The Clare slide played by Micho Russell

Transcription and commentary by Peter Laban, 1 September 2002

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As a change from the jigs and the reels, a slide is presented here. In the popular perception slides, polkas and the like have become strongly associated with Co. Kerry. Older musicians maintain however that in times past there were nor nearly so many slides and polkas played in Kerry as there are today. Nor are they a completely unknown form in other counties. While people at my local session almost weekly tease Jackie Daly for importing "foreign music" into our midst, there are definitely some slides associated with Co. Clare (although admittedly they are often found in the southwest area which had busy cross-Shannon traffic).

Whatever the way, this is a slide Micho Russell played: he called it The Clare slide even if it may have been imported into Clare from North Kerry. This is one of two slides from Micho's playing that were recorded by Jackie Daly and Kevin Burke on Eavesdropper. A transcription from that recording can be found in Brendan Breathnach's Ceol Rinnce na hÉireann Vol. 3 (tune no. 52) where it is called O Callaghan's (which happens to be the common name for the second slide Micho plays on the recording under investigation).


Micho treats the slide with a steady and distinctly subtle rhythm. This is in large part achieved by playing notes separately, not separated by any cuts in a lot of cases. His tone is as clear as ever and he turns the very simple tune into a foot-tapping experience.

Peter Laban, 1 September 2002