Michael J. Kennedy/Melodeon: 65 Years of Irish Music

By Michael J. Kennedy

Added by nate .

  1. The Three Little Drummers
  2. The Swallow Tail
  3. Sorry I Am
  4. The Morning Dew
  5. The Connaughtman’s Rambles
  6. The Liverpool
  7. Jack Welsh’s
  8. Johnny Will You Marry Me?
  9. Paddy Concannon’s
  10. Tom Grayhan’s
  11. Maggie McGee’s
  12. The Black Rogue
  13. The Heather Breeze
  14. The Cuckoo’s Nest
  15. Paddy In London
  16. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
  17. The Rocky Road To Dublin
  18. Lanigan’s Ball
  19. Somebody’s Watching, Pull Down The Blinds
  20. Maggie In The Woods
  21. That Quick
  22. The Frost Is All Over
  23. The Merry Harrier
  24. Unnamed
  25. Pop Goes The Weasel

Four comments

Re: Michael J. Kennedy/Melodeon: 65 Years of Irish Music

From the back of the album sleeve - - -

Biographical: Michael J. Kennedy learned his repertoire of over a hundred tunes between the ages of eleven and twenty-three while growing up in the County Galway, Ireland. When he came to America, that part of Ireland came too. In the fifty-four years that Michael has been playing in the Cincinnati area, his music has never lost the spirit and purity of the Irish tradition, and yet the versions of the traditional tunes he plays are uniquely his own. Michael Kennedy truly deserves to call himself the “author of this music.”

The Melodeon: Michael’s instrument, the melodeon, though it looks like an accordion, has the harmonica as its closest relative (Michael’s is made by Hohner Company). Each of the buttons raises a clapper that covers four holes over the reed pan. These clappers are exposed on Michael’s instrument and can be heard as he plays. The reeds are arranged so that each button can play two notes, one by pushing the bellows and one by pulling. By progressing down the fingerboard and alternately pushing and pulling the bellows, one can play two full octaves of a G-major scale. The four large stops atop the instrument open and lcose the four holes under each clapper, thereby controlling the number of parallel octaves played by the corresponding reeds. Michael plays with all stops open (parallel four octaves).

The Recordings: The recordings were made in the studios of WAIF-FM in Cincinnati, Ohio on a Stellavox Mono recorder using Neumann microphones. At Michael’s request, a handful of friends (Grey Larsen, John Harrod and Malcolm Dalglish) were on hand for the recordings. Michael sees his music as most functional in a group situation: playing in pubs, for dances, etc. So it was his hope to suggest a live performance by having his friends on hand for the taping. It is their applause that is heard at the end of each tune.

Produced by Appalseed Field Recording Project
Recorded, mixed & edited by John McCutcheon
Notes by Michael Kennedy, Malcolm Dalglish & Steve Rausch
Artwork by Marlene Steele
Photography by Malcolm Dalglish
Design by Jonathan Greene

June Appal is a recording company committed to pruduce records of music & tales originating in Appalachia. It is a part of Appalshop, a non-profit media collective. Current catalogs available upon request from June Appal Recordings, Box 743, Whitesburg, Kentucky 41858

1977 by June Appal Recordings

Appalseed is an Appalachian-based project dedicated to the documentation & preservation of old time music through field recordings.

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There was an insert sheet, which I gather was written by Michael J. Kennedy, but I’ve not yet been able to find access to its content. There is a blurry unreadable photo of this on Discogs. If anyone does have access to this maybe you’d consider adding it here, where it would be a welcome addition of appreciation…

Re: Michael J. Kennedy/Melodeon: 65 Years of Irish Music

From the Wikipedia ‘Bios’ links above - the closing parenthesis ‘)’ missed the linking…

This includes a recording, a jig: “Sorry I Am”

- & notes:

“Michael J. Kennedy (1900–1978) - born in Flaskagh Beag in County Galway, and at age 11 took up playing the melodeon. In 1923 he emigrated to Cincinnati in the United States, and spent his career there working for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.”

“Kennedy’s instrument of choice was the Hohner 10-button melodeon in the key of G. Despite having emigrated, his lifelong selection of tunes was taken from those he learned in Galway.”

“The Knoxville, Tennessee branch of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is named in his honor.”

“Sixty-Five Years of Irish Music” (June Appal Recordings, 1977)
“The Green House” (Sleepy Creek, 2001) - three bonus tracks

The second ‘Bios’ link given by nate above seems to have expired!?:
http://www.detroitima.org - “This site can’t be reached”…

Re: Michael J. Kennedy/Melodeon: 65 Years of Irish Music

Some handwritten autobiographical notes from Michael Kennedy appear courtesy of Grey Larsen on his website at:


Mr. Kennedy indicates that the melodeon helped to displace professional fiddlers and pipers from playing at dances and parties in rural Ireland, the melodeon being affordable and easier to play for amateurs.

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