The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117003 Message #2518503
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
17-Dec-08 - 08:59 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Davey Graham (1940-2008)
Subject: RE: Obit: Davey Graham R.I.P. (15 Dec 2008)
Its funny really us English people.
We always end up more like Tony Hancock in 'The Rebel' than Jean-Paul Sartre.
You become English by living here - you try and relate to the people - somehow.
God alone knows what Davy Graham went through as a kid - a half caste in a place like Hinckley; a place where the idea of a mixed marriage is marrying someone from Ibstock. Some artists are simply forced by reason of their sensibility to reach out of their immediate environment.
And if ever a musician tried to reach out above the heads of his immediate fellow humans, and find a more hip audience - it was surely Davy Graham.
I remember seeing Davy Graham striding down Greek Street. he seemed taller than everyone else, magnificently bronzed - and yet the sombrero .....it was more Tony Hancock than Rudolf Valentino.
the gigs at Cousins were weird. whereas most folksingers bitched from the stage about the long hours of the gig. Davy seemed very happy to fill the time - the ideas onstage tumbling out and bewildering to the audience - some of whom were audibly snoring - gettting more and more strange. he would probably have been playing like this at home - if he hadn't been here.
One piece consisted of a an F minor Chord tharashed and then a G7 thrashed and then ever longer more complicated legato passages. he said the tune came from Afghanistan, but really it was just two chords and a lot of notes.
I first heard of him after the Jansch blue album came out. There were lots of drug references on that blue album and I seem to remember Davy doing a track called Kif. The drug thing was kind of incidental Your parents didn't understand drugs, just like they didn't undertstand modern art, modern jazz, modern classical music, coq au vin rather than chicken and mushroom pukka pies - they didn't get any of it.
Davy started appearing in muso mags like Beat Instrumental - looking like a guy who wouldn't know what a pukka pie was. Definitely not from our world. And what was that chord he was holding down in the photo - it looked like a four string E7 - but who could tell - perhaps you needed to take drugs before you knew about stuff like that.
In the 1970's and 80's - he appeared to have cleaned up his act according to Guitar magazine. The interview was all about how he found that by doing athletic sport he had achieved personal humility and spiritual enlightenment. One things sure, no real guitarist (worth the name) could walk past without buying a magazine with davy Graham's name on the front
What they will never understand about people like Davy Graham is that in folk music - the music is merely tangential the main constituent is the folk. And Davy invested every ounce of this humanity to this music.