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The famous Co Sligo player's earliest recording, made by Peter Kennedy in 1952, with 20 tunes, of which 6 are treated analytically, while Michael explains how he himself learned his music from James Gannon of Colloony, who taught the equally famous MICHAEL COLEMAN, who recorded in the USA. He gives advice for those starting to learn to play Irish music on the fiddle and explains his "Alphabetic System" which he himself used as a notation for tune-learning, and the need to develop each tune by means of variations, in order to develop the melodic & rhythmic interest.

1. Reel: FARREL GARRY (learned from James Gannon) - 1'09"

2. Reel: DOCTOR GILBERT (talk before about learning tune in 1907) - 1'31"

3. Reel: THE JOLLY TINKER (from Gannon) - 1'28"

4. Reel: BONNY KATE (from Gannon) - 2'49"

5. Mrs McCLEOD'S REEL (with variations) - 3'54"

6. BARN DANCE - 0'44"

7. POLKA MAZURKA (talk describing dance after) - 1'41"

8. THE VARSOVIANA (talk after) - 1'40"

9. THE VALETA (talk after) - 1'54"

10. QUADRILLE JIG - 1'05"


12. QUADRILLE JIG - 1'05"

13. Quadrille Jig: THE MERRY OLD WOMAN - 1'05"

14. The Last Figure of THE LANCERS ("Please give a penny to the poor old man") (talk before) - 1'32"

15. DWYER'S HORNPIPE - 2'55"

16. Jig: TELL HER I AM (3 parts played separately then up to tempo) - 3'09"

17. Talk about his life & work & his present job as porter at Liverpool Street Railway Station in London - 4'20"

18. GANNON'S SLIP JIG (Talk before about Hop & Slip Jigs/ after about learning the fiddle from Gannon after seeing Coleman dancing and playing this tune) - 4'50"

19. Talk about dancing and music in his family - 1'12"

20. Advice to beginners starting the fiddle and "The Alphabet Method" - 3'51"

21. Starting to play with example of BONNIE KATE - 4'51"

22. THE MERRY SISTERS (3-part Reel played slow then up to tempo) - 4'02"

23. THE KID ON THE MOUNTAIN (6-part Slip Jig played slow then up to tempo) - 5'14"

Recorded by Peter Kennedy in London 1952. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975.

MICHAEL GORMAN (1902-1969), born at Doocastle in Co. Sligo, started playing fiddle at the age of seven, when he became a pupil of James Gannon of Colloony, a teacher of many famous players including Michael Coleman and Peter James McDermott. During the sixties, Michael gave up his job on the railway and took to the road, in the company of the Irish street-singer and banjo-player, Margaret Barry, giving performances all over Britain and Ireland and the USA.

Margaret can be heard singing on FT-070 and accompanying Michael on FT-174.

Michael was heard playing his fiddle by a friend of Peter Kennedy's in a railway carriage on the journey to Ireland in 1950. Michael, then a porter at Liverpool Street Station in London, had lost a suitcase containing all his personal belongings. He still had his fiddle which he had taken out of the Guards Van in order to "play himself back into happiness" and the sound of his playing attracted Peter's friend and the information he passed to Peter was soon acted upon. In fact this was the first of many hundreds of recordings of Irish musicians that Peter was to make over the next twenty years. It was not long before Michael became a well-known figure on the Revival Folk Scene, particularly in the Camden Town district of London, at the "Bedford" pub and at Cecil Sharp House, headquarters of The English Folk Dance and Song Society.


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