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August 2012

Neil Johnston RIP: a great loss to Irish music

Neil JohnstonImage: The Burns Library, Boston College

The death in Belfast of Neil Johnston, a great friend and absolute authority on Irish music, is being recorded at each of my main websites, Salut! Sunderland and Salut! as well as here. He loved football, too, and we were both journalists, therefore giving us at least three shared passions.

I saw an early, nervy Dervish with Neil long ago at the Belfast folk festival. We saw Vin Garbutt together in Downpatrick, Sharon Shannon in Belfast and many, many more. He loved telling me about his small occasional royalty cheques as the co-writer of a Four Men and a Dog album track. He was an all-round brilliant man and I freely admit I was devastated today to hear of his death. This is how I paid tribute at one of the other sites ...

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