Founded by three Smith brothers,
Paddy, Peter and Jimmy from Ballyhaise, County Cavan, The Mighty
Avons were probably the first showband to devote most of their
programme to country and Irish songs. Larry Cunningham's 'Tribute To
Jim Reeves', a monologue by Eddie Masterson with snippets of Reeves'
hits, broke into the British charts in 1964 and he followed up with
another huge Irish hit single. 'Lovely Leitrim' and a number of
albums. While other showbands were being criticised for playing
too many old-time waltzes and Irish songs, The Avons ploughed along regardless of the music
In 1969, Cunningham
left and hired the nucleus of Edenderry band The Fairways as his backing band
(changing their name to The Country Blue Boys) and Gene Stewart took
over as lead singer. As the bottom photo shows, there were many
changes in personnel before the band finally called it a day.
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Annalees, Country Blue Boys