We met Willie in his home in Belfast. Despite a hoarse speaking voice Willie has a very clear and compelling singing tone when he is able to sing, and he sang a number of songs during our meeting with him, including ‘The House Carpenter’ and ‘What Put The Blood’. When not singing, Willie spoke the lyrics and told the stories of the songs that he did not sing. This broad repertoire included over ten songs.
Willie recalls learning songs from his father, Bernard, who was a very good singer, with particular memories of him singing Barbara Allen. He also remembers singing together with his late beloved wife and with his siblings. Willie had twelve siblings, and recognised his sister Mary Kate for her wonderful voice. Today he has two siblings remaining, currently living in Manchester, along with other relatives.