Davy/Davey Graham 1940-2008

Anthology: Lost Tapes 1961-2007

Les Cousins Music proudly presents Davy Graham: Anthology 1961 – 2007 Lost Tapes – a three-disc compilation of “lost” recordings made throughout the enigmatic artist’s career.

This collection reveals the private and public musician, and includes the first recording of “Anji” from a reel to tape machine as captured by Len Partridge and Bill Muir in 1961. This tape is “THE” tape that revealed Graham’s style to Bert Jansch in Edinburgh long before Davy appeared on Vinyl. It also showcases Davy as a hardworking musician playing incendiary blues and fusion to folk-club audiences in 1966 and features recordings that demonstrate Graham’s eclectic and developing repertoires, as he grew older.

Davy Graham is without doubt the undisputed guitar hero of British folk-blues clubs. Revered by other musicians for his remarkable and wildly inventive playing, Graham dominated the acoustic scene in the early and mid-1960s with performances that were, for the period, startling and unique.

Martin Carthy described him as “an extraordinary, dedicated player, the one everyone followed and watched – I couldn't believe anyone could play like that”; while the late Bert Jansch said he was “courageous and controversial – he never followed the rules. He's my absolute hero, always will be.”

Graham remains a true hero to the British folk scene and world music at large. His pioneering techniques and influence has resulted in some of the greatest pieces of guitar-based music being created. Davy Graham is the ‘unsung hero’ of British Music and long will he remain a pervasive and inescapable influence upon it.

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OUT OF STOCK

Review from Spiral Earth

Blind fanaticism drove John Renbourn to buy the same model of guitar as played by Davy Graham. And he freely admits when writing his own piece 'Judy' he sailed as close to Davy's style as possible. Whereas, Bert Jansch's early playing had been a facsimile of the blues and folk artists he had encountered until Davy arrived on the scene. Davy not only moved the goal posts, he tore up the whole pitch.

This new career spanning three disc compilation is divided into distinct time periods: disc one covers 1961-1963: with five numbers from his first audition and another selection featuring the first recording of 'Anji' - its descending bassline and counter melody being the bane of millions of bedroom guitarists ever since. The mercurial Davy was just 21 years old and this is the actual recording which made its way into Jansch's hands, in more ways than one.

The bulk of his repertoire here is largely drawn from the wellspring of blues and jazz. 'Here Comes The Carnival' from Sonny Rollins and Brubeck's 'Take Five' are early examples of his mastery of different time signatures; 'Hey Bud Blues', from Big Bill Broonzy, is simultaneously bruising and playful. And Davy's own 'Fingerbuster' doesn't require explanation. Towards the end of this chapter we hear his hypnotic modal take on 'She Moves Through The Fair'. For those who are worried, no, these recordings are unhindered by a rhythm section, unlike some of the final studio versions.

Disc two, 1965-1970, does sacrifice a certain amount of sound quality, but weighed against the significance of these recordings it would be churlish to grumble. By now the jazz vinyl which the players could get their hands on had been devoured. One particular favourite was Mingus and Davy's 'Better Git In Your Soul' goes off like a firecracker. We get stage banter and radio chat - John Peel introduces a very straight 'Bruton Town' in stark contrast to the interplanetary 'Blues Raga' with its clouds of eastern mysticism - Davy's travels didn't end when he arrived home. Whilst those who had learnt from him started to release their debuts, Davy went further.

The final leg of this fifty four track journey is 1970-2007. This disc is an opportunity for everyone who possesses entrenched thoughts about Davy's oeuvre and skills in later life to listen again. 'The Golden Ring' and 'Happy Meeting In Glory', both captured before a club audience, sparkle anew. And the elegant 'For A Princess' sits between more far reaching ragas. His classical leanings from this time show him still willing to learn and form part of a trio of tracks from his last gigging days, which completes this vast picture.

Davy Graham didn't write a 'Needle Of Death', join a supergroup, or keep himself in the media spotlight for long, but he opened the door for others by expanding our musical map. His music lives on.

David Kushar

REVIEW: Blues and Soul Magazine DAVY GRAHAM: ANTHOLOGY (1961-2007) LOST TAPES (LES COUSINS)

A whopping great 3xCD collection from the godfather of british folk and blues pops up out of nowhere, highlighting this affable genius's canon that kicks off in the most intimate of settings.CD1(1961-1963) is just Davy in his flat with his trusty Martin 00018 at hand and a friend recording him on an old revox tape machine - let the magic begin!

This was an age when most guitarists thought Hank Marvin was god! Move over Marvin because this fretboard wizz really caused a storm with his unique arpeggiated guitar style - a master who exploited his instrument with retuning (Graham invented the DADGAD system), an inventor of unexpected chords and scales and a great generator of melodies.

Plenty of earthy blues on here too with Graham's charmingly refreshing singing adding extra dimension to these nimble covers that include "Southbound Train." Ray Charles' "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and the first recording of his most famous piece, still in it's nascent stage, "Anji" a tune that was the ultimate benchmark for other folksters to try and master.CD2(1965-1970) sounds like it was recorded on a dictaphone but it's a fascinating insight into one of his gigs.

It also introduces his indian/arabic influences such as the exotic "Maajun," making his guitar sound like an Oud. Many people will argue that this unassuming innovator invented World Music, apparently on a trip to Australia the plane stopped at Bombay, Davy got off and never reboarded! He ended up travelling round India picking up the ragas and scales and adapting his guitar tuning so he could jam with the locals!

He still loved the blues and Big Bill Broonzy, (incidentally the first blues artist to visit the UK) and Willie Dixon tunes get a run out too with "I'm Ready and 'Rock Me Baby.""Anji" gets another outing as DG explains how he wrote it, playing round french cafe's in bare feet! But the absolute highlight for me is the next track "Blues Raga," which seems eerily to channel Ravi Shankar and this is where his true individuality breathes.

 For someone to get so acquainted to hindustani classical music and then give it his own twist is truly remarkable, to get such a sound out of a guitar coupled with depth understanding, technique and passion! Some nice jazz outings take shape in the form of the blues jazz standard "When Did You Leave Heaven," refreshingly charming, especially his unforced measured voice which just adds the icing on the cake to his extraordinary god given talent.CD3 (1970-2007) kicks off with "The Gold Ring" - irish folkiness showing a lyrical and wistful side to him and again from a live concert and the reflective "Happy Meeting In Glory," will put any sour puss in a good mood.

Even "Blue Bossa," one of the most over played jazz standards at jazz jams up and down the country, sounds fresh in his magical hands and that goes for "All Of M"' too done in ragtime!This unearthed treasure is a godsend and essential to anyone whose ever picked up a guitar, a most sustained and brilliant volume of work. A compelling and seductive masterpiece from this one man orchestra, need I say more!

WORDS EMRYS BAIRD

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