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RIP Mary Asquith

Mike Harding | 16:27 UK time, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Mary Asquith died last week, after a struggle with cancer.

Many of you won't know her name, which is a shame, because Mary was one of the best.

She never knew how good she was and gave up singing completely in the 1980s.

I worked with her around the North in folk clubs like the MSG Manchester and the Topic Folk Club in Bradford in the late 60s and early 70s and can still see her - a slight but sparky girl who was a feminist before anybody knew what the word meant.

She took no prisoners but was a true and loyal friend to those she loved.

She was also a great guitarist and a fine blues singer whose voice, tuned by the roll-ups and
whisky she had a taste for then, was edgy but tuneful and ­ more importantly - truthful.

She also wrote great songs such as 'When Marilyn Monroe Died Blues', 'In Dreamland Tonight' and a song that I covered myself on one of my serious albums 'Closing Time'.

She only made one album, it was on Saffron Summerfield's Mother Earth label in 1978 and is called 'Closing Time' and though the vinyl edition is a collector's item the CD version is still available. If you get a chance, listen to Mary singing her greatest song 'Closing Time' ­ - it's Mary at her most unpolished and raw, and it is simply wonderful.

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