The autobiography Vin Garbutt wrote in his final years is to be published at last, four years after the folk legend’s death.
Vin, who was 69, passed away on June 6 2017 after undergoing heart surgery at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
He had begun working on All the Very Best! with the help of journalist Michael McGeary in 2014 and the first draft was completed just days before Vin died.
Now, with the help and support of Vin’s family, the book has been completed and will be released this autumn.
“Vin was so enthusiastic about this project,” said Vin’s wife, Pat. “It really appealed to him to have a record of the extraordinary experiences he had during his lifetime. He lived to walk out onto the stage and give his all to a bunch of music-loving strangers.
“His journeys from his front door to the stage door were often weird and wonderful and long – oh, so long! He travelled by public transport, a tough choice but a great way to meet people. They inspired him, cared for him and supported his career.
“Vin often vocalised that he had, 'the best job in the world' and that job took him all over the globe. It’s all here from start to finish. The highs and lows of carving out a career that in the beginning could not have appeared more unlikely or hazardous.
“In his writing, I get a sense of disbelief that it all actually happened and that he achieved so much. But he did, he reached the top, and everybody loved him.
“He was unique, an absolute one-off and we were all so lucky to have him in our lives, whether it was for five minutes or, like me, 48 years.”
Born in South Bank, Middlesbrough, on November 20 1947, Vin became known as the funniest man on the worldwide folk scene.
But while his patter was hilarious, his songs were often deadly serious, tackling issues from unemployment in the North-East to oppression and injustice wherever he saw it in the world.
He recorded 12 studio albums and three live albums and was the subject of a full-length feature film, Teesside Troubadour.
He was the first British folk artist to tour Australia and he played to packed out venues across the globe. In 2001 he was named Best Live Act at the 2001 BBC Folk Awards.
But he was also shunned by elements of the mainstream folk world because of his outspoken views. However, he refused to be silenced, even at considerable cost to his career.
Next year will see three important milestones. As well as being the fifth anniversary of Vin’s death and the year he would have turned 75, it’s also 50 years since he released his iconic debut album, Valley of Tees.
The book includes contributions from some of Vin’s friends and admirers from the folk world, including Christy Moore, Loudon Wainwright III, Eric Bogle, Mike Harding and Jasper Carrott, as well as from fans and the people who knew Vin best.
All the Very Best! is initially being printed as a limited-edition hardback with subscribers’ names listed in the back. It includes many unseen photos from Vin’s life. Paperback and ebook editions will follow.
Orders for the hardback, which is priced £20, are being taken throughout August. To subscribe, or for more details, visit vingarbutt.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.