Anybody with even a passing interest in British folk music will be choked by news of the death of Mike Waterson, who passed away on Tuesday.
Not only was he one of the great interpreters of traditional song, throwing himself into a narrative with all the mannerisms and instinctive inflections of a born storyteller, he was a master of wordplay, writing what he would self-effacingly describe as "ditties", whether Rubber Band ("We're the band to catapult to stardom/ We'll never get wound up, we're never slack") from his classic 1972 album Bright Phoebus with sister Lal; or the celebrated A Stitch in Time*, inspired by a newspaper story he'd read that describes, in delicious detail, the highly ingenious revenge of a battered wife who sews her drunken husband into his bed while he's asleep.* Wish I could find the version of 'A Stitch in Time' recorded by Maddy Prior & the Girls - you'll just have to take my word for it, an excellent song and a great recording (as would be expected). I linked to Lal's 'Fine Horseman' from 'Bright Phoebus' rather than the title track, as it's my favourite song from that album (one I don't have and haven't heard all that often either - it is very scarce - there's a discussion as to why here, but it is just an online discussion ok? I don't think the BBC programme about it is available anywhere now). EDIT - see Rosalind's comment below for a link to 'A Stitch in Time' - highlight and right click the url to open it. EDIT - also found this good youtube clip of Martin Carthy singing it. Love the line,
'Oh isn't it true what small can do
With a thread and a thought and a stitch or two'
Obituary in the Guardian
Hull Daily Mail
The Good Old Way, from 'For Pence and Spicy Ale'.
Heard the news from friends early yesterday morning.