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Bread & Wine BRINECD-4 

Here are two CDs, released simultaneously by Bread & Wine, which are straight re-issues of two of Davy Graham’s Decca LPs. Each contains brief notes on the tracks and includes a booklet. A few of the tracks betray their age through the mastering, but this is a minor note and not actually a complaint.

The current folk scene is most likely to know Davy Graham through his Folk Roots - New Routes LP (1964) collaboration with Shirley Collins. And his instrumental Anji remains de rigueur for any aspirant guitarist learning to finger-pick. Graham was a supreme artist rather than an entertainer and therefore never reached the wide popularity that his innovative skills really warranted, but his legacy lies in the influence he had on guitarists who followed him: Jansch, McTell, Carthy, Simon and Martyn to mention but a few. His style was innovative – he claims to be the originator of the DADGAD tuning – and his music was by no means confined to what we now think of as ‘folk’. From traditional to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan: from Henry Purcell to Muddy Waters. Jazz, folk, classical: Graham is master of them all – a guitarist of supreme artistry, and all are represented on these CDs. Davy Graham’s diversity sat well within the eclectic early days of the ‘folk revival’ which was far less narrow and specialised than it later became.

These CDs are not just a trip into nostalgia; they are superb listening, exemplary guitar work (as well as the songs), and sit on the CD rack alongside the likes of Hot Club of France, Sean Maguire, Tim Edey and other such virtuosi.

Tom Brown


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine