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.
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.
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