Yes – we lost so many greats last year that it’s going to take Mark & Val two Foolkiller Folk shows to honor them. Today’s show covers January through August. You’ll be hearing songs and tunes from Norma Waterson, Peter Mooney, Guitar Shorty, Judy Henske, Dennis Cahill, Michael Moloney, Judith Durham, and Darryl Gatwick Hunt.
Norma Waterson, known as the “matriarch of the royal family of British folk music”, was an English singer and songwriter, best known as one of the original members of the Watersons, a celebrated English traditional folk group performing from the 1960s to 2007. She was awarded an MBE (member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to folk music at the Queen’s 2003 New Year Honours. We lost Norma Waterson on January 30 of 2022.
Peter Maloney, known professionally as Pete St John, was an Irish folk singer-songwriter best known for composing The Fields of Athenry, recorded by several artists and a recording by Paddy Riley, released in 1982, remained in the Irish charts for 72 weeks. Pete St John won a number of awards including the Irish Music Rights Organization Irish “Songwriter of the Year”. He died in Dublin on March 12 2022 at the age of 90.
Guitar Shorty (David William Tierney) was an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter known for his explosive guitar style and wild stage antics and credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. Guitar Shorty recorded and toured from the 1950s until the 2020s. He died on April 20, 2022 at the age of 87.
Judy Henske was an American singer and songwriter dubbed “the Queen of the Beatniks”. Initially performing in folk clubs in the early 1960s, her performances and recordings embraced blues, jazz, show tunes, and humorous material. Her 1963 recording of “High Flying Bird” has been cited as an influence on folk rock. After taking an extended break from music beginning in the 1970s, she returned to performing in Los Angeles clubs in the 1990s and appeared in the 2011 documentary Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune. Judy passed away on April 27 2022 at the age of 85 after a long illness.
Dennis Cahill was an American guitarist born of parents from County Kerry, Ireland who specialized in Irish traditional music. In the late 1980s, he and Irish fiddler Martin Hayes formed a band in Chicago which combined traditional music with rock and roll. After its demise in 1992, Cahill and Hayes continued to work together, forming an acoustic duo in 1996. In 1999 a New York Times reviewer described their approach as “stripping old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes”. We lost Dennis Cahill on June 20, 2022.
Mick Moloney was an Irish-born American musician and scholar. He was the artistic director of several major arts tours and co-founded Green Fields of America, an ensemble of Irish musicians, singers, and dancers which toured across the US. Maloney also wrote the book Far from the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song published in 2002 with a supplementary CD on Shanachie Records. In recognition of his work in public folklore, he received a 1999 National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA. Mick Moloney died at 77 on July 27, 2022, at his home in Manhattan having played at the Maine Celtic Festival less than a week before.
Judith Durham was an Australian singer, songwriter, and musician who in 1963 became the lead singer of the Australian group The Seekers, the first Australian pop music group to achieve major charts and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States, selling over 50 million records worldwide and receiving the nation’s top honor as “Australians of the Year 1967”. Judith left the Seekers in July 1968 for a subsequent solo career, recording through age 75. She passed away on the 5th of August 2022.
Darryl Gatwick Hunt was an English musician and singer-songwriter who was best known for playing bass guitar in the Pogues. He first joined the Pogues in 1984 as their driver, front-of-house sound engineer, and road manager for an autumn tour supporting Elvis Costello, began playing bass with the band in September of 1986, and remained their bass player and occasional songwriter for the rest of the band’s career.