Roots

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hillier

Come What May Wizz Jones, Pete Ber­ry­man, Simeon Jones River­boat/Planet Wizz Jones and Pete Ber­ry­man were among the un­sung he­roes of the Bri­tish acous­tic gui­tar move­ment of the early 1960s kick­started by the mes­sianic Davy Gra­ham and dis­ci­ples Bert Jan­sch and John Ren­bourn.

In the com­pany of Jones’s sax­o­phone, flute and har­mon­ica-play­ing son, these sul­tans of sixstrings make a be­lated come­back with Come What May. The re­sult, as might be an­tic­i­pated given the mu­si­cians’ vin­tage, is more mel­liflu­ous than mind-blow­ing, the mood and modus operandi de­cid­edly nos­tal­gic.

These long-time mates work well to­gether, their singing and play­ing styles sharply con­trast­ing yet strangely com­ple­men­tary. They ease into the groove with a 1930s opener ( You’re Blase) that evokes wind-up gramo­phones and sit­ting room jams. Although it’s self-com­posed, Poacher’s Moon —a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally phrased Jones song that fol­lows a track later — could be a com­pan­ion piece. The singer’s world-weary de­liv­ery adds pathos to a po­etic in-be­tween track ( See How the Time is Fly­ing) penned by an­other long­stand­ing Jones as­so­ciate, Alan Tun­bridge. Jones’s smoky voice also in­hab­its Moon­shine, the ti­tle track of a fine 1973 Jan­sch al­bum.

In a tenor sax-en­hanced read­ing of The Bal­lad of the Sad Young Men — mem­o­rably ren­dered on Gra­ham’s sem­i­nal 1963 al­bum Folk, Blues & Be­yond — the sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian hits the high notes with admirable pre­ci­sion. Ber­ry­man’s gen­tler, smoother tim­bre shines in a ti­tle song based on a let­ter to his daugh­ter.

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