Salut! Lives

John Prine RIP. No more happy enchiladas ...

Image: Ron Baker. CC BY 3.0,

Not all who contribute to the pages of Salut! Live and Salut! are people I have met. Renata Baraldi, author of a supremely moving coronavirus-related essay from Lombardy, is known to me only on social media, where we have a mutual acquaintance and demonstrate similar musical tastes.
Stan Wilson is American and drops by here, and at Facebook, to exchange thoughts on music. He alerted me to news of John Prine falling victim to Covid-19 and, at that time, fighting for his life in hospital. I awoke today to another alert from Stan, the one I feared. John died on Tuesday at the Vanderbilt University medical centre in Tennessee. He was 73.
And Stan sent me these words of tribute and sadness ...

Continue reading "John Prine RIP. No more happy enchiladas ..." »

Mary McPartlan RIP: 'her loss is huge'

Mary McPartlan, in the middle of the photo, flanked by Gerry Driver and Lisa Knapp*

As the years pass, we get accustomed to hearing unwelcome news about contemporaries while also, and especially in these sad times, wondering about our own mortality.

That familiarity with death does not make it any easier to learn of the passing of those you valued, whether or not you actually knew them that well, or at all.

I never met the Irish singer, producer and broadcaster Mary McPartlan, who has died from cancer at 65. But her music made a significant impression on me and it was with great sadness that I saw this Facebook post from my confrere Colin Irwin ...

Continue reading "Mary McPartlan RIP: 'her loss is huge'" »

RIP Roy Bailey and Bill Caddick, mighty figures of folk

Bailey and Benn - 1

With great sadness, I record the loss of two more important and endearing figures of British folk music.

Roy Bailey, who died this week aged 83, was a passionate fighter for social justice. You could either agree or disagree with his left-wing politics but that his commitment was genuine could not be denied. His rich, strong voice echoes in the mind as I write this, and I recall with fondness his work with the late Labour MP Tony Benn, Roy's songs interspersing with the politician's recital of chapters from his book, The Writing on the Wall.

Continue reading "RIP Roy Bailey and Bill Caddick, mighty figures of folk" »

Dolores O'Riordan RIP: Limerick schoolgirl French, énergie and complicité

Author: Colin Randall


In 2010, after a concert in Nice, I described the Cranberries as a guilty pleasure. I shall quote the odd extract as we go on but you can read one of the articles I wrote then at this link. Now, at the wretchedly early age of 46, the band's lead singer Dolores O'Riordan, is no more. She died in London in circumstances, while not suspicious, that are still under investigation.

Continue reading "Dolores O'Riordan RIP: Limerick schoolgirl French, énergie and complicité" »

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


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.

Continue reading "As Vin Garbutt is laid to rest, let Kate Rusby lead the tributes ..." »

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 ...

Continue reading "Two John Norths: Vin Garbutt as remembered by Mike Amos" »