Martin ‘Doc’ O ‘Carroll
Musician / Singer
Martin O ‘Carroll was born in the village of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo on 19th November 1939. His mother Catherine Collins was an American plus his father Frank was a local G. P. His siblings were John, Kieran, Bernadette, Isobel also Kathleen. While he was young the family moved to Ballinrobe town. He received his initial primary education at Ballinrobe CBS, followed by his secondary education at St. Nathy’s College Ballaghadeereen. He undertook further studies as a Radio Officer at Atlantic College, Dublin. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [i]
From a young age Martin O ‘Carroll displayed a love of music. He was an accomplished singer. He also played various instruments ie piano, guitar, banjo plus accordion. While studying in Dublin the lure of music proved very strong: he admitted in later years that his parents were shocked at his decision to go full – time into the music industry: ‘I could not blame them, I was throwing away everything for what must have been to them a big gamble.’ He played with the Pete Brown Showband also The Cleffonaires. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [ii]
During 1962 Mayo Promoter Andy Creighton formed Doc Carroll & The Royal Blues. By 1963 the band had become one of the biggest acts on the Irish scene plus embarked on an American tour. He released the Fats Domino number ‘Old Man Trouble’ during 1965, it spent weeks at the Number 1 slot. He toured in both England & America for the next forty years. The band broke up during 1972. He continued as a Solo Artist plus with played with groups ie. Doc Carroll & the Night Runners, Doc Carrol & the All – Stars from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. During 1983 he reunited with his old band, they played before a crowd of 2,000 people in Claremorris. In 2001 they played a week-long series at various venues in Ireland. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [iii]
The Royal Blues Showband started in 1963; they remained until 1972 at the top of their game as they also played support to other stars like Jim Reeves at Galway in May 1963. They were the first showband from west of the Shannon with success of their hit ‘Old Man Trouble.’ Following the breakup of the band they featured in the charts in late 1960’s with Doc Carroll & Shay O ‘Hara from Carlow. [iv]
Carroll married Mary Moran Athlone, Co. Westmeath on 30th January 1967. They had daughters Claudine, Nicola, plus sons Franklin & Conor. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [v]
Martin Carroll was a keen golfer, angler also a snooker player in his free time. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [vi]
During the final days of his illness at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital in Dublin his family gathered around. They sang to him including his favourite song ‘Blueberry Hill.’ ‘He tried to protect us to the end, He didn’t want us to be sad at all’ one member of his family stated. His demise occurred on 1st May 2005. Irish Times 7th May 2005 [vii]
Friends & family reported that his priorities in life were religion, family, music also sport. He was a willing but quiet worker for his charitable endeavours.
A family member stated that ‘He lived by the Ten Commandments, was a great advisor, mentor to many people, including all of us in his family.’
At his funeral Fr P. J. Hughes told the congregation that ‘He had a great love of music, life, his family and God. He would love to be here with his many friends.’
Tony Allan stated that ‘Doc was a showband legend, and a friend to many people in the music industry.
Singer Donna McCaul said she owed “an awful lot to Doc”. She reported that “He gave me great encouragement. I played with Doc and the Showband Stars for two years and it was a great experience.” [viii]
Musicians bade farewell to showband legend Doc Carroll, the singer who had a hit with ‘Old Man Trouble’ during 1966. He was remembered by friends plus fans of the music industry at a Mass in St. Mary’s Church. Mourners were told by the Celebrant Rev. Fr. P J Hughes that the musician had played with several of the biggest names in music during his forty years career. He had played in Carnegie Hall, New York during 1976. Fr Hughes told the congregation that Martin Carrol ‘had a great love of music, life, his family and God. He would love to be here with his many friends.’ Liam Horan Irish Times 5th May 2005 [ix]
Musicians from around Ireland paid tribute to former Royal Blues showband star Doc Carroll aged sixty – three who has died following a long illness in Dublin. Martin was originally from Mayo but lived in Athlone for some years. His most famous hit ‘Old Man Trouble’ was recorded during 1966, it stayed at number 1 in the Irish Charts for nine weeks. His career spanned over forty years. He recorded twenty – six singles during that time. Tom Felle Irish Independent 3rd May 2005 [x]
Doc Carroll is mentioned in the memory section at this link: https://www.irish-showbands.com/inmemory.htm
The story of The Royal Blues Showband formed during 1963 may be viewed at this site: http://www.irish-showbands.com/Bands/royalblues.htm
A Utube of Doc Carroll singing ‘Mountains of Mayo’ is at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNsHGT3-nVg
His ‘All the Way home to Mayo’ is on this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJHj5SHnauI
His ‘The Music Man’ may be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGiz_AaLARM
In the Connaught Telegraph dated 20th October 2020 on page 25, Tom Gillespie published an article that included images of ‘Doc’ Carroll.
Michael Cummins in his column ‘Back Chat’ on the 12th of January 2021 edition of The Mayo News mentioned that Doc Carroll had the distinction of being the first West of Ireland Singer to have a Top 20 hit in Ireland’s ratings with his song ‘Old Man Trouble.’ Henry Mc Glade hosted a three – part session on Sky191 (Jan 14th, 21st & 28th 2021) that covered the Royal Showband Show in Claremorris during 1988.
[i] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed May 30th 2020]
[ii] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed May 30th 2020]
[iii] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed May 30th 2020]
[iv] The Showband Era (https://irish-memories.com/music/show-band-era-co-mayo-james-reddiough/ ) [assessed 29th May 2020]
[v] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed 29th May 2020]
[vi] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed 29th May 2020]
[vii] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed 29th May 2020]
[viii] Quiet Stalwart https://www.irishtimes.com/news/quiet-stalwart-of-the-show-band-scene-1.439215) [assessed 29th May 2020]
[ix] Musicians bid farewell (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/musicians-bid-farewell-to-showband-legend-doc-1.437765 ) [assessed May 30th 2020]
[x] Death of ‘Doc’ Carroll (https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/death-of-doc-old-man-trouble-carroll-25983220.html) [assessed May 30th 2020]