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DAVY GRAHAM - Anthology

DAVY GRAHAM - Anthology
Les Cousins Music LC016

Mere words cannot explain the excitement when this album arrived in the post. It was eagerly ripped open and disc one slotted into the CD player.

I’ve got just about everything ever released by Davy Graham but this three CD collection contains a veritable gold mine of ‘lost recordings’ from forty-six years of his life. It spans the original acetates from his first audition to recordings of his last tour in 2007. OK some of the recording quality leaves a lot to be desired but that really doesn’t matter when you look at some of the gems it contains.

Disc one from the early years has the first known recording of the guitarist’s ‘rite of passage’ instrumental, Anji, with Graham explaining its origins. “I took it to Alex Korner and he was quiet pleased with it and took it up to someone to get it published. I’m not sure what they are going to do with it, if they are going to make any money out of it. But I think it could sell. It’s an easy thing. The theme is so simple.”

Also on disc one is a complex jazz arrangement of the standard All Of You and a dazzling arrangement of Paul Desmond’s Take Five. All recorded at a time most Folk guitarists knew at the most three or four chords.

Disc two is not great in terms of quality and some tracks, like Freight Train, sound like he’s singing in a bucket. But they were recorded in a folk club with primitive equipment. The quality improves considerably on disc three which is mostly material from near the end of his career and includes songs like New Junkie Blues which was recorded at The Sage in Gateshead.

The gatefold sleeve is a splendid design compiled from Graham’s old scrap books and includes photographs, news clippings and gig posters, even his Musicians Union Card which he used to collect the autographs of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

This is a ‘must have’ album for Davy Graham fans, guitarists and musical historians.

Hugh Taylor


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.