Rev Gary Davis: From Blues To Gospel


Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Blues/ragtime

Tracks:  13

Playing time:  50 minutes

Availability (out of 3):  3

Related website(s):  http://reverenddavis.org/

My rating: 10/10

I like…  The impassioned singing, the energy and variations of the guitar playing

I’m less keen on…  Nothing – this is authentic blues – allowance needs to be made for the lack of polish! 

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I first encountered Rev Gary Davis’ name in guitar tuition books in the early 1980s. I bought a vinyl album containing some of his 1960s recordings (some of which feature on this CD) and, although I wasn’t keen on some of them, others blew me away. I have a number of CDs of his recordings from this period, but I think that this one makes an excellent starting point for his music, especially given the album’s price.

Who?

Although blind from early childhood, by the age of eight or nine, Rev Davis had learned to play guitar, banjo and harmonica. He played and sang on sidewalks to make a living, and mentored Blind Boy Fuller, even claiming that Fuller owed him everything he knew, which seems a little exaggerated. He also made some recordings in the 1930s, but remained aggrieved for the rest of his days about the lack of remuneration he received. This affected his attitude to making recordings in later life. He died in 1972.

As with a number of other black bluesmen who had recorded in the 1920s and 1930s he was rediscovered in the American folk revival of the 1960s.

Rev Davis and Gibson SJ200 guitar

Continue reading “Rev Gary Davis: From Blues To Gospel”

Sorry for my absence!

Apologies if you have been kind enough to have followed my blog. I’ve had the excitement and unbridled joy of a family wedding in June, and the care and anxiety of a family hospitalisation and rehabilitation on my plate – as well as finalising plans for (semi-) retirement!

Even posting this apology didn’t quite make it to the top of my “to do” list – I guess I kept telling myself I’d be back here sooner than I was!

 

Regards

Steve

Kate Rusby: Hourglass

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad, vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  46 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

Related website(s):  http://www.katerusby.com

My rating: 10/10

I like…  Kate’s natural voice, poignant lyrics, minimal arrangements, the combined sound  instruments, tunes, and Kate’s voice

I’m less keen on… Nothing really

__________

I first came across Kate Rusby in a guitar magazine. A few months later she was scheduled to perform a gig nearby. I booked a ticket and decided to sample some of her music beforehand. I settled for this, her first album.

 

Who?

Kate Rusby comes from Barnsley, Yorkshire. Prior to her solo work she had worked with Celtic girl band Continue reading “Kate Rusby: Hourglass”

John Renbourn: Live In Italy

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/jazz

Tracks: 8

Playing time:  47 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  http://www.johnrenbourn.co.uk

My rating: 9/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the evocative and deft guitar playing

I’m less keen on… Nothing really, although ideally I’d have liked the inclusion of some of John’s interaction with the audience

__________

I first came upon the late John Renbourn’s music through references in guitar tuition material. Not long after, I obtained a vinyl copy of “John Renbourn”.  Years later I added a CD or two to my collection, then, after hearing him live twice with harpist/multi-instrumentalist Robin Williamson, added a few more. I count myself honoured to have had my copy of this album autographed – complete with a pentangle symbol – by John at one of those gigs, where I bought it.

Continue reading “John Renbourn: Live In Italy”

Don McLean: Tapestry

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Product DetailsFolk/pop

Tracks: 11

Playing time: 42 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  https://don-mclean.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  Don’s voice, the thought-provoking lyrics, the range of tunes, arrangements and sounds

I’m less keen on…  Nothing really, though as with any album I like some tracks more than others

__________

In 1971 suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, an American singer-songwriter captivated many listeners with an epic but enigmatic song, “American Pie”, and the following year with “Vincent”. Much as I was tempted at the time to buy the “American Pie” album, I opted instead to buy Don’s debut album, “Tapestry”. Although the album, and its title track, shared the same name as Carole King’s better known “Tapestry”, Continue reading “Don McLean: Tapestry”

Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights

 

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/Folk-blues/Jazz/Pop

Tracks: 21

Playing time:  38 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s): http://www.dalemiller.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the upbeat feel, the rich tone

I’m less keen on…   Some of the tracks are very short, but then the album is really aimed at guitar players wanting to learn new tunes and arrangements

_______________

 

Not only did the “folk revival” in America in the 1960s see the rediscovery of some great performers from, several decades earlier, it also saw a new generation of would-be guitar players. Many set themselves to learning the styles of the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis and Son House.  Some tracked down the music of other players, long dead, from the 1920s and 1930s. Blues and ragtime guitar challenged their dedication and co-ordination.

 

A number of players married the fingerpicking styles of some of the greats to compositions of their own, or to a range of tunes from folk or pop traditions. This album is a case in point. Continue reading “Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights”

Fay Hield: Orfeo

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad; vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  43 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

Related website(s):  www.fayhield.com

My rating:  9/10

I like:  Fay’s voice, the arrangements, 3 especially strong songs including one that blows me away each time

I’m less keen on:  a few of the less melodic songs – personal taste only, however!

_______________

“The Hurricane Party” isn’t what you would expect for the name of the band that backs a singer who performs traditional “folk” music. Continue reading “Fay Hield: Orfeo”