Shirley Collins & Davy Graham

Shirley Collins & Davy Graham - Folk Roots, New Routes
Fledg’ling FLED3052

It’s been a long time awaiting, but this 1964 Decca recording has been remastered and repackaged – and has the same dramatic effect on this listener as the first time around introduction to these monoliths of the folk scene.

In many ways this album is an enigma. For example, if all of the people that claim it as a seminal influence had actually bought a copy when it was originally released, it would have been a massive hit. Sadly it became a minor cult album among the revival scene but bombed commercially. Also, it’s worth pointing out that the ‘influence’ of this duo suggests a long-lived pairing (this is their only recording and they only performed together for a handful of gigs in 1964/5). However, the music speaks for itself. Graham’s guitar style is a striking antecedent of Jansch/Renbourn, McTell and in fact almost any acoustic folky from ’65 on – but with Indian/jazz woven through it like Blackpool rock. The plaintive voice of Collins and her confident banjo playing are perfect compliments (even if theoretically strange bedfellows).

Bear in mind that this is not a wall of sound here – there’s solo guitar, solo voice, guitar/voice or banjo/voice – nuff said. These are raw, chillingly dramatic experiences – less is most definitely more.

There was obvious chemistry between this pairing, particularly on tracks such as ‘Dearest Dear’ and ‘Love is Pleasin’’, but I also love the solo unaccompanied ‘Lord Greggory’ from Collins, and ‘Blue Monk’ as a solo guitar blitz. If there’s any justice, this deserves to be bought in droves this time around.

Grem Devlin

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.