As Liz Conway notes, life feels like it’s all going downhill when you reach 70, but on the other hand, a ride downhill on a bicycle is one of the most exhilarating adventures you can actually have. Especially if there’s a pub at the bottom!
Liz has just released a new CD, the profits from which will go to the charity Mesothelioma UK, which supports research on what you or I might think of as asbestos-induced lung cancer, the disease from which her husband, the renowned folk singer Terry Conway, died in 2013. Mike Tickell wrote a very moving obituary of Terry for The Guardian. No doubt this diary will also, at some point this year, have a little entry on the memorial bench commemorating Terry’s life, constructed by local woodcarver Andy Morgan, which sits today on the roadside at the juncture of Catton and Allendale, not too far along the New Line from Terry’s family home.
The CD, which features Liz’s dulcimer playing, four of Terry’s songs, and extra tracks and accompaniment from friends in the tradition, is a joyful experience, reminding us of Liz’s own talent in carving out a cheerful melody or sympathetic harmony on the tinkling instrument. Liz was a member of the delightful ‘Lucky Bags’ folk group, which gained national renown, and whose music, especially the lovely CD ‘Delight in Disorder’ I return to over and over again for a warm feeling of comfort.
Now available at MarketPlace, Allendale, ‘Downhill all the way’ deserves to garner another few thousands of pounds for the Mesothelioma UK charity, as it helps us to remember the life of a great folk artist now gone, and a living Liz still amongst us, careering blithely on down the pub for the next folk night.