Take The Bull By The Horns

By Tom Doherty

Nine comments

Tom Doherty ~

From the extensive liner notes written for the cassette by Becky Miller, just the first paragraph of many:

“Born on April 11th, 1913, in Mountcharles, Co. Donegal, Tom Doherty is one of the few remaining exponents of the melodeon - a single-row button accordion. He plays in an old style common to the north of Ireland and possesses a store of rarely played tunes learned from a diversity of sources. Tom Doherty and his music offer a glimpse into a way of life which is fast disappearing: a rural lifestyle steeped in oral tradition and a culture where music, song and dance serve as a cohesive community force.”

I have always loved the old single row boxes and the lift their players gave and give to the dance in the music…

I just found this on eMusic.com after looking for years. I used to have it on cassette, I think he made it in the 1980s. Great banjo on some tracks too, from his daughter I think. Solid stuff.

Oh. Not by his daughter (she’s in Cherish the Ladies and plays whistle & flute on this recording). but banjo is by Mick Moloney and Mary Coogan

Bridge O’Learys(Sweeneys)

By the way, does anyone know the name of the second polka in this set? It was familiar from something I’d heard before, possibly not Irish. I’ve tried searching for it with abc but can’t find it, but when I play it at a session, people seem to know it.

It’s in D with 2nd part in A
By my poor abc reckoning, it starts A/B/A/G/FA|def

Three Sisters Reels on Tom Doherty recording


On the Tom Doherty album - Take the Bull By the Horns - track 1 is titled The Three Sisters reels. What are the names of the 3 reels Tom Doherty plays?

Also, anyone what to take a guess how Tom’s Walters D tuned melodeon was tuned and how many reeds sets? 4 -5 reeds sets: LMMM or LMMMH? Sounds pretty wet to me.



Re: Three Sisters Reels on Tom Doherty recording

The first tune bears some resemblance to an Altan track known as “A Fermanagh Highland” , though it also differs a fair bit, not least in rhythm
have a look here:

I think Iris Nevins on here is familiar with Tom Doherty’s music so maybe she can help

“Dear Old Erin’s Isle: Irish Traditional Music From America”


You’ll fine 4 more tracks of Tom’s playing on this CD.

Apologies for not doing my usual, chasing up the gan ainms and giving that information here. I will try to do that, or if someone else does then just let me know and I’ll make the updates to the track listings…

Track 1 - 3 reels ‘The Three Sisters’

I’ve been trying to pull together more information on this track, transcribing the three reels and seeking names and connections for them. Much is familiar, but so far no single connection made covers both parts of any one of these. So, I’ll add the sisters names and will add my transcriptions so that there’s more than just me wandering about these three. 😉