Garbutt in 2010 at the National Folk Festival
|Vincent Paul Garbutt|
|Born||20 November 1947|
|Origin||Teesside, South Bank, Redcar and Cleveland|
|Died||6 June 2017(aged 69)|
|Instruments||guitar, tin whistle, voice|
|1970s to 2017|
Vincent Paul Garbutt (20 November 1947 - 6 June 2017) was an English folk singer and songwriter. A significant part of his repertoire consisted of protest songs covering topics such as "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland (Welcome Home Howard Green, Troubles of Erin, To Find Their Ulster Peace), unemployment, and social issues.
Garbutt was born in Coral Street, South Bank, Middlesbrough, the son of an English father and an Irish mother. Although his first live performances were in a pop covers band called The Mystics, he discovered folk music while he was still at school and began visiting and performing at the Rifle Club in Cannon Street, Middlesbrough, and later at Eston Folk Club closer to his home.
After leaving school he initially enrolled on a six-month commercial course but was encouraged to become an apprentice at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Wilton chemical plant, near to his home. During this period he often visited Ireland in search of his musical roots.
Aged 21, he threw caution to the winds and became a professional musician. Armed with the rich repertoire of songs he had amassed, he and five friends spent the first summer busking his way around the bars of Spain's Mediterranean coast and on to Morocco via Gibraltar. It was then that he found he had a talent for songwriting. Back in England in 1972 he recorded his first album for Bill Leader, The Valley of Tees. This firmly established him as a singer-songwriter.
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During 1999 Garbutt celebrated his 30th year as a professional performer. He spent the early part of the year on a world tour, playing extensively in the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. As soon as he got back to England he set off on his "Take It Easy after 30 Years on the Road" tour. To coincide with the tour he released his Word of Mouth CD, playing in various British venues to packed theatres. His rambling patter between the songs could take longer than the amount of time singing.
During 2001 Garbutt published the first collection of his songs, The Vin Garbutt Songbook. The collection spans his career from "The Valley of Tees" written in 1971 to "The Troubles of Erin" written in 1999. Shortly afterwards, the companion CD was issued, Garbutt's first ever compilation CD and another world tour followed in 2004.
A health check highlighted a minor health problem but in early 2005, on a sabbatical trip to Spain, his condition deteriorated. On his return to England he was hospitalised and a repair made to one of his heart valves. He then made a full recovery and got back on the road. In his recuperation period he worked on his album Persona ... Grata which was launched at The Sage Gateshead on 6 October 2005. His family announced his death via Facebook and Twitter on 6 June 2017.
In 2001 Garbutt won the "Best Live Act" award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and was nominated for "Folk Singer of the Year" (with the award going to Norma Waterson). Later that year, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Arts by the University of Teesside.