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Obit: Tony Capstick (UK) (October 2003)

23 Oct 03 - 09:13 PM (#1040750)
Subject: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,Topcat

Just heard that Tony Capstick has died aged 59. I have no other verification. He was a great entertainer and could work an audience with his laid back banter. Those who enjoyed his radio broadcasts and occasional appearances will no doubt recall some of his material, I have been trying to get my head round the lyrics of a song which has the line "Oh how we could sing Oh such harmony, walking may baby back home"----and "they dont write them like that anymore. Does anybody have the words?. My sympathy to the Capstick family and friends.

23 Oct 03 - 09:51 PM (#1040767)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Malcolm Douglas

I'm sorry to hear that. I didn't know him well, but living where I do had run into him any number of times over the years; only once outside licensed premises, I think, and that was on the way into one. He was a colourful character, and a fine entertainer at his best. He will certainly be missed, and not soon forgotten. His Hovis ad spoof was a classic of its kind, but he could play the straight stuff too.

The song you're thinking of is They don't write them like that anymore.

23 Oct 03 - 10:07 PM (#1040776)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)

Sad news indeed!

I recall his early days at the Manchester Sports Guild, when on stage he took out a cigarette and asked if anyone in the audience had a match.

Then the inevitable happened, he was showered with boxes of matches!

His 'Punch & Judy Man' rendition was marvellous.

Bob vG

23 Oct 03 - 10:10 PM (#1040777)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

Very sad news, I heard his song "capstick comes home"? just a couple of days ago on radio 2, its the one to the tune of Vorchack's 9th,
very funny song, "#when i was a lad, you could go out, get drunk, go to pictures, buy a suit, 3 stone of nuts etc etc, and still have chsange out of a farthing!, if this is in the dt [not sure waht it's called, I know it as the hovis song!}, any chance of someone posting a link to the lyrics?

24 Oct 03 - 01:51 AM (#1040834)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: greg stephens

I always loved Tony, from the first time I saw him announcing what the raffle prizes were at a folk do. Waving a bottle of red wine in the air he said "And the second prize is a bottle of leg opener". He made me laugh a lot, often.

24 Oct 03 - 02:43 AM (#1040843)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: mouldy

The old vinyl copy of the "Capstick Comes Home" album will be played in his honour today. I bought it in S. Africa, of all places, and it meant a lot to be able to listen to something like that while we were out there. Saw him once at the Late Night Extra concert in Whitby, and nearly wet myself laughing.

And another (albeit occasional) cast member from "Last of the Summer Wine" has gone.


24 Oct 03 - 03:49 AM (#1040855)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Dave Bryant

For quite some time in the 70s, Tony was the anchor-man on the BBC "Folkweave" programme. More recently, he often appeared in "The Last of the Summer Wine" as one of the two policemen in the panda car who were being constantly surprised by the various antics of the rest of the cast.

He was a great performer and a genuinely funny person, he will be sadly missed.

24 Oct 03 - 03:59 AM (#1040861)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Dave Masterson

Here's a linke to BBC news item -

24 Oct 03 - 04:00 AM (#1040863)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Trevor

And here's link to the recent 'Hovis' thread with the words to the parody.

24 Oct 03 - 04:28 AM (#1040880)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: harlowpoet

I remember when he played at the old Harlow folk club in the early eighties.

There had been a heavy snowfall, and he asked if there was anywhere to stay. I was still living with at home with parents and siblings, and rang my mum to ask if someone could stay in spare room. She said OK.

When we got back, he was very drunk, and my sister said she was sure she recognised him. Apparently, she was a Coronation Street fan, and it turned out he'd appeared on the previous days episode.

He was a great character with plenty of stories.

Rest in Peace

24 Oct 03 - 04:36 AM (#1040885)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: nutty

So sad but inevitable. Tony was a great entertainer but led a very complex private life - his heart and his liver paid the price.

At least now he is free of the demons that haunted him for so long.

24 Oct 03 - 05:00 AM (#1040890)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: RoyH (Burl)

Sad to hear of the loss of an old friend from my early days on the scene. A man with more talent than his jokey image portrayed. Burl

24 Oct 03 - 05:20 AM (#1040897)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Watson

Tony was a fine guitarist and a wonderful interpreter of traditional songs. He could take a song you'd heard a hundred times before and make it sound new.
His appearance at a folk club was always an occasion of great joy - often interspersed with an outburst of fury aimed at people talking when he was singing.
I'm very sad to hear of his death.

24 Oct 03 - 06:23 AM (#1040910)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Leadfingers

Another Good Man Gone.It is somewhat depressing when people who have been well established on the scene for as long as I have been aware of the scene are dying younger than me,

24 Oct 03 - 06:35 AM (#1040916)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: clansfolk

Veteran broadcaster, actor and comedian Tony Capstick has died.
The 59-year-old died at his home in Hoober, near Wentworth, South Yorkshire, on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Capstick was a regular presenter on BBC Radio Sheffield for more than 30 years, fronting a phone-in show, before he left the station in January this year.

He also made various appearances on TV, with parts in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and The Cops and recently played a policeman in Last Of the Summer Wine.

Great sadness

A talented guatarist , his double-A-sided single 'Sheffield Grinder'/'Capstick Comes Home' accorded him fame in the spring of 1981 when it reached number three in the charts.

A BBC spokesman said: "We are shocked and saddened about the news of Tony Capstick's death and our thoughts are with his family.

"Tony's health problems were such that he was unable to work after the New Year.

"This is always a matter of great regret and sadness to the BBC.

"We are sorry that Tony lost his battle with his health.

"Generations of BBC Radio Sheffield listeners will remember Tony with warmth, gratitude and affection."

24 Oct 03 - 06:37 AM (#1040918)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,MC Fat

Tony was the consumate entertainer. On form and on his day he could whoop them all. I'm really shocked and saddened. I had provisionally though about asking him to do something at the proposed Sheffield Folk Festival next year. The unfortunate thing about Tony's past is that people talked about the negative things but he was always warm and friendly towards me (he even kissed me at Whitby !!) and I shall miss him. I just hope the b*st*rds who sacked him at BBC Radio Sheffield are hanging their heads in shame today.

24 Oct 03 - 06:42 AM (#1040919)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: clansfolk

Capstick comes home

click above and wait for mp3 to download - or right click and save target.

with thanks to..official link: Years of Gold

24 Oct 03 - 10:36 AM (#1041049)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Seamus Kennedy

I treasure an almum of Tony and Dave Burland and Dick Gaughan doing
songs of Ewan MacColl.


24 Oct 03 - 10:49 AM (#1041064)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: breezy

he came to the club in Catrord and sang Grey October and the Old Man's Tale and told 2 jokes that I shall tell tonight.
The fact that I can recall that visit in 1969/70 and it left an indelible impression, is testomony to a talent I have yet to fully appreciate.
They played 'Hovis' on the radio this week, hope he still gets the royalties.

24 Oct 03 - 12:03 PM (#1041111)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: nutty

I remember him on the TV in a series of programmes about America and (I think) something to do with marching bands. Anyone else remember??

24 Oct 03 - 12:19 PM (#1041128)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Mrs.Duck

I only met Tony the once when he came to our wedding in Whitby. He was a charming man and I can't fault him for wanting to join us in a drink or four.

24 Oct 03 - 02:33 PM (#1041185)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,Blok in the Corner

Mr Punch & Judy Man, The Moving on Song, Lazlo Faher,The Dolphin etc etc. Only ever had one or two albums of his - one live - but I still sing songs I first heard him do.

24 Oct 03 - 03:24 PM (#1041218)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)

My first memory of Capstick was filling in at the drinks interval at a folk club in Sheffield, late 60's (Three Cranes for the locals)
He was the only person I knew who could sing "Rocky Road to Dublin" after six pints of Guinness. And I loved his later burblings on local radio - reminded me of my Dad and his mates, and was ironically just the sort of stuff he parodied. I think he would have seen the joke in that.

24 Oct 03 - 04:58 PM (#1041255)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Tig

I've had a very soft spot for Tony since I first met him way back in the early 70's. A wonderful man and a brilliant performer he brought a special something with him wherever he went - even if sometimes by the end of the evening he could have done with a 'minder'!

He will be sadly missed and my thoughts go to his family.

25 Oct 03 - 05:25 AM (#1041504)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,Skipy

Bob G whoever you are (signed in as Guest) I was there all of those years ago (31 I make it) when Tony was showered with match boxes in the Manchester Sports Guild & what a great night it was. I have always had a soft spot for Tony and to this day often quote lines from "The Hovis Parody" when anyone at work starts to talk about the "old days". Sadly I did not see a single performance from Tony since the 70s.
Bob, if you where a regular of the MSG you may have a vague memory of a bloke who used to hitch hike from Lincolnshire to Manchester, turn up in folk club in an RAF uniform then get changed, get pissed and then sleep under a railway bridge near the club. That bloke was me!
After the club finished each night I was always allowed to stay until it was locked up, that way I usually had a couple of drinks with organisers and the artists that is how in the early days I met so many of the performers, for those of you who know me well the rest is history.
We did drink a toast to Tony in our local last night, I drank to a man who had made me laugh & my friends drank to "one of the coppers in last of the summer wine"
Good bye Tony & thank you

25 Oct 03 - 05:43 AM (#1041510)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Tyke

Just downloaded the link given by clansfolk and listened to Capstick Comes Home. Thank you Clansfolk for the link I can recomend it to all who had the pleasure of meeting Tony. I remember Tony doing a booking at a Folk Club in Wakefield the Landlord went on for weeks prior to Tony's Gig boasting how he was in the same class at junior school as Tony. When Tony arrives he calls the landlord a Liar! "There was no one in my class with a Bald Head and a Beer Belly!" say's Tony!!

25 Oct 03 - 07:40 AM (#1041544)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)

I'm going to miss the old bugger so much, tuned in to so many of his Radio Sheffield progs through the years, met him many times. He kipped on my sofa in the seventies, after a gig and heavy session in Wakefield. I got him up for an early train to Sheffield, and he thanked me on air on his Saturday morning show.
    We'll no longer hear his dulcet(!)tones shaking Whitby's cobbled streets singing "I can sing louder than Bob Davenport", at two a.m.
    He remarried only 2 years ago, and I believed he'd got his act together.
    A colourful and unique character. Very funny, and a damn fine guitarist. R.I.P. Tone.

25 Oct 03 - 07:45 AM (#1041546)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: mandomad

Sorry, that was me, I went cookieless momentarily

26 Oct 03 - 03:42 AM (#1041915)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,Lazlo

I had the very great good fortune to meet Tony after years of writing daft spoof letters , faxes and emails, which he always read out with great relish, then three or four years ago my son and I started writing sketches and parodies, burning them to CD, which Cappo would play on his show. When I met him in the Rock (We were summoned) he gave us one of the best evenings I can remember. We became firm friends after that I think he was everything that was great about Radio Sheffield. The man also had a massive intellect and an appetite for reading matched by no one.
All our love goes to Gill and his family.

26 Oct 03 - 06:38 AM (#1041941)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: zanderfish3 (inactive)

A sometimes vitriolic but unique wit and a great interpreter of traditional songs, good guitarist too. Tony will be sadly missed.

27 Oct 03 - 05:10 PM (#1042816)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: clansfolk

TC - why didn't u ask tha auld bugger? tis on t'CD!!!!!

They Don't Write 'Em Like That Anymore.

My Dads drunk again and he's brought lots of men,
And their wives back home from the club.
We've run out of beer, but there's no need to fear
Dad's gone round the back door of the pub.
Someone's playing our piano, as if using a hammer,
Crucifying there goes my heart
Someone walks through the door, it's dad and what's more,
He's got the beer and we're ready to start.


Eeh how we would sing, what fun those nights would bring
Singing for hours on end,
Once we'd found the key, oh what harmony
Those boozy voices would lend,
Heart of my heart, just for a start,
Walking my baby back home.
When it comes to the end it's let's sing it again,
They don't write 'em like that anymore .

Well me Mam's in the kitchen, trying to knock up a snack,
From a chicken we had this afternoon,
Joe says, "Where's toilet?" Mam says, "Round t'back."
By the looks not a minute too soon.
Then a crash fills the whole house, Joe fell in the coalhouse,
Man, he's as drunk as a newt.
With his face covered black he's not taken aback,
He sings "Mammy," and we all follow suit.


Half one in the morning, Dad's started yawning,
He has to be working at six.
A bored audience is watching cousin Kenny he's botching
And messing up easy card tricks.
We have to go now and Dad has to somehow
Try to get us all to go home.
When you're full of beer last thing you want to hear
Is a tune on his paper and comb.

28 Oct 03 - 09:26 AM (#1043141)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,MC Fat

Funeral is at Wentworth Parish Church at 1.30p.m. on Friday 31st October 2003. People are meeting at his local the Rockingham Arms in Wentworth (home of the Folk Club) near Rotherham at about 12.45p.m. then on to the church for about 1.15p.m.

29 Oct 03 - 09:01 PM (#1044223)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

Mike Harding paid tribute to Tony Capstick on his show last night, giving details of his work, and played one of his songs, you can here the show on the BBC Radio 2 website.

30 Oct 03 - 05:09 AM (#1044366)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Watson

The track Mike played was from the album Tony made with Dave Burland and Dick Gaughan of Ewan McColl songs. I think any remaining copies of that reside with Dave Bulmer. It was going to be issued on CD years ago - there was even a catalogue number for it - CRO CD 215 I think, but the CD never appeared.
I would dearly love to have a copy of that.

30 Oct 03 - 05:56 AM (#1044378)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: harvey andrews

Just back from canada to this sad news. Tony had his problem, the same as Jake and to lose them both is hard. When Wendy and I got married 20 years ago Tony was the main guest at our village hall concert.
He didn't touch a drop all night and was absolutely marvellous, people couldn't believe they'd never heard of him. I booked him for our village again a few years later and Jasper Carrott who was an established national "star" by then asked if he could do a spot on the same show. Talk about Ali v Foreman!
Jasper went on first and the roof came off. Tony followed and closed the show and there wasn't a cigarette paper between them as far as the audience was concerned, it was just that one had had the big break and the other deserved it! They still talk about it. The sadness is that these moments,like the music that we all make, float into the ether of the live show and only those who saw it remember.

30 Oct 03 - 08:25 AM (#1044437)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Grampus

Watson, the CD of MacColl songs was available in 1996 on Black Crow Records, the number was as you quote above. It was distributed by Celtic Music so Dave Bulmer must have had an input!! It's only 11 tracks in length, but nevertheless, good

30 Oct 03 - 08:47 AM (#1044455)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Watson

Thanks Grampus.
Every time I tried to find out more there was a different story - they were waiting for the artwork, and then they were looking for a more tracks to make the CD a commercially viable length.

30 Oct 03 - 08:56 AM (#1044465)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Fiolar

My sincere condolences to Tony's family. I feel so sad really that Tony and so many other talented performers destroy themselves by hitting the bottle. Looking back over the years, the list seems endless. Sadly they not only destroy themselves, they bring so much misery to those who love them.

31 Oct 03 - 04:59 AM (#1045140)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Watson

Obituary from the Daily Telegraph:

Tony Capstick
(Filed: 29/10/2003)

Tony Capstick, who died on Thursday aged 59, was a broadcaster, actor, folk singer and comedian whose abundant star quality was undermined by the personal frailties that drove him to alcoholism, repeated brushes with the law and, ultimately, professional ruin.

Billy Connolly once described Capstick as one of the funniest men he had ever met, and a novelty record took him briefly into the upper reaches of the charts. But he never recovered from the despair into which he slumped after his dismissal from BBC local radio after a 30-year association.

Capstick's afternoon programme on Radio Sheffield had always commanded a faithful following. Despite a string of court cases, listeners - and, for longer than would have been the case with many employers, the BBC - took a benevolent line, if only because his unpredictable genius was capable of producing brilliant radio.

But his broadcasting career came to an abrupt end in January of this year when, some months after moving him to a morning slot, the BBC finally lost patience. Some acquaintances believed that the rigours of the previous night's drinking made Capstick an unsuitable candidate for an early start; others felt, simply, that "he had lost it . . . there were uncomfortable gaps". He felt betrayed, but even some close friends acknowledged that the BBC was probably right to sack him.

Joseph Antony Capstick was born on July 27 1944 at Mexborough, South Yorkshire. His father's wartime service in the RAF took him on bombing missions: "My dad used to come over here on business - he was a rear gunner in a Lancaster," Capstick would later tell startled German audiences.

Brought up by his mother and grandmother after his parents divorced, Capstick was an undistinguished pupil of Mexborough Grammar School, and took jobs on the railways and in an abattoir before establishing himself as a musician.

As an accomplished guitarist and banjo-player with a decent voice, he quickly made a name on the folk club circuit from the mid-1960s. This was a time when most parts of Britain seemed to be producing folk singers who were, in fact, better as comedians: Connolly from the Clyde; Jasper Carrott from Birmingham; Max Boyce in South Wales; Fred Wedlock from Somerset; and Mick Elliott up in the North-East.

With his uproarious Yorkshire tales, occupying ever-lengthening sequences between the songs, Capstick might have been among the highest achievers of the genre.

There was, however, only one spell of real fame. A spoof of the Hovis bread advertisement in 1981, set to the Carlton Main and Frickley Colliery Band's arrangement of Dvorak's New World Symphony, and called Capstick Comes Home, was a minor comic masterpiece. The record began life, unpromisingly, as a Radio Sheffield promotional single. Capstick's producer John Leonard belatedly realised that a flip side was needed for the station's theme tune, The Sheffield Grinder, and suggested the Hovis parody.

Although already part of Capstick's folk club routine, it ran to only 20 seconds. Sitting in Leonard's car on the way to the studios, Capstick wrote the rest on the back of a cigarette packet. The track was recorded in a single take and soon displaced the original A-side. Listeners were entranced by Capstick's satire on Northern working-class life:

We'd lots o' things in them days they 'aven't got today: rickets, diphtheria, Hitler and, my, we did look well goin' to school wi' no backside in us trousers an' all us little 'eads painted purple because we 'ad ringworm. They don't know they're born today.

The record reached number three in the hit parade. With the money he earned, Capstick bought himself a Mercedes, an unwise decision given his notoriously poor driving skills and drinking bouts.

He somehow accumulated five bans for drink-driving offences without going to prison. After another drunken episode, when he pointed a loaded pistol at a taxi driver's head, he escaped with a £1,000 fine and a short suspension from his radio job.

Never able to repeat the success of Capstick Comes Home - it prompted an eight-part Channel 4 series, but an album and follow-up single both flopped - he remained active in clubs, and was given small parts in television soaps. One of these roles, as a policeman in Last of the Summer Wine, might have landed him in his deepest legal trouble; he was required to drive a car, and failed to disclose to the producers that he was disqualified. He also had small parts in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and All Creatures Great and Small.

Drinking was a problem throughout Capstick's adult life: "He went too early for the top shelf - whisky and brandy - and couldn't handle it," a radio colleague observed. The habit worsened after the collapse of his 28-year marriage to his first wife, Carol, in 1995.

A friend who visited him shortly before his death reported that he looked 79, not 59, and that he had polished off a bottle of vodka in two-and-a-half hours.

Capstick is survived by his second wife, Gillian, and a son, James, and daughter, Vicky, from his first marriage.

31 Oct 03 - 06:15 AM (#1045160)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: old git

another great entertainer and "smashing bloke" bites the dust
hope he's found peace at last

31 Oct 03 - 07:27 AM (#1045184)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: GUEST,Steve

Terribly sad.

05 Nov 03 - 06:04 PM (#1048695)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Folkiedave

I was telephoned in Spain by my daughter with the sad news.........

RIP Tony


06 Nov 03 - 09:58 AM (#1049199)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tony Capstick (UK)
From: Fiolar

By sheer chance I browsed through the various satellite channels last Friday October 31st at about 10.25pm and amazingly came across BBC North which had coverage of Tony's funeral service. Weird. I have never done that before.

26 Nov 03 - 06:18 AM (#1061230)
Subject: Nice appreciation of Capstick by Burland
From: GUEST,MC Fat

There's a really nice article writ by Dave Burland about his mate Tony Capstick in the latest (no.41) South Riding Folk Network News. It is wonderfully written from the heart. Don't know if anyone can download it. Or put a blue clicky thing as I'm useless at that kind of thing

26 Nov 03 - 06:54 AM (#1061241)
Subject: RE: Nice appreciation of Capstick by Burland
From: Malcolm Douglas

Now also on the website at

Tony Capstick RIP 

Musician, broadcaster, actor and comedian Tony Capstick died on Thursday October 23rd at his home at Hoober, near Wentworth in South Yorkshire. He was 59, and had been in poor health since leaving Radio Sheffield at the beginning of the year.

Although best known in recent years for his popular radio programmes, his involvement with folk music went back a long way, and it was as a singer in the clubs that he first made his name. Capstick Comes Home, his acutely observed parody of the Hovis ads, was a big commercial success; but he was equally at home with serious material and was a well-regarded interpreter of both contemporary and traditional song.
He was also, of course, famous (sometimes notorious) as a local character, and a great many people have favourite Capstick stories. We hope to include some of these in the future.

Tony Capstick: Some Thoughts

An appreciation by Dave Burland

I learned of the tragic death of Tony Capstick on the afternoon of Thursday, 23rd October 2003, and I have spent a great deal of time since mourning the loss of a friend whose life affected my own in no small way.

I first met Tony in 1962 in the Alhambra Folk Club in Barnsley, which met on a Monday night and was run by a committee which included Tony Heald, Dorothy and Derek Elliott and several more. It was obvious that he had talent and very dapper he was too, in his suit and tie, singing The Rocky Road to Dublin. From then on he became a regular at the club with his best friend Keith Foster, as he did for many clubs in Rotherham and Sheffield and, before long, clubs further afield; in fact we couldn't get enough folk music and audiences couldn't get enough of him. He actually lived in Barnsley for a short time.

I remember Win White used to book us together at the Highcliffe Hotel in Sheffield. We only ever did two songs together, The Banks of the Ohio and Goodnight Irene, but we sat on stage together and generally had a good time. One night Tony told me he had made a ventriloquist's dummy. His instructions to me were that I had to sit directly behind him (and the dummy), play the guitar and sing Streets of London, whilst he drank two pints of Guinness. To add a further surreal touch, the dummy was lifesize, looked remarkably like Adolf Hitler, and had its head mounted on a broom handle which meant that he could harass the front two rows of the audience with it.

In 1968 we both decided to try making a living from folk music, although before this Tony began his long association with Radio Sheffield, being asked by Geoff Sargison to present the Folk Show, and soon Radio Two beckoned with "Folkweave".

I remember doing a night in Wolverhampton with him, and Dave Pegg, then of the Ian Campbell Folk Group, asked if he could play bass with us, Tony asking for his references first! On another occasion I was driving home from Liverpool with Tony as my passenger and he began to tell me his life story. As we passed Walton Gaol, he was a small child, and by the time we arrived in Sheffield, some two hours later, we had got to the age of twelve.

In 1981 I was touring Australia, when I heard that Capstick Comes Home was No 3 In the Top Twenty. For the next 20 years or so he did less and less folk club and concert work, this being supplanted by personal appearances, broadcasting, television, after-dinner speaking.

Our paths still did cross and once his Radio Sheffield producer rang me and booked me into his afternoon show for a chat and to play a couple of tracks from a CD I had recorded of Richard Thompson songs. I then forgot all about this, only realising I should have been at Radio Sheffield when it was too late to get there. I rang the station and found they had also been trying to get in touch with me because Tony had forgotten to bring the CD in question to the station. I actually did appear on this show but from the linked studio in Barnsley. We reminisced on air and eventually he wound up the interview by saying, "You forgot to turn up, I forgot the CD, welcome dear listeners to the Capstick and Burland Alzheimers hour."

He was a consummate broadcaster, well read, well informed and interested in what other people were saying. He mastered the art of convincing his listeners that he was talking to each one personally. Geoff Sargison recounted this story of Tony, coming up to the news with the station ID "You're listening to Radio Sheffield on 290 meters medium wave" and then failing to convert that into its equivalent in megahertz, he said "that's over 300 yards".

He had an ear for a good song, Ewan MacColl being one of his favourite songwriters. He did the best version of Bob Dylan's Ramona I have ever heard, and he made Ian Campbell's The Old Man's Song his own. His traditional offerings were stylish versions of The Seeds of Love and I drew my ship into a harbour.

Sadly he is under-recorded and a lot of what he did is lost to us. But he was a live performer and that is maybe how we should remember him.

Safe journey, Tony old son.

Dave Burland

From a Lancashire Lad...

I couldnt let Tony's passing go without mentioning his wonderful appearances in the folk days at the Burnley Folk Club. He came on and introduced himself thus: "Hello, my name's Tony Catsprick . . . this is Burnley isnt it ? Didn't you used to have a football team? Burnley in Lancashire? Its alright I've got my bloody passport . . . Yorkshire bastard I can hear you all saying . . . "

His renditions of Captain Grant, Sir Thomas of Winesbury and Ramona, and his wonderful guitar playing will long be remembered by those who heard him. His jokes were somewhat risqué in those days and are still funny today; I make no apologies about using a couple of them in after-dinner speeches that I get asked to do from time to time.

His own TV show was funny but strained because he was "under instruction" from those above. I recall him standing in his white dinner jacket, talking to the camera with that mischievous grin: "When I did the Hovis song they dressed me up as a little kid . . . now they have me as an Italian waiter . . . !" You just know that he hated the 'unnatural' use of his immense talents by TV.

Goodbye Tony, and thanks for the memories, you will indeed be sadly missed.

John Getty
PDS Engineering, Nelson, Lancs.

Sorry to hear of the passing of my old mate Tony Capstick. He was a true original. I enjoyed his hospitality often in the 60s. He ran a club in Rotherham and booked me to play. He was also resident in the Highcliffe in Sheffield when I played there. Once we were double booked in a club in West Hartlepool. We made the best of it and had a crackin good night. I had not seen Tony for 20 years but I valued the time I spent with him and I cherish his memory.

Christy Moore 12th November, 2003.

26 Nov 03 - 08:01 AM (#1061278)
Subject: RE: Nice appreciation of Capstick by Burland
From: GUEST,MC Fat

Thanks Malcolm

26 Nov 03 - 02:39 PM (#1061438)
Subject: RE: Nice appreciation of Capstick by Burland
From: Folkiedave

Thanks Malcolm and thanks Dave.