An amazing 44 years after they played there first ever gig there, the famed Smokey Mountain Ramblers will return to the Longford Arms on Friday week, October 19, as one of the legendary groups of the Irish music scene re-groups.
Masterminding their comeback tour will be local promoter, Mattie Fox, who told the Leader that there has been a massive ourpouring of goodwill and excitement about the planned reunion. He is understandably especially pleased that they have been able to co-ordinate the first gig for the re-grouped band back in the Longford Arms.
It was there in Novmemebr 1968 that the group which were credited with being the first Irish act ever to popularise ‘pure country music’ emerged onto the scene and quickly drew praise from the likes of the legendary Christy Moore, Big Tom and media figures like John Waters and Sam Smyth.
Backbonded by George Kay and Pat Ely the group presented a whole new sound, ‘Pure Country, and it was the first time that Irish audiences were presented with a dance band that played country all night.
The Irish dancing public flocked to the new act in their thousands and they quickly started to garner huge radio and TV coverage. It wasnt unusual for some of their shows to attract audiences of 2,000 people. Hit records, TV show appearances as well as tours of the UK and Germany followed. It was a whirlwind five years for the group before they decided to drift off into quieter ways of life for themselves. However all remained connected one way or another to the industry and most important of all, remained in contact and on good terms.
See next week’s Leader for an extended interview with the group ahead of their eagerly awaited visit to the Longford Arms on Oct 19.