Honored February 16, 2002. R.I.P.
When great fiddlers’ names are bandied about, you can always count on Paddy Reynolds to be included. His talent as a legendary player has been recognized in the U.S. since his emigration in 1949. Paddy was the seventh of eight children born to James and Mary Ann Reynolds on Dec. 17, 1920 in Dromard, S. Mary’s, Co. Longford. His mother, a violinist, taught him his first twelve tunes starting at age six. He first came to Staten Island in March of 1949 and lived in Brooklyn before moving to the Bronx in 1951 when he and his wife Elizabeth got married. In the South Bronx area in the 1950’s were many outstanding musicians like Lad O’Beirne, Andy McGann, Tim Harte, Paddy Killoran and others. These musicians had memorable times sharing their heart-felt music from their homeland in neighborhood music clubs, cabarets and, of course, the house sessions in the South Bronx tenements. The times and the music were great even if the money wasn’t. Also in the 1950’s and 60’s the Gaelic League featured all the best traditional musicians available in New York and Paddy was a stellar member of that corps. His wonderful sweet music kept the dancers happy and graceful out on the floor. Paddy was a familiar figure at area feisianna where timing and tempo were important for stepdancers and also a frequent star at the Snug Harbor Irish Festivals out in Staten Island. His music will endure on several recordings he made with Eugene O’Donnell, Jerry Wallace, Andy McGann and Paul Brady and his image was captured quite prominently for all to see in the movie The Devil’s Own playing away on his fiddle. A sure Hall of Famer!
– Paul Keating