The Boys of the Lough
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The Boys of the Lough is a Scottish-Irish Celtic music band active since the 1970s.
The early years
Since the 1960s the Forrest Hill Bar in Edinburgh had been a centre for folk singers and instrumentalists. In the pub, always nicknamed "Sandy Bell's" and now formally called that, fiddler Aly Bain played along with singer/guitarists Mike Whellans and Dick Gaughan in sessions. Aly Bain was from the Shetland Islands, and steeped in the Shetland style of playing. Meanwhile in Ireland, Cathal McConnell was an All-Ireland champion in both flute and whistle. He was from a family of flute players in County Fermanagh in Ireland. Cathal's musical collaborators were Tommy Gunn and Robin Morton. The two halves met at Falkirk folk festival in Scotland, and formed Boys of the Lough.
This line-up (without Gaughan) was constant for the next six albums. Dave Richardson was also a writer of new material. They played ensemble instrumentals and the occasional song, equally divided between traditional sources from Ireland and Scotland.
Regrouped - The Eighties
The Boys of the Lough 1978/79 tour was billed as their final tour. However they returned a year later with Regrouped (1980). Robin Morton had left to found a Scottish folk music label called Temple Records (featuring such groups as the Battlefield Band). The "Regrouped" line-up had two new members, and eventually fiddler John Coakley was added, who remained with the group for the next 12 years. Their 1980s sound also included Christy O'Leary from County Kerry (uilleann pipes), who had previously toured with De Dannan. Tich Richardson (guitar, bass) died in a car accident in Scotland in 1984. In 1992 Boys of the Lough played at Carnegie Hall.
In 1993, the band took out The Day Dawn (1994). John Coakley left the band.
Several years later, the band took out Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (2002). The group invited guests to appear for a single album. Chris Newman (guitar) and Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian pipes) sat in with the group on tours and albums. After 32 years, Aly Bain left to play with other musicians, most notably Phil Cunningham (accordion), and was replaced in 2002 by fellow Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson of Fiddlers' Bid.
In 2006, Boys of the Lough participated in TG4's "Geantraí". An album of the same name was issued in 2007, with contributions from Boys of the Lough, Gerry O'Connor, Joe Burke, Noel Hill, Mairtín O'Connor and others.
- The Boys of the Lough (1973)
- Second Album (1973)
- The Boys of the Lough III (Live at Passim's) (1974) Track listing of 1997 reissue at irishtune.info.
- Lochaber No More (1976)
- The Piper's Broken Finger (1976)
- Good Friends ... Good Music (1977)
- Wish You Were Here (1978) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- Regrouped (1980) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- In the Tradition (1981) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- Open Road (1983) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- To Welcome Paddy Home (1985)
- Far From Home - Live (1986) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- Farewell and Remember Me (1987)
- Sweet Rural Shade (1988) Track listing at irishtune.info.
- The Session (1991) - a compilation from the albums In the Tradition, Regrouped, and Open Road. Track listing at irishtune.info.
- Live at Carnegie Hall (1992)
- The Fair Hills of Ireland (1992)
- The Day Dawn (1994)
- Midwinter Night's Dream (1996)
- The West of Ireland (1999)
- Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (2002)
- Twenty (2005)
- Rising Fawn Gathering with Norman Blake (2009)
- Contributing artist
- Boys of the Lough official site