Oh Death – – –

Another very sad post by Jack – –

colin

I first met Colin when he helped organize the folk-song concerts at the Music Hall in Aberdeen during the first Bon Accord Festival in 1965. At the time I was half of a duo with Barbara Dickson and we played every night for a week as top of the bill.

We kept in touch and by the early 1970s he was booking guests for Aberdeen folk club. This was when I was erroneously billed in the local newspaper as Jeff Beck (not his fault). Lots of disappointed punters but a profitable night for the club!

Shortly after that he moved down to Fife to take up the position as a teacher of English in a local high school, where he was able to introduce the study of Scots ballads to the curriculum. After that he was a regular at parties and ceilidhs at my house and those of other friends in the area.

He was a wonderful singer with a deep and rich repertoire of Doric song, but never had any real interest in either recording or getting gigs, which meant he never got the recognition he deserves.

More recently, after my move to the US, he helped me and Wendy with our small group tours of Scotland and Ireland. As an excellent driver he was the natural choice to drive the minivan, but he quickly turned into joint tour guide. His running commentaries along the way after I ran out of wind and stories endeared him to everyone and he stayed in touch with many folk over here.

I would usually fly over to Edinburgh a few days beforehand, rent a car, drive to Colin’s house where he’d feed me mince and tatties. Then use his place as my base for visiting friends and family, before we’d pick up the minivan at the end, just before the tour started. During these evenings we’d feed each other our favorite YouTube discoveries which always included this –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYwbpCm2apA

Back in the 1960s I bought a very early MGB Roadster and eventually sold it to Colin, who did lots of refurbishing. Eventually he sold it back to me and it crossed the Atlantic! Our mutual friend David bought it from me as a birthday gift for his wife Susan and it is currently being completely rebuilt in North Carolina – – – it’s in this video and so is Colin!

I was right in the middle of recording a radio show about his friend and mentor Arthur Argo when I got the message that Wendy needed to speak to me urgently!

I was stunned by her news that Colin had just died. I’m obviously of an age now when I’m bound to lose old friends (or them me), but this was a real jolt. I still can’t quite believe it.

Driving home this morning after recording the radio shows I remembered that my black funeral suit is hanging in his guest room closet – – -along with so many memories.

Rest in Peace Colin. No one deserves it more.

 

12 Comments

Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

12 responses to “Oh Death – – –

  1. I’m so sorry for your deep loss. Bless you!

  2. Jack, I am weeping watching this I’m Arizona. Colin was a dear man who
    I enjoyed hosting at Ballyeamon, great company, wonderful positive energy.

  3. Mary

    I am weeping as well. 😦 He will be missed.

  4. Barbara Beckner Thompson

    Thank you I Love this! So much History and Joy! Life well Lived !

  5. bex

    I was reminded, 32 years and one day as of your posting of what my Scottish grandfather said at the death of my mother, his oldest daughter. “We enjoyed her while we had her.” Indeed, in deed, and safe home.

  6. Lorna Finch

    My sister-in-law in Dunfermline forwarded me this link. I only met Colin once in her kitchen but he was a good friend to my brother and her. And when my brother died in 2000, Colin wrote a beautiful eulogy about him and I have treasured his words. Colin actually bought their house in Saline and shared a madness for MGBs with them and spent many hours in their kitchen blathering. I live in Missouri now but I and the family in Dunfermline that I reference were all reared in the North of Ireland and then, as many before us did, scattered across the world. So I add my sadness at the passing of another and the loss of a quare conversationalist.
    Lorna Finch

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