19 April 2024

Farewell, Mick

I’m relatively short of space again this week but I just wanted to write a brief tribute to one of my greatest friends, who died last week.

Mick McGarry was a living legend – and that was official, as the Hull Daily Mail once included him on its list of local icons – and I’m sure there are numerous people in our region, especially linked to the folk scene, who will remember him with fondness and good humour.

I was privileged to accompany him and Dr Brian Lavery on a tour of the Twelve Silk Handkerchiefs production in late 2019, and, boy, did we have fun. I remember, at one hotel after a performance, setting about its “honesty” bar with some vigour. The bill the next morning was fairly eye-watering, so let’s just say that were very honest indeed that night!

Mick, who had a wonderful, warm yet powerful voice, taught me practically everything I know about folk singing – and drinking – and I’ll miss him so much. He was also against discrimination of any form, and a long-standing trade unionist and campaigner for workers’ rights.

I’m looking forward to singing songs in his memory in the coming weeks, and would like to express my deepest sympathies to his wife Mary and family. Rest in peace, Mick.

PHOTO: Ray Duffill – a composite image to promote Hedfest, where Mick performed with the Hillbilly Troupe