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2020 Obit: Murray Macleod

21 Jul 20 - 09:31 PM (#4065342)
Subject: Obit: Murray Macleod
From: GUEST,Fiona Ross

The Edinburgh folk community is still reeling from news of the sudden passing last Friday of Murray Macleod who, over the years, was an enthusiastic contributor to Mudcat. As a friend and erstwhile musical collaborator, I wanted to share some background, especially for those who may not have known Murray outside this forum. He was born in Scourie in the Scottish Highlands, lived for a time in both England and the States, but spent most of his adult life in Edinburgh.

He was a stalwart of the folk scene – a weel kent face at folk clubs and sessions around the city and surrounding region. Murray was a skilled guitarist with a wide repertoire that ranged from traditional through to ragtime (his version of The Sting is a highlight for me) as well as a luthier. He was also an engaging singer, perhaps best known for his wonderful delivery of comic songs. The Wine Song, Cholesterol, The Ramblin Rover and The Errant Apprentice are just a few of the most requested favourites in his set.

On top of his playing and singing, Murray was a great raconteur – witty and intelligent with a dry sense of humour. His performances were always highly entertaining and the warmth of his character allowed him to connect easily with his audiences. He was a masterful wordsmith, as evidenced in his songwriting (not to mention his contributions to forums such as this!). One of his more recent compositions – the beautiful Caitlin’s Lullaby – was written for his granddaughter on whom he doted.

I first met Murray at a singaround at Glenfarg Folk Club some 30 years ago. I remember him coming and speaking to me after he heard me sing. We became good friends then, and remained so ever since. Murray started to accompany me on guitar as he did other singers on the folk scene at the time such as Maggie Cruickshank, Nancy Nicolson, Gilly Hewitt and Paddie Bell. In addition to our occasional performances together, Murray and I just loved singing and playing socially – going along to folk clubs and festivals, and taking part in sessions.

Murray was a tremendous supporter of the folk music scene. He was a long-time member of the Edinburgh Folk Club, and served as both Vice-Chair and Chair. He was incredibly loyal to the musicians and singers he admired – it is no secret to most that as a singer, he has always been my number one fan! He was also a big fan of American fiddle player Elizabeth Crisfield, with whom he formed a duo when he lived in the States. Most recently, Murray collaborated with Edinburgh musician Sandie Wyles.

Outside music, Murray’s main passion in life was horse-racing. He worked for a time at Mark Johnson’s racing stables in Middleham. He was also an inventor – particularly of precision tools related to instrument repair. Murray was the proud father of two sons, Iain and Graham.

As news of his untimely death has spread, there has been an outpouring of sadness. Murray is clearly someone who made a lasting impression on many – and not just in Scotland, but across the globe. He had a manner that allowed him to get on with everyone he met, no matter their background. His openness put folk at their ease and his cheery outlook on life brought a real smile to many faces. It is striking how many people have commented on him simply being such a lovely, genuine guy. So true.

You made a huge impact Murray Macleod. Your passing is mourned by many and you will be greatly missed.

21 Jul 20 - 11:32 PM (#4065346)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: Stilly River Sage

Thank you, Fiona, for posting this. (Line breaks added for readability.)

Murray Macleod Mudcat posts.

22 Jul 20 - 05:01 AM (#4065376)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: John MacKenzie

I had said to Fiona, on another forum, that I only knew Murray as an on line FB friend, but I suddenly remembered that he came up to Rosehall for one the Wednesday evening sessions that Dave Goulder and I used to have, and he was very entertaining. He also in passing presented me with a wee nylon plastic wedge shaped object, which was something he had made up as a string height gauge, and very practical it is too. RIP Murray.

22 Jul 20 - 06:19 AM (#4065390)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: Brian Peters

I was very sad to hear about this news. I met Murray in Glenfarg and Edinburgh, and also exchanged pleasantries with him on Mudcat. A most charming and witty man.

22 Jul 20 - 07:59 AM (#4065398)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: Tattie Bogle

Thanks Fiona, for your lovely writing: I was also shocked to hear the news via a fellow guitarist from Edinburgh Folk Club. Murray used to come to different sessions that I also attended, such as in Balerno and Newtongrange (Nitten)where he never failed to entertain us superbly. And of course, he was an integral part of Edinburgh Folk Club.He will be very much missed.

22 Jul 20 - 10:16 AM (#4065435)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: GUEST,John James

Oh what a blow this news was. Dear Murray. Just before the lockdown in mid March , he was coming round my house to go together to see Eddie Walker in Glenfarg FC. I couldn't make it ,for having spent many years on the road in Uk & Europe with Eddie,I'd probably catch up with him next day. Then Murray's next idea for me to come into town, bring guitars, and go and meet a highly recommended guitar repairer, now that he was downing tools. Of course the virus followed and we were just going to pick up where we left off. Great of Fiona Ross to write all those kind words above, MM would have approved !!
Poor Murray. Family and friends will miss you...your contribution has been huge. JJ

22 Jul 20 - 10:54 AM (#4065442)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: Stilly River Sage

Murray Macleod Facebook account. His last post was July 8. There are posts from others since his death was announced. I was searching for an obituary to post here, but the only one that shows up so far is this Mudcat thread. Please post a link when something local appears.

22 Jul 20 - 11:32 AM (#4065446)
Subject: RE: Obit: Murray Macleod (2020)
From: Waddon Pete

Sad news indeed. I cannot better the good words written by Fiona so I'll just say that I have added Murray to the "In Memoriam" thread and I am sending my condolences to all those who know and love him. RIP.

22 Jul 20 - 03:56 PM (#4065484)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod

Murray was a gentleman, a quality singer/songwriter, an accomplished guitarist and a good friend. Forever chirpy and without doubt, one of the 'good guys'.
We exchanged emails about a month ago. He closed with "Hope to see you soon". Alas, it's not to be. We'll miss you, old pal.

22 Jul 20 - 07:02 PM (#4065512)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: Bearheart

I only knew him from Mudcat posts, but years ago I was searching for a song and he did his best to help me out. I was very grateful, not only for his willingness to reach out when no one else seemed to know anything about it, but for his kindness to a stranger.

22 Jul 20 - 08:09 PM (#4065518)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: olddude

Another great one gone. Very sad news

23 Jul 20 - 02:10 PM (#4065586)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: Anglo

It's very sad to hear this news. I had Mudcat correspondence with Murray some considerable time ago, and we met up when I was playing a folk festival in Florida. I have only good memories. RIP Murray.

25 Jul 20 - 01:45 PM (#4065810)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: My guru always said

So very sorry to see this, he will be missed RIP

25 Jul 20 - 07:37 PM (#4065844)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: GUEST,Marianne Doig..

Murray MacLeod was born in Inverness in 1946 and brought up in Scourie in Sutherland. He went to High School in Dornoch and won a place at Edinburgh University but he didn't enjoy it, so left to go on to a series of jobs working with his hands. He worked with a blacksmith for a number of years and then went onto wood turning and carpentry.

During this time music was always his touchstone. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that music and his family meant more to him throughout his life than anything else. He was a very skilled guitarist and a genius at putting alternative words to existing tunes. He once told me he cut his musical teeth at the famous Triangle Club sessions and in the Waverley Bar, St Mary’s St.

He spent some years in America and found a natural home in the folk scene in Homestead, Florida where he could combine his music and woodwork skills easily.

Somewhere along the way he picked up the skills to become a very respected repairer of stringed instruments. This seemed to the skill that gave him most joy apart from performing, and Murray was a well kent face at many of the local folk clubs. He frequently entered the comic song competition at Glenfarg, and he often entered Edinburgh song writing competition with songs that were always quirky! "Caitlin’s Song" and "Road Kill Café" are only two of my favourites among many.

Murray’s 'time to shine' came when he joined the committee of EFC. Here he brought us the 'Murray Board' which was supposed to help both Paddy and the audience understand the raffle prizes... not sure it exactly worked. Paddy still got mixed up and the audience still asked for prizes that had gone. Still, he worked hard on it and it grew over time until finally it disappeared at Summerhall. After this, poor Murray was called on to become the acting Chair at EFC following the very sudden death of Paddy Bort. He did a wonderful job under very difficult and strange circumstances.

On a very personal note I would like to say Murray always brought a smile to my face. There was never a bad gig in all the time I saw him play. Yes, there were things that went wrong. He liked very wordy songs and sometimes forgot or stumbled on the lyrics, but that's why we all enjoy live music. He was a lovely man, a good friend to many and will by very sadly missed by all who knew him.

27 Jul 20 - 08:38 PM (#4066209)
Subject: RE: 2020 Obit: Murray Macleod
From: Tattie Bogle

More beautiful words, Marianne. He was indeed a lovely man, and so much appreciated by his folk audiences whether big gigs or just turning up as another session participant.