Folktrax-077: The Jolly Tinker - Michael Gorman, Irish Fiddler

By Michael Gorman

  1. Farrel O’Gara’s
  2. Doctor Gilbert
  3. The Jolly Tinker
  4. Bonny Kate
  5. Miss McLeod’s
  6. Barn Dance
  7. The Varsoviana
  8. The Valeta
  9. Quadrille Jig (untitled)
  10. The Jenny Lind
  11. Quadrille Jig (untitled)
  12. The Merry Old Woman
  13. Please Give A Penny To The Poor Old Man
  14. Dwyer’s
  15. Tell Her I Am
  16. Talk About His Life & Work & Job As Porter At Liverpool Street Railway Station In London
  17. Gannon’s Slip-jig
    Talk About Learning The Fiddle From Gannon After Seeing Michael Coleman Dancing And Playing This Tune
  18. Talk About Dancing And Music In His Family
  19. Advice To Beginners Starting The Fiddle And The Alphabet Method
  20. Talk
    Bonnie Kate
  21. The Merry Sisters
  22. The Kid On The Mountain

Four comments


[From archive of Peter Kennedy’s non-commercial field recordings available to libraries, academics and traditional musicians at]

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

From the liner notes:

“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 the ”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.

“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 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.

[Michael plays Tell Her I Am, The Merry Sisters, and The Kid on the Mountain slowly and in parts, then putting them together at tempo, as in modern recorded instructional materials. He also plays Bonnie Kate “straight” and then “with variations”.]

Folktrax recordings are available from Folktrax & Soundpost Publ., 16 Brunswick Squre, Gloucester GL1 1UG Tel +44 - (0)1452-415110 -

Lancers Quadrille

Tracks 10-15 are played as 5 figures of The Lancers Quadrille.

Tune names

Liner notes have Farrel O‘Gara’s as “Farrel O’Garry” and Miss McLeod’s as “Mrs. McLeod’s”. I was unsure of the protocol for correcting minor typos so I adjusted the tune-names to their common versions.

Sound Quality & Cost

One last comment. I should have mentioned that sound quality is excellent and that Folktrax recordings cost 10 pounds sterling.