01 January 2017

Clive Collins remembered

On Friday (30 Dec.) the BIB received a comment from David Lewis on a news item from 24 Apr. 2006 on the death of Clive Collins. Thanks to legendary fiddler George Kaye for these personal memories:

In 1966 I met up with Clive in Cornwall where, together with Dave Dayton, we formed the Mitchell County Ramblers and headed for Dublin. Dave was on guitar and Clive played old-time banjo. We were well received on the Irish folk scene and soon had a full itinerary.

Clive was probably the most good-humoured musician I've ever worked with. He never seemed to have bad days and always saw the funny side of any setback such as a cancelled gig or a broken string on stage. I remember him taking a pair of scissors one day to Dave's shock of overgrown hair in a hotel lounge, turning it into a barber's shop. He worked for a good half-hour and when I saw the result I collapsed with laughter, but Dave seemed happy enough with the result.

He enjoyed a pint or seven and, despite his small size, could hold his beer well. I met him some years later in O'Donohue's and we spent a pleasant evening reminiscing about the old days. He'd learned to play fiddle and we swapped a few tunes, one of which was 'The grumbling old man and the nagging old woman.' I still occasionally play it.

In April 2011 Clive was commemorated by a weekend of trad. music in Galway: see this report from the Galway Advertiser, with further details of his career. Photos of Clive as a member of the Higglers Jug Band can be seen on the Higglers website.

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