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Wildcat Traditional Music Association Newsletter 36

21st September 2005

It seems like ages since Tich Frier's visit on the 12th of August, and a grand night of song and laughter it was too! It was satisfying to find the wee man on great form and in good health, following his skirmish with the Big C.

But now, for your delectation:

This is a night not to be missed, not necessarily because Clapshot are performing outside their usual haunt of the Commercial Bar, Thurso, but because we have one of England's top harmony groups making a rare appearance in Scotland.

Originally formed by Keith Marsden as a platform for his own song writing skills, Cockersdale quickly established them selves as a major force in traditional music in the southern part of the country. Keith's songs have quickly become part of the living tradition and are being performed by numerous singers throughout the land.

Following Keith's death in 1991, Cockersdale reformed and whilst continuing to sing Keith's songs, have extended their repertoire considerably to include songs from all over the British Isles as well as the occasional John Prine number.

The current line up is Val Marsden, Graham Pirt and John O'Hagan.

Val who was married to Keith, hails from Northern Ireland, Graham is English and John is from Glasgow. Val's harmonies are quite unique and with Graham's distinctive voice they complement the lead voice of John.

John (Danny's brother,ED) joined Cockersdale in 1985 having established himself as a well-respected singer in the Hull area where he was living at the time.

Graham has been around the traditional music scene since the 60's and joined Cockersdale in 1987. Graham is a powerful songwriter in his own right and no doubt we will hear some of his own compositions at the Pentland.

On a very personal level I rate Keith's songs as among the finest I've ever heard and I have absolutely no doubt that they will continue to be sung for generations to come. It was a kind of "road to Damascus" experience the first time I heard Keith singing and the fact that my nine year old daughter could recall nine months later that "the man with the red beard" had sung "St Aubin sur Mer" at a session at Redcar Folk Festival only helped to confirm that this was a man with exceptional talent who has been sadly missed by all who knew him.

So, give your ears a treat and take them along on the 24th to the Pentland, oh, and bring your voices as well!


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