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Maartin Allcock - 1957 - 2018

Maart lost his brave battle with cancer on September 16th, a month after what he had already said was to be his final gig at Cropredy, playing with the band with which he was most associated, Fairport Convention. He spent the final two weeks of life in hospital and paid tribute to the staff of Tryfan Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Maartin was a member of the legendary folk-rock group for 20 years. His multi-instrumental skills shaped the sound and approach of the reformed band: the Cropredy set ended with a revival of his legendary “heavy metal Matty”. He was also instrumental in the development of Fairport Acoustic, a pioneering alternative version of the group that predated MTV’s Unplugged movement by years. His last album with them was the acoustic Old New Borrowed Blue which included one of his compositions, Lalla Rookh, a collaboration with his successor Chris Leslie.

Fairport was not, of course, his only band of note. Before them came time with The Bully Wee Band. Like his band-mate, Dave Pegg, he was a member of Jethro Tull at the same time as Fairport. Since leaving the group, he has been part of Dave Swarbrick’s Lazarus, Blue Tapestry, The John Wright Band and also a duo with Keiran Halpin. In addition, Maartin played on stage and in the studio with an astonishing range of artists. Most recently he was involved in the creation of the trio, Mancunia.

Aside from playing, one of Maart’s invaluable contributions was his transcriptions for and editing of the songbooks of some of folk’s biggest names – Swarb, Sandy, Fairport, Halpin et al. It’s hard to underestimate the value, and indeed accuracy, of these volumes for those who seek a more open-ended approach to the music, not inhibited by previous recordings: Maartin said a few years ago, “They help keep the music alive…and live.”

In the seventies, Maart had been a music enthusiast, not only playing whenever he could, but also turning up at gigs early – Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol both have fond memories of him offering to help with equipment while firing off a string of insightful and intelligent questions. Eventually, this led to his playing bass with Mike Harding’s Band. In an eccentric lurch typical of the man, he then dropped out of music and moved to the Shetlands to train as a chef. How different this story could have been, had he not been Bullied back on track.
Born in Manchester – and fiercely proud of his roots – he made Snowdonia his second home: for him it became a peaceful place to pass peacefully.