Colm Smith,
Pianist with the well known Rythm Boys Showband from Buncrana,
passed away on Tue Jan 24th  2012
A real character, Colm will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
May his soul "Rest in Peace"
John Baird

 
 The band was started in 1925 by Joe Doherty,s father , Frank as the “Cooey” Band, “Cooey” being the local  nickname given to the Doherty family. Also in the band were Frank,s brothers John and Dan and this combination  augmented by other musicians played at local parish functionsand factory Dances in the Buncrana Area.
 At one stage they were asked to play at a prestigious factory dance, but when John and Jeannie “Cooey” returned from a spell in the USA, they felt that the band should change their name before this “big gig”. While in America they heard a band that backed Bing Crosby called the Rhythm Boys, so in 1929 they decided to rename the band “The Rhythm Boys”.
As expected, it took the locals a while to get used to the new name but little did they know at the  time, that the name was to become a household name in dancehalls throughout Ireland and parts of Britian during Lenten periods.

   The line up of the band then was : Colm Smith(Piano),Donie Doherty(Violin)
 James Eccles (Accordion), Dan  “Cooey”(Sax.), Danny Mc Laughlin(Sax.)
 Frank “Cooey”(Drums), and Paddy Mc Elhinney (Trumpet).
They were  later joined by Denis Eccles (Sax.) and a very young Joe Doherty on Double Bass, who at he time was billed as the    “youngest Bass Player in Ireland”, he was just around 12 years of age. This band played regularly in the Plaza Ballroom, Buncrana and as Joe Doherty put it, “ Playing a gig in Glencolumcille at the other side of the County was a long way away!”
 James Eccles, Dan and Frank “Cooey “ decided to leave the band, and hand over the leadership to Leo Smith ,the bands vocalist, at a time when the Showband Scene was beginning to unfold. They got their first big date outside  the county, when they were booked to play the Royal Ballroom, Castlebar,
The Mighty Rhythm Boys had well and truly arrived and their varied dancing programme   of Dixieland, Dance Band Favourites, the were supplied with a “relief band” that turned out to be none other than a very young Joe Dolan and the Drifters from Mullingar.
The Rhythm Boys declined tours to America  The demise of the bad began mid to late 60,s as band members decided to leave and go their separate ways,, but  as Buncrana always had a very successful Pantomime Society , many ex members formed a band to play at the Pantomimes,
  Sadly many of the old “Cooey “ band have passed away but the great music of
The Rhythm Boys will never be forgotten and some reel to reel recordings still exist

Sitting on Steps Back Row.L-R  Colm Smith (Piano),Joe Doherty(Lead Guitar)
Tony Woods(Vocals / Bass Guitar) Jimmy Gallagher (Tenor Sax)
In Middle with Glasses:Leo Smith (Vocals MC)
In front of Leo: Mickey Mc Fadden (Drums)
Seated on Steps L-R. DannyMcLaughlin(Alto/ Bari. Saxes) Paddy McElhinney (Trumpet),
Denis Eccles (Tenor Sax) Not in Picture : Manager John Mc Cracken

                                                           Dennis Eccles                          Tony Woods

Many thank's to
Joe Doherty(Cooey)
Colm Smith, Neil Doherty, and Denis Eccles for their help

Read This Article
Story of the Rhythm Boy's Showband
By John Baird

From John Bairds collection
bairdart@iol.ie


Charlie & Eman
Greetings from Buncrana, just accidentally visited your site  you might like to add
my friend, mentor and unmentioned twin brother of Denis Eccles, Charles (Charlie) Eccles.
He played trombone and trumpet and is currently "alive an kicking".
Attached photo from my sons wedding two years ago
Charlie passed away on January 6th 2005
(R.I.P.)
Eman Eslaf

Eman.Eslaf@iol.ie


 
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