X:1 T:Gusty's Frolics M:9/8 L:1/8 R:Slip Jig S:O'Neill - 1001 Gems (1907), No. 444. (Appears as "Gurty's Frolics") Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D A,DD A,DD FEF|A,DD DFA GED|A,DD A,DD FzF|GFG ECE GFE:| |:FDF A2F A2F|FDF A2F GFE|FDF A2F A2F|GFG ECE GFE:| |:Add def gfg|Add dfa gfe|Add def g2g|gfg ece gfe:| |:fdf a2f a2g|fdf a2f gfe|fdf a2f a2f|gfg ece gfe:| |:aff dff dff|aff dfa gfe|aff dff dff|gfg ece gfe:| |:dff agf/e/ d2A|dff agf gfe|dff agf/e/ def|gfg ece gfe:| |:f/g/af dec dAF|DFA def gfe|f/g/af ded def|gfg ece gfe:| |:a/g/fe dfe d2d|afd def gec|d/f/ec dec dAF|G/A/BA GEF GFE:| |:A2A dcB A2B|AFD DFD EFG|AFA BGB cBA|GFG ECE GFE:||
GUSTY'S FROLICS ("Mireog Mic Gurtaig" or "Súgradh Aibhistín"). AKA – "Gurty's Frolics." Irish, Slip Jig. D Major/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCDD' (Feldman & O'Doherty): AABB'CCDD (O'Neill/Krassen): AABBCCDDAABBCC (Kennedy): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHII (O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHIIJJ (Stanford/Petrie). Originally a piper's tour-de-force, but apt to be played by fiddlers in modern times. Jackie Small points out that a tune that has survived with some many parts is relatively rare in the repertoire. O'Neill (1913) identifies the composer of this piece as Gustavis A. "Gusty" Nicolls, a landlord and an uilleann piper of the late 18th and early 19th century who lived near Carrigallen, in the southern part of County Leitrim. "Blessed with manly beauty, musical talents, and worldly wealth, Augustus earned the reputation of being an irresistible heartbreaker also," says O'Neill. Nichols was what would be considered a 'gentleman piper' and owned an estate at Rossan in the parish of Aughavas. Brian McNamara says the Nicols family had come to Ireland as part of the Cromwellian plantation, most of whom had settled in County Weatmeath. It is not known how Gusty's branch came to settle in Aughavas, Leitrim. In addition to his other successes, Nichols was remembered as a noted teacher of the pipes, especially for his ability to teach handicapped and disabled people (who often when young were groomed as professional musicians to be able to make their way in the world). McNamara records that one of Nicols' tenets and students, James Quinn, "spoke graciously of his generous teacher as a performer and a composer" (see note for "Old Man Quinn"). Another of his students was a cousin, Alex Nicols (1798–1860), known as 'Parson Nicols' as he became a minister of the Church of Ireland as well as a renowned piper himself. The melody also appears in the 19th century County Leitrim manuscript of musician Stephen Grier (1824–1894), where it is called "Gusty's Frolics."
Despite the attribution to Nicolls, O'Neill (1907) reprints the mistaken name/title "Gurty's Frolics" that first appeared in the Petrie collection. Breathnach (1985) remarks that the mixolydian mode is better for the tune. The melody is a popular slip-jig in Donegal. "Galway Jig (1) (The)" is a version of this tune. The earliest sound recording of "Gusty's" was by the famous turn-of-the-20th-century professional uilleann piper Patsy Touhey, who recorded it twice on wax cylinders. In the version on the cylinder released by the Dunn family ("Francis O'Neill Cylinders", CD Disc 2, track 7) Touhey plays an eight-part version of the tune and does not finish the second time through the tune before the cylinder runs out.