Davy Gra­ham


Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - Rob hughes

Baroque wiz­ardry from the mas­ter of Bri­tish gui­tar-folk.

When it came to acous­tic gui­tar mu­sic in the 60s, no­body was more in­flu­en­tial than

Davy Gra­ham, who opened up a wealth of pos­si­bil­i­ties for fol­low­ers such as Bert Jan­sch, John Ren­bourn, Roy Harper, John Martyn and the young Jimmy Page. Paul Si­mon even asked him to form a duo in his pre-Gar­funkel days.

Gra­ham’s no­madic jour­neys around Morocco formed the ba­sis of his unique style, a daz­zling blend of jazz, folk and Ara­bic mu­sic that reached an early peak with Folk, Blues & Be­yond (9/10), is­sued in Jan­uary 1965.

Gra­ham was an in­ter­preter rather than a song­writer, pre­fer­ring to rad­i­cally over­haul the works of Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy, Charles Min­gus, Bob Dy­lan and oth­ers on his sec­ond solo al­bum. He was no great singer, in­stead us­ing his voice as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment to his won­drous fin­ger-pick­ing.

On a record stuffed with high­lights, Min­gus’s Bet­ter Git It In Your Soul is a blur of im­pro­vised force, while Blind Wil­lie John­son’s I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Some­times is be­yond nim­ble.

By 1968’s Large As Life And Twice As Nat­u­ral (8/10), with a band fea­tur­ing bas­sist Danny Thompson and drum­mer

Jon Hise­man, Gra­ham was fully im­mersed in raga-jazz, of­fer­ing a mix of ex­plo­rative in­stru­men­tals, orig­i­nals and a rav­ish­ing ver­sion of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.

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