McDermott's Shuffle

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McDERMOTT'S SHUFFLE. AKA and see "Fairy Reel (1) (The)," "Largo's Fairy Dance." American, Reel. USA, New York State. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune was recorded by fiddler John McDermott in 1926 as part of his "Virginia Reel Medley" (which also included "Miss McLeod's Reel (1)," "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and "Girl I Left Behind Me (1) (The)"). It is, however, a rather simplified version of Nathaniel Gow's well-known reel "Largo's Fairy Dance." McDermott (1869-1957) was a New York State fiddler, state champion in 1926 (not shy, he later laid claim to the 'world championhip'), and was regularly featured at the New York State Fair, held annually in Syracuse. McDermott had learned much of his repertoire from an older fiddler named "Happy Bill Daniels (1853-1923) or Varna, in Tompkins County. In 1926 he recorded a few sides for Bruswick Records and was listed on the label as a "Pioneer Fiddler and Caller," and he promoted his records with live appearances. He owned a hotel and restaurant in Cortland, and dabbled in politics in his younger years, and gradually his attention to these business diminished his performing. A friend recalled that McDermott frequently distributed tree seedlings when he performed at schools, and his obituary noted he "caused the planting of 4,600,000 trees by talking to students in schools through the state" [quoted in Bronner, 1987, p. 28]. The fiddler continued to perform occasionally well into old age (he died at age 87).

Source for notated version: John McDermott, 1926 (Cortland, near Syracuse, northern New York State) [Bronner].

Printed sources: Bronner (Old-Time Music Makers of New York State), 1987; No. 4, p. 27 (appears as part of "Virginia Reel Medley").

Recorded sources: Brunswick Br 20050 (78 RPM), John McDermott (1926).




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