The first was a 3-voice D/D# dark grey one, with aluminium grille, that may have been made just before, or just after WWII.
Joe with the Tulla Céilí Band, 1947-8 or 1951-3.
Then, in 1953, when his friends bought him a new silver-grey to take to America with him, Joe sold the "old grey" to fellow Tulla band box player Joe McNamara (Christy McNamara's father) who worked at Our Lady's Hospital in Ennis and kept it at Sean Reid's house in the town, for when he needed a box there.
I'm told that Tony McMahon borrowed it from Sean's house, but by then it no longer had its original bass end, and then Tony got a French accordion maker to do some work on it - and it seems he destroyed the original reeds!
However, Charlie Harris has since restored it for its new owner, and the original bass end has been retrieved and put back on it.
Charlie reckons the 2-coupler silver-grey (below) was Joe's only C#/D (though he is so
identified with the C#/D box!
) and that that model was the first Paolo Soprani one to be made in C#/D.
Paddy O'Brien and Joe Cooley, surrounded by a sea of Irish-American (Baldoni and Walters) boxes and their players:
John Lavelle often played with Joe, and here he is (on the outside row of his red 9-coupler D/C#), with Billy Soden (drums) and Joe Cooley (on the inside row of his silver-grey 2-coupler C#/D) playing together in the Blarney Club ballroom:
But, sadly, Joe's silver-grey "fell overboard" off a boat and got drowned!
He next got an early '60's 2-coupler red D/D# box, which is the one that Jeremy Kammerer has.
And interestingly, John Lavelle got the identical 2-coupler red box (so probably bought around, or even at, the same time), and his appears to have been converted (from C#/D?) to D/C# because I've examined it (seeing that it now belongs to a friend of mine in San Francisco) and there's loads more wax on the blocks than the factory would ever have used.
Joe's final box was a red 3-voice D/D# that Charlie tells me was bought for him by The Dubliners in the late '60s, and the first photo of it that I know of was taken in 1969 by Joe's wife Nancy, showing Joe Cooley, Kevin Keegan and James Keane playing together at the Cooleys' apartment in San Francisco.
Here's a crop of Joe, from that photo:
It's the same 3-voice, red-badge, red box that he was filmed playing in 1973 (Joe Cooley 1924 - 1973
) and the one he's playing on his album.
I've heard Joe may have left that one to a friend and neighbour in Peterswell, but nobody seems to know for sure.