit with the Brose Walsh Band and are in constant demand throughout the country and in England. The Brose Walsh Band is Ireland’s longest established band, having been formed back in 1937. The name has been synonymous with Mayo for 65 year now.
John Higgins from Kiltimagh was a member of the Rockaways for a time. He later played with one of the original local ‘rock’ bands, the Time Machine from Kiltimagh, the group that gave Louis Walsh his first taste of the managerial stakes. John later worked overseas before returning to Kiltimagh. A block-layer and “Kenny Rogers” look-alike, he retains a great love for the music scene and is involved locally in the business.
Dan Doyle came from Rialto, Dublin and lived in McHale Road in Castlebar for several years. He was honoured with a Mayo Hall of Fame Music award around 1981. Dan died on Christmas Day, 1983.
Tommy Devaney was another well known and well established Castlebar musician who featured with the Rockaways and the Brose Walsh Band. He was a fine saxophone player and retained his love for the music right up to his death about three years ago.
The other musician featured in this week’s photo is Pat Richardson from Manulla. Pat was drummer with the Rockaways and also a good singer. He worked in Duffy’s Garage in Castlebar for a number of years and he now resides in his native Manulla.



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