This musician’s style of playing his instrument was considered tight – it never extended the bellows of the accordion.
Tom or Tommy Walsh was born during 1882 he lived at Rosbeg adjacent to Westport Quay in Co. Mayo.
As a young man he emigrated to Scotland as a seasonal worker during the early 20th century. It was in Scotland that he discovered the accordion. Prior to that time he had played the melodeon. He spent many years between Ireland and Scotland where he enjoyed playing with many Irish and Scottish musicians.
When this lifestyle ended he returned to Westport with his new gray Paulo Soprani accordion plus a wealth of Scottish tunes. His fellow local musicians were so impressed with his instrument that many abandoned the melodeon in favour of the accordion. He was a talented committed tutor to his students. He entertained at Ceilis or house dances. Among his large repertoire of songs was his signature tune; the Scottish ‘Shuffling Sammy.’
During 1954 he featured along with his son Tom in ‘Cavalcadal Music – a highly successful variety show in Westport’s Town Hall. He was one of the first accordion players to be recorded on Radio Eireann, Athlone. He recorded ‘The Rakes of Kildare’ plus other jigs in Jury’s Hotel, Dublin. Prior to the emergence of musicians playing in Irish pubs during the 1960’s Tommy Walsh played with family and friends at Peggy Brawn’s premises at Westport Quay.
His demise occurred during 1963.
Cathair na Mart Historical Journal 2012 Pages 87 – 89 Keating, Charlie.