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Bill Sullivan’s (A)

The polka “Bill Sullivan’s” is also called “Mickey Chewing Bubblegum,” but sometimes called “Kevin Burke’s” because he teaches it on DVD #1 of a pair entitled “Learn to Play Irish Fiddle: Polkas, Jigs & Slides” (Homespun Videos, 2002).  It’s interesting that it’s acquired the title “Kevin Burke’s” because he himself calls it “Bill Sullivan’s” on the DVD.  This might provide some insight into how tunes acquire new names: obviously, someone who learned the tune from his DVD couldn’t remember the name, but could remember cuzteahanmwho they learned it from, and so called it by his name. Still, the tune was actually composed by the Gleantann concertina, accordion, and fiddle player Terry “Cuz” Teahan (1905-1989) who at the time was a student of the great Sliabh Luachra fiddle master Pádraig O’Keeffe.  Teahan’s tune originally had a third part that has since been dropped.  I have not been able to find it.  Cuz Teahan then immigrated to Chicago in 1928. O’Keeffe continued to teach this polka to local musicians after Teahan left Ireland, and they in turn played it in sessions and taught it to others.  Bill Sullivan was a local player and student of O’Keeffe’s as well.  He taught this polka to Jackie Daly and Seamus Creagh, who recorded it for their album Jackie Daly agus Séamus Creagh (1977), and titled it “Bill Sullivan’s.” As a result, most people know the tune by this name.   Cuz Teahan some years ago indicated the generational provenance of Mick Moloney’s playing with a documented finger touch.

For the ABC click Bill Sullivan’s


A / D / A  /  E  / A / D / A E / A

A / D / A / (E) / A / D / A E / A

Bill Sullivan’s Polka, slow tempo (Jim Wendels, flute)

Bill Sullivan’s Polka, med tempo (Jim Wendels, flute)

Bill Sullivan’s Polka, med tempo (Eddie, mandolin)


Bill Sullivans

Bill Sullivans

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