We’re very sad to report the passing of the legendary English traditional singer Mike Waterson (16.01.1941 – 22.06.2011) who died in the early hours of this morning following a long illness.
Our sympathies go out to his family. Read Colin Irwin’s tribute on the next page.
“The death of Mike Waterson in the early hours of June 22, 2011 after a long battle with cancer will hit anyone with even a passing interest in the modern British folk revival. Whether whooping and yelping as The Watersons went into overdrive or delivering his own wry ditties with the twinkling verve of a natural storyteller, he was a wonderful singer, whose influence on folk music spanned 50 magnificent years. He was also a terrific character with a sharp eye for the absurd and a passionate conviction in traditional song’s importance as an uplifting expression of working men and women’s values. Bright Phoebus, the album of self-written songs with his sister Lal Waterson, remains a solid gold classic and evidence of his enduring talent for clever, barbed lyricism is still evident in songs like A Stitch In Time, his tale of a wife’s retribution on her errant husband, which is still regularly performed across the country by a variety of artists. Looking frail at his emotional final performance with the Waterson Family at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull last year he still brought the house down as he sang – pint of beer in hand, trademark flat cap on his head – Tea’s Made, an hilarious diatribe about drinks and machines. Funny, unique, gifted, grounded and firmly devoted to the folk songs which he first recognised as a natural extension of the songs he sang with his grandmother and sisters Lal and Norma as a kid, Mike Waterson was one of the true greats.” Colin Irwin
Read Colin’s recent In-Depth Watersons feature on the blog. Listen to Mike singing The Charlady’s Son from his 1977 solo album on Topic above, watch him performing with The Watersons at Hull Truck Theatre in 2010 and read Derek Schofield’s Guardian obit. RIP Mike.