Just lost a dear friend of more than 40 years, my mate Joe, aged 82, died of prostrate cancer February 7th. Joe was known to many, many people, a folk singer, he had sang in pubs, clubs, gigs and festivals across the country, including Ireland. Always friendly, always with a smile, if you walked with him through the city it was only a matter of time before someone came by with “Hi Joe”, his reply was usual “Good to see you m’man.”. To the thousands that knew Joe he was a folk singer and a friend, to me he was much much more. After the death a mutual friend Ian who died of mesothelioma, Joe suggested that we meet for “a bite and a blether” at lunch time, this we done every week for the next sixteen years. It was during those soup and coffee lunches that I really got to know Joe, and found the folk singer’s range of interests spanned the world. An expert of Scottish and Irish history, and folklore, and a considerable knowledge about Scotland’s wild life. However his interests spanned much more than that. During these soup episodes we would discuss everything from politics to climate change, from natural disasters to world conflicts, the latest financial crisis, poverty and corruption. He had a fascination for nature studies and wild life videos and articles. He was eager to discus the latest science and medical advances, engineering, astronomy and inventions, nothing was outside his span of interest.
Joe also had a very colourful and at times very harsh life, it dealt him many vicious blows, but he always come through and kept his friendly personality. On one occasion in the Scotia, he was asked to come up and sing, as he got up I said, "Joe, sing an angry song", he just smiled, of course he didn't, Joe was never an angry man. During his life he mixed with the “good and the bad” but none of it taint that loyal, friendly personality. Naturally with that very mixed and colourful life he had a wealth of stories, some sad, but most outrageously hilarious that had us laughing out loud over our soup. I used to say, “Joe we need to get these stories down on record, they are a book in them selves”, it is now a deep regret that we didn’t. He could mix in any company and be welcomed back.
So Joe the folk singer, to me is a rather weak description of the man, in my life he was a unique. wonderfully loyal, considerate and fascinating friend. There is now a large hole in my life.
Recorded at his sister Margaret's house about week or so before he died. He stayed at Margaret's as he could no longer make the stairs at his own flat.