The Playboys (Lifford)

Related: Drumbeats, Swingtime Aces

 When I joined the Lifford-based Playboys, I was their first (and only) female vocalist - I think the year was 1966. The band had been together a while and I later learned they had been known previously as The Drumbeats. When it became apparent, quite soon after my arrival, that not only was I going to stay with the band, but that I was fast becoming the attraction the band became Judy and The Playboys.

We toured Ireland, however, the band had a huge following in Scotland. It was there and touring USA-Forces bases in Germany that we were very successful. Our success and familiarity with Scottish audiences afforded us the opportunity to be the opening band for The Kinks, The Hollies and The Rolling Stones during their concerts in Aberdeen. The year escapes me, however, it is an experience that I treasure.

In Ireland we were fortunate, too, to be opening/back-up band for country singer, Hank Locklin. Ireland loved him and while he soaked up the adoration we were asked to tour USA-Forces bases with him in Germany. We had a fabulously successful tour.

During that time, Hank Locklin's US manager was the father of Clodagh Rogers (Ted?) who accompanied Hank in Germany. At the end of the tour they both asked if I would be willing to go to Nashville, Tennessee to make records under the management of Hank Locklin? Yes! First I would be flown to London, accommodated in an hotel, then have a meeting with Messrs Rogers and Locklin. The outline of which I would take back to Ireland to discuss with my parents. Then, the plan went, there would be a reconvening of everyone involved in which the details and contract would be forged, and I would depart to USA.

As I had agreed to this London meeting it was the first time I was separated from the band. I was not under contract to them, that was a too sophisticated idea in those days; however, it caused a lot of hard feelings.

After Belfast, upon returning to Donegal, and not feeling well, I went to Altnegalvin Hospital in Derry for X-rays to investigate an on-going cough only to find that I had contracted TB. I was immediately quarantined and never again saw my digs in Lifford. As soon as possible I was transferred to Belfast where I spent nine-months in Foster Green Sanatorium before making a full recovery. That was the end of the story.

During the nine-month stay I shared a room with the wife of a Daily Mail reporter, I won't give his name as his wife was ashamed that she had TB and wanted no notoriety. He was fascinated by my story. It was he who contacted the band to ask them to come to the hospital for a photoshoot and write-up. It was a great piece. Aside from that there was little contact with The Playboys. This is not to apportion any blame. My parents hated that the band had not taken care of me and my health being that I was so young, in my mid-teens. They had already decided that there was no way I was going back to that lifestyle. All this I learned many decades later. None of the correspondence addressed to me by managers was passed along. The arbitrary decision was taken; I had no say in any of these decisions.

That's it! My life took me to live in Beirut, Lebanon, Kuwait, Paris, Bahrain, England, Geneva, before coming to USA 21 years ago.

Theresa Murphy Bachoc (Judy of The Playboys)

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from Lifford, Co. Donegal

Vocals: Judy Murphy
Lead Guitar:
Michael Logue
Owen Kell
James Doherty
Sax: Liam Harkin
Trombone: Pat Morris
Charlie Friel
Piano/Organ: Owen Kelly
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