|Dave Swarbrick in characteristic pose with fag|
I first saw him with Fairport Convention in the Southport Theatre in the late 1970s in the tour that preceded the group's calling it a day, except for annual reunions at Cropredy; eventually those reunions led to the band reforming. I later saw him on tour with Martin Carthy, a collaboration that happened periodically over the decades, and finally a couple of years ago at Cropredy, the festival that Fairport still holds annually. He was musically brilliant live, infectiously enthusiastic and, until his health problems began to take hold, a highly energetic performer.
In 1999, during one of his spells in hospital, the Daily Telegraph reported his death and published an obituary. Swarb was delighted with the highly complimentary nature of the tribute, bar the one obvious mistake, declaring "It's not the first time I've died in Coventry." He later told the Oxford Times: "I photocopied the obits, took them to gigs, signed them 'RIP Dave Swarbrick' and sold them for £1. After all, where else are you going to get a signed obituary? I had to stop, though, when The Telegraph got in touch and told me I couldn’t do it as they had the copyright."
He was received many awards for his work, including a lifetime achievement award, and saw Liege & Lief voted "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time".
Here is a masterclass of violin playing from 2014 with Richard Thompson who was in Fairport with Swarb in the early 1970s. After performing a set of tunes accompanied by Thompson, he plays along to Thompson's poignant song, Waltzing's For Dreamers.