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Real McCoy

From: Dublin

Active: 1968-72



Formed in August 1968 with guitarist Liam McKenna, ex Creatures and singer Mike O'Brien ex Gnumps and Good Tymes. Drummer Dave Pennefeather had a long perigree including The Inmates, the Earl Gill Showband and the Semitones.

The Real McCoy were a pop showband, the rare case of a band who managed to straddle the pop group/showband divide reasonably well, successfully incorporating beat influences into the showband format. Their recordings were almost all covers and yet their recordings were vibrant modern pop music. As such, they were in fact a bubblegum group.

During 1968-69 they recorded some excellent bubblegum pop-sike covers which were released as singles. The arrangements on these singles are invariably strong with driving rhythms, good fuzz guitar moments and catchy vocals. Many are better than the original versions.

The cover of The Equals "I Get So Excited" for example is fantastic, with heavy use of phasing and a really driving performance.

Kasenetz-Katz's "Quick Joey Small" is a bubblegum classic that's been covered many times and the Real McCoy turn in a superior version with again some fantastic guitar. The B-side, a version of Lennon/McCartney's "I Will" is given a northern soul-ish workout.

Psych legends The Fire's version of "Round The Gum Tree" flopped when it was released as a single. The Real McCoy added more psych guitar effects and a key change to their longer and marginally better version.

All 10 tracks from the first five singles appear on the band's debut LP which is well worth tracking down. The were two more singles which were non-LP. The second of these, "I'll Give You Things" came out on CBS in the UK a few months after it's Irish release on Target. This was the first and only release in a five year deal with CBS UK. It's described as a "nice minor-key organ psych pop with a superb arrangement and harmonies, that only loses half a point out of 10 for the somewhat MOR lead vocals... a bit 'Bachelors' methinks! The flip is a much rockier brew, with several pinches of brass and a soupcon of fuzz guitar." This flip is by Kevin McAlea; the A-side is by Neil Levenson, whose songs had been heavily covered by Liam McKenna's earlier band The Creatures of course. This was the band's last single.

Advert for a gig at Flannery's Hotel Galway on 28 November 1972.
How many of the lineup in the photo appeared onstage?

In late 1971 or early 1972 Mike O'Brien left to form the Brown & O'Brien Band with Billy Brown of The Freshmen. Liam McKenna and Kevin McAlea joined The Gentry. The rest of the band ended up backing Tina who'd previously fronted The Mexicans (1964-68) and Jim Farley's Band (1968). Tina & The Real McCoy recorded an LP with a ghastly front cover consisting of bland country-tinged covers done showband style ("The Banks Of The Ohio", "Put Your Hand In The Hand" and other excreta) before disbanding in 1973 -- in part as the result of a road accident on the way home after a gig -- an ignoble end [despite the #1 single!] to a great pop band. Tina spent several weeks in hospital but recovered, of course, and continued to score hits in Ireland both solo and with the Nevada, during the bad old days of the Bad Music Era.

Mick O'Brien reformed The Real McCoy with members of Lyttle People who were disbanding as Paul Lyttle and Linda Martin rejoined Chips. The exact date isnt clear but it was probably somewhere in 1973. The lineup included Liam Taggart (ex Sweet Neglect, Lyttle People) on guitar, Barry Woods (ex Sweet Neglect, Lyttle People), Alan Holland (ex Friends, Lyttle People), drummer Jimmy Compton (ex Sweet Neglect, Lyttle People) and Gay Brazel (later in Tweed) on guitar and pedal steel. This lineup did not record. Barry Woods later joined Clubsound. Jimmy Compton was later in Sheeba, Beats Workin', Off Course, Carole and the New Blues, The Nevada and Jump The Gun.

Where are they now? Eddie Campbell RIP; Kevin McAlea worked with Kate Bush; Keith Donald later played with many many artists including Moving Hearts and had some official Arts Council post; Dave Coady was later with Brendan Bowyer's Big 8; and Dave Pennyfeather went into the business side of the music biz.



• I Get So Excited / Somebody's Taken Maria Away
7" - Target Records - 7N 17618 - IRL 1968
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17618 - UK - 20 September 1968
A-side by Eddie Grant, B-side by Chris Andrews.
Spent 8 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #10 in October 1968.


• Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run) / Happiness Is Love
7" - Target Records - 7N 17669 - IRL 12/1968
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17669 - UK 1968
7" - Pye Records - 69407 - Turkey 1968
• Happiness Is Love / Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run)
7" - Pye Records - PYS 204 - South Africa 1969
Spent 13 weeks in the Irish charts, spending 2 weeks at #1 in January 1969.


• Round The Gum Tree (Berry) / I Will (Lennon/McCartney)
7" - Target Records - 7N 17704 - IRL 1969
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17704 - UK 1969
7" - Pye Records - 69402 - Turkey 1969 - PS
7" - Pye Records - PYS 191 - South Africa 1969
7" - Astor Records - AP-1600 - Australia 1969
Spent 6 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #9 in March 1969.



• Gitarzan / Any Time You Need Me
7" - Target Records - 7N 17772 - IRL 1969
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17772 - UK 1969
7" - Pye Records (Serie Fashion) - PV 16324 - France 1969? - PS

• Many The Memories / She's Different She's Beautiful
7" - Target Records - 7N 17850 - IRL - 21 Nov 1969
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17850 - UK - 21 Nov 1969
Spent 9 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #4 in December 1969.
Dave Coady lead vocal.

• This Is The Real McCoy
LP - Marble Arch Records - MAL 1251 - UK 1970 - flipback
LP - Target / Bullseye Records - BLP 1251 - IRL - 1970
LP - Bullseye Records - BLP 1251 - IRL - 1970
Collects both sides of the first 5 singles
. The Target release consists of the UK Marble Arch disc housed in a Target sleeve


• Near Or Far / So Long
7" - Target Records - 7N 17972 - IRL - 1970
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17972 - UK - 1970 - unconfirmed
Non-LP single.

• I'll Give You Things / Baby, Go Home
7" - Target Records - 7N 17992 - IRL - 1970
7" - CBS Records - 7065 - UK - 12 March 1971
Non-LP single.

Tina & The Real McCoy

• I Don't Know How To Love Him / Rip It Up
7" - Ruby Records - RUB.142 - IRL - 1971
The A-side is credited to The Real McCoy featuring Tina.
Spent 8 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #1 on 9 December 1971.

• Tell Me What's The Matter / It's Really Over
7" - Play Records - PLAY 26 - IRL - 1972
Reached #15 in the Irish charts in July 1972.

• I Don't Know How To Love Him
LP - Heritage Records - HSLP 002 - IRL - 1972

• Meet The Real McCoy EP
7" - Hawk Records - HASP 311 - IRL - 11/1972 - PS
"Four Great Real McCoy Stars On One Disc"
The first track is a re-recording of the bands #1 hit.
The 4th track is a novelty song introducing band members.
Credited to The Real McCoy.