A labour of love by Longford showband enthusiast Pat Rock has resulted in the release of all eight tracks recorded by the Rhythm Stars Showband from Ballintubber, Co. Roscommon back in the 1960s. The collection is now available on CD for the very first time and is a real collector’s item for fans of the showband era.
The Rhythm Stars were formed back in 1960. Their first date was in Ballyfarnon in their home county on Easter Sunday night where they received the sum of £20 for five hours on stage.
Pat Rock, showband era historian from Ballymahon, says the Rhythm Stars were unique in that there were seven brothers and one sister involved at one time or another. They were Stephen, Len, Al, Gerald, Aiden, Silvie, Liam (R.I.P.), and Millie Treacy.
The Rhythm Stars made 31 tours of England over to Birkenhead on the boat. They backed Hank Locklin at the Ard-Ri ballroom in Manchester in 1967 during one of their tours.
Pat recalls the dress style of the Rhythm Stars: “In the early days the band wore grey suits and later changed to royal blue blazers with white pants, and finally red jackets and sky blue pants with a red stripe down the outside of the leg.
“The band leader Stephen Treacy also had a plan for a hall where people were slow to dance. The song North to Alaska was a great number to get people on the floor and other great numbers were the Rose of Arranmore, Fraulein, and The Pub With No Beer. In 1968, Stephen retired to manage the band and was replaced by his brother Aiden as bandleader.”
The late Eddie Masterson of Tubbercurry background once described the Rhythm Stars “as one of the best pundit bands around” as they did everything from dixieland jazz to pop and country and bluegrass, ceili and cajun.
The band laid down eight tracks and all of the recording was done in the famous Eamonn Andrews Studios in Dublin. Their first song was ‘Chewy Chewy’ which featured Castlerea’s Michael Clarke on vocals. Indeed, Michael Clarke and Dean Lane were to feature on seven of the eight tracks between them, the exception being Silvie Treacy’s instrumental ‘Raz Ma Taz Polka” from 1969 when he was 13 years of age.
The other six songs are Rose of Roscommon, Lough Gowna’s Lovely Shores, Padre Of Old San Antone, Carroll County Accident, Mary I Need You, and Behind the Footlights.
“The Rhythm Stars final appearance was for the Vocational School dance in Elphin in 1974. It was fitting that Elphin in their native Roscommon was to be their final appearance together. To all those who played in the band, to those who listened and to those who danced to the Rhythm Stars all over Ireland, we say a heartfelt thanks,” states Pat Rock.
The full list of those who featured with the Rhythm Stars Showband from 1960 to 1974 includes the eight members of the Treacy family (mentioned earlier), Paul Lynch, Jimmy Raftery, Sean Raftery (R.I.P.), Jack Mulheir, Michael Clarke, Jimmy Diffley, P.J. Crane, John Dunne, Michael Keane, Dene Lane, Michael McDermott (R.I.P.) and Jimmy Kearney. Managers included Brendan Wallace, Billy Molloy (R.I.P.) and Stephen Treacy.
* Copies of the Rhythm Stars CD are now available from Stephen Treacy’s Sports Shop, Main Street, Castlerea.