30 August 2012

We gathered today at St. Thomas More, Kidlington to say farewell to Lou Martin, who died recently after a long illness. Apart from his work with Killing Floor and many others, he’ll be especially remembered as long time keyboard player with Rory Gallagher.

I never got to know Lou very well as he’d left with drummer Rod De’Ath before I joined but we played together on a number of occasions at The Bridge House in Canning Town in London where The Gerry McAvoy Jam was a regular occurrence between tours with Rory.

The last time I saw Lou was when we shared a hotel room after a charity show in London. Our decision to stay was a bit last minute so most of the local hotels were fully booked but Lou had managed to bring back a crate of beer and we sat up till morning laughing, joking and telling tales of our experiences on the road.

Today’s sombre occasion was balanced, for those who knew him, with fond memories of the good times they shared with Lou over the years.

We headed back to Lou’s favourite local watering hole, The Red Lion, and drank a few in his honour. It seems like a long time
since so many of us who knew or worked with Rory and Lou were all together in the same place – Rory’s brother Donal Gallagher, Gerry McAvoy, Tom O’Driscoll, Phil McDonnell, Dave Edwards and others. Please forgive me for not remembering all of the names. Of course the company included drummers Rod De’Ath and Brendan O’Neill, who along with myself, “whacked the skins” with Rory, years 1972 to, I think, 1992?
Near the end of the service, something surprising and unexpected happened. As the priest conducting the commendation and farewell, one of the more senior altar boys stood a bit too close to one of six tall candles that surrounded the coffin and the back of his cassock went on fire. Thankfully, there was no injury or damage except for the cassock when it had to be slapped and stamped on to get the flames out. I am assured by those who knew Lou’s sense of humour and love of slapstick, that he would have found it very funny.

It was a grand farewell Lou! Thanks for bringing us all together.