Saturday, August 21, 2010

Inspirational Cork figure supplied instruments to musicians

"Michael Crowley:�NOT SURPRISINGLY, musicians from all parts of Ireland attended the funeral of Michael Crowley, the owner of a Cork institution, Crowley’s Music Centre on McCurtain Street in the heart of the city, who has died at the age of 69.

It was from Michael Crowley that Rory Gallagher, renowned blues-rock electric guitar player, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader, got his first small acoustic guitar.

It was also at Crowley’s that 15-year-old Gallagher later bought the famous “Strat”, the emblematic 1961 Fender Stratocaster that became the trademark of his distinctive style. A sculpture of the much-battered and stained electric guitar, reputedly the first of its kind in Ireland, is to be seen in Paul Street on the other side of the Lee.

The story goes that Jim Connolly, a member of the Irish Show Band, originally ordered a cherry-red Strat and so, when a “sunburst” version arrived from Fender, he decided not to buy it. Crowley put the gleaming instrument in the shop window as secondhand, with a price tag of just under �100, a lot of money for a teenager in 1963."

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