Through his work with the Waterson Family alone Mike Waterson has earned himself a place in the Folk Music Hall Of Fame – but, equally importantly, as a songwriter he left us with a small but wonderful body of songs that have entered the folk canon – Three Day Millionaire / Jack Frost / A Stitch In Time / Mole In A Hole / The Cold Coast Of Iceland / Working Chap and, of course, the songs he wrote with his sister Lal for ‘Bright Phoebus’, considered by many to be the finest folk-rock record of all time.
As a performer he always had an air of anarchy about him and the wry grin that often lit up his face was always a reminder that we should beware of the bogus and the pompous in the folk world. He left us far too early but was a fighter to the end and carried on performing as long as he could.
Steve Hoffman was at the final Waterson Family concert and wrote…
‘Even last August, already looking alarmingly frail on one of his final stage appearances at the Waterson family’s emotional homecoming gig at Hull’s Truck Theatre, he still managed to steal the show when – baggy brown jumper, trademark flat cap, pint of ale in hand – he giggled like a naughty schoolboy and sang his latest masterpiece Tea’s Made, hilariously pillorying drinks machines: “The milk is in small sachets that you can’t get in no-how/ And it tastes of burning plastic and it’s never seen a cow/ So do not use this cafe/ Join the picket line with me/ Then they’ll have to find a robot/ To drink their f***ing tea …” ‘