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As Vin Garbutt is laid to rest, let Kate Rusby lead the tributes ...

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Since the rotten news of Vin Garbutt's death, I have seen countless photos, video clips and verbal tributes. Among them all, what you see above speaks volumes for me since it couples two of the people from English folk that I most treasure, Vin with Kate Rusby.

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Two John Norths: Vin Garbutt as remembered by Mike Amos

I make no apology for returning to Vin Garbutt, the magnificent and much-loved Teesside singer, songwriter and storyteller who died last week aged 69. Vin's widow Pat and the rest of the family have announced that the funeral will take place at Middlesbrough Cathedral, Coulby Newham, on Friday at noon, after which Vin will be laid to rest at Eston Cemetery. It is to my immense regret, having heard the recent BBC Tees interview with Vin (see below), that I while I knew he had previously been unwell, I was unaware of his recent major surgery and therefore not prompted - as were many - to renew contact with a man I had known, albeit mostly at long distance, for most of my life.
My own little tribute appears here and I am grateful that many more people than usually visit the pages of Salut! Live have seen it.
My friend, former colleague and journalistic mentor Mike Amos, an award-winning if now semi-retired columnist for The Northern Echo knew Vin well. One of Mike's regular features was John North, a beautifully written daily look at North-eastern people and ways; the clip you see above is how Vin, in his own way with his song The Land of Three Rivers (John North), also captured the region's essence. Features Mike has written about Vin in the past appear to have fallen off that part of the world that is the Echo website.
But this is from Mike's own site, Grass Routes (well worth a read for anyone interested in the people of the North East: it calls itself "thumbs-up journey with North-east football folk" but is actually much more than that). It was published on the day of Vin's death, June 6 ...

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Vin Garbutt RIP: if the river Tees could sing, he would be its voice

As we grow older, news of contemporaries dying becomes depressingly routine. Some deaths hit harder than most, however, and it is with immense sadness that I record the passing of a man I regard as probably the best solo performer on the British folk circuit, Vin Garbutt.

Vin was a charming, funny, self-deprecating man but also a quite wonderful artist who could draw an audience into the palm of his hand with that roaring voice, exemplary stage presence and down-to-earth wit.

A Boro lad through and through (despite his across-the-divide Orange and Green Irish parentage), he'd worked at ICI. The voice, it always seemed to me, could have come from nowhere else and I once wrote that if the river Tees could sing, it would sound like him.

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Leonard Cohen RIP: the song with Jennifer Warnes that will always be with me


Not an obituary - just a short, quick tribute ...


Very sad to hear of the death, albeit at 82, of Leonard Cohen.

Many of his songs made an impact on me, though I have never been a great fan of Hallelujah, less because of the song than because of what it has been turned into. Give me One of Us Must Know, Suzanne, So Long Marianne and Famous Blue Raincoat among many others.

But above all, I think this morning of Maid of Orleans and his super, haunting duet with Jennifer Warnes.

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Dave Swarbrick: the little giant of British folk-rock. RIP

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A further article about Dave Swarbrick's death - with a poignant message from his widow Jill ("a privilege to be married to the old sod ... such colour and energy, love and that fiddle!") - now appears at http://www.francesalut.com/2016/06/dave-swarbrick-folk-fiddler-exemplaire.html, where Jill also enables me to clarify the circumstances of his passing.

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John Renbourn RIP: a belated tribute to a great musician

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Image from a Facebook page devoted to John and his music: https://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Renbourn/108178259210311?fref=ts


How to catch up
on the death of a deservedly revered figure of the British folk scene when it occurred on March 26 and we're now at April 13.

That was the test I set myself.

So I had a quick look around my huge collection of old CDs, incongruously stacked on shelving in the garage, and came up with two sent to me long ago by record companies or agents promoting John's work in days when I was The Daily Telegraph's folk critic.

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