Thursday, December 18, 2008

Davy Graham: Nov. 22, 1940 - Dec. 15, 2008

"A traveling man who made the journey down to Tangiers when the rest of us had our sights on Brighton Pier" - John Renbourn

Guitarist Davy Graham grew up in an immigrant section of London, with a Scottish father and a Guyanese mother. His skin-tone had a tinge of color from his mother which reminded him of his "otherness", and he was blind in one eye...

In the laissez-faire bohemian world of beatnik moving into hippie, Davy was an immaculate dresser sporting tight-cropped short hair, who early on made a conscious decision to be a heroin addict, and originally chose to feature a large block of Moroccan hashish as the centerpiece of his "Folk, Blues, and Beyond" album cover.
His version of Good Morning Blues here
He played jazz in London supper clubs and busked on the streets of Paris, studied the Koran, the musical forms Southern India and Western Ireland. He brought the crowd to it's feet with his version of Muddy Waters' "Im Ready" when I saw him at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1974....

His original guitar tune "Anji", has a simple lilt and swing that the more well-known, virtuosic versions by both Bert Jansch and Paul Simon do not.
I would have loved to have sat down and had tea in an English garden with him...
She Moved Through the Fair


Trombonology said...

Very well-chosen highlights and representative anecdotes, Tom. What a guy, our Davy; listening to him as I type.

You ... saw ... him?!

Do you know that film, The Servant, of this clip, in which Davy plays "Rock Me, Mama"? I bought a DVD of it some months back, just to see him.

Tom the Piper's Son said...

Seeing Davy: That was a long time ago! I remember being impressed that he was standing up and playing - I always (wrongly) thought that to play music of such complexity one had to be sitting down. Then again, its easier to get with the groove standing up.

other highlights of that festival:
...seeing Sandy Denny get up and play a few songs solo.
...seeing the irish group Planxty
...seeing Stephane Grappelli up there absolutely ripping it up on violin with Diz Disley very Djangoesque on guitar.
...seeing John Prine from the states and hearing his wonderful song-stories.
...drinking the novelty that was Newcastle Brown.

...meeting a Norwegian "kid" my age who was also a Bert Jansch freak and exchanging tunes on guitar with him.

Trombonology said...

Yeah, I know about standing up: I was surprised to find Davy doing so in that "City and Suburban Blues"-"All of Me" video from some BBC television show. Then again, I suppose he could have played beautifully standing on his head. Having gotten into jazz since I was last playing in earnest, I recently found that I can't play standing up anymore. It was so easy when it was just the barred simple majors and minors of (a great deal of) '60's rock, but it sure isn't now with all those tricky jazz chord fingerings. My posture in standing seems to goof everything up. Ah, well ...

Oh, gee, do I envy you the experience of that concert!