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Bert, John, Davy and me!

Tunesmith 11 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM
Dave Hanson 11 Dec 11 - 04:50 PM
Desert Dancer 11 Dec 11 - 05:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Dec 11 - 07:54 PM
Tunesmith 12 Dec 11 - 02:38 AM
Will Fly 12 Dec 11 - 04:38 AM
Pete Jennings 12 Dec 11 - 04:50 AM
Tunesmith 12 Dec 11 - 06:29 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 11 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,David E. 12 Dec 11 - 11:56 AM
tonyteach1 12 Dec 11 - 12:17 PM
Tunesmith 12 Dec 11 - 01:00 PM
Will Fly 12 Dec 11 - 01:54 PM
Tunesmith 12 Dec 11 - 02:10 PM
tonyteach1 12 Dec 11 - 08:09 PM
Bert 12 Dec 11 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 12 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM
Tunesmith 13 Dec 11 - 02:45 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 11 - 10:56 AM
Tunesmith 13 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,matt milton 13 Dec 11 - 11:23 AM
Will Fly 13 Dec 11 - 11:44 AM
Vic Smith 13 Dec 11 - 12:26 PM
Will Fly 13 Dec 11 - 01:15 PM
tonyteach1 13 Dec 11 - 01:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 11 - 02:48 PM
Pete Jennings 14 Dec 11 - 07:40 AM
The Sandman 14 Dec 11 - 07:46 AM
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Subject: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM

Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Davy Graham are often linked together as a triumvirate of folky/bluesy guitarists who emerged on the 1960s London folk scene and changed acoustic guitar playing forever.
I love Davy and Bert's playing but strangely, musically, I never "got" John - except in his duets with Bert, where he seemed to come alive.
Davy was a great and marvelous adventurer on the guitar - a lot more so than either Bert or John.
Bert was a lot narrower in his musical adventures than Davy but he had a marvelous inventive streak that could take other guitarists breath a way.
And, John ... well, I loved his bohemian appearance on his first album cover, and when that album first appeared, I so much wanted to be John Renbourn.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 04:50 PM

What the feck are you on about ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 05:39 PM

Initiating discussion of these artists, perhaps, Dave?


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 07:54 PM

Well yes I thinks its about time we started talking about these guys. Two of them are dead. If we want our questions answering, it may be already too late.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 02:38 AM

Well Mr Dave H, my post should have raised some questions within an inquiring mind ( but there are less and less of those around, I'm afraid i.e. if things are not served up on a plate - forget it!).
Well, let's approach things more directly!
I would say that Davy is the most important of the three - as a guitarist - because, without Davy, Bert and John would not - I'm sure - have developed in to the important, influential players that they became.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 04:38 AM

If you listen to the first albums by Jansch and Renbourn, the influence of Davy Graham on both is manifest. As far as creative impetus is concerned - "Angi" apart - Jansch, in my opinion, was the best songwriter of the three - "Needle Of Death" and "Strolling Down The Highway" are still songs that spring to mind 40 years on. Graham's power was in taking tunes from different genres and making them his own. His "The Guitar Player" album - a Pye Golden Guinea vinyl release with a really cheesy cover - was his first flowering and, if you want to hear subtle playing, take a good hard listen to "Blues For Betty" and it's lovely bass line. "Buffalo", from the same album, was covered by John Renbourn who, after his stint with Jansch in the "Bert and John" album and with Pentangle, I lost interest in. I also lost interest in Bert Jansch's career after a few years. As for Davy Graham - whom I idolised as a young guitarist and knew fairly well - we know what sorry path he travelled. In spite of all that, I never forgot the stuff I'd learned from "The Guitar Player", "Folk, Blues and Beyond" and "Folk Roots, New Routes", and still play these things today now and then.

Guitar playing apart, Jansch had the most interesting voice. Graham, frankly, had a poor voice, but he got by with it on top of the wonderful playing.

Dear days for a young player - guitar heroes all around you - sitting in the Cousins at the all-niters until 4am with DG improvising amazingly, hour after hour...


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 04:50 AM

Without them, I'd still be strumming three chord tricks, blissfully unaware of the rich potential of the guitar. For me, it was Bert and his songs that were most influential but I've always been a keen admirer of all three.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 06:29 AM

I love Bert's first album and there are lots of obvious guitar influences there.
On songs such as "Running From Home" and "Needle of Death", Bert employs his take on clawhammer style (as we used to call it) which, I imagine, he got from Archie Fisher.
Davy's influence is more to be felt on the instrumentals.
Talking about that first album, it is amazing how it really has stood the test of time, and even today I can still get a lot from it.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 07:28 AM

none of them were any more than average singers, but that is not the point, they were all veryt good guitarists, jansch was the best song writerm, but hardly in macColls class as regards quantity of good songs, although needle of death is very good.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 11:56 AM

Three of my all time favorites. The Pentangle's "Sweet Child" and Davey's "Folk Blues and Beyond" forever changed the way I listened to music and sent me scurrying in so many directions, to jazz, to blues, to classical, to traditional singers, gospel, those two albums alone gave me a lifetime of listening adventure. But for me, Bert was and always will be, "the man" on guitar. I'm not claiming he was the most proficient or innovative of the three or making any claims regarding his songwriting or singing abilities, but a musician either moves you or he doesn't, and Bert has never failed to move me and I'm going to miss him like you would miss any dear friend you've had for life.

Thanks for starting the thread Tunesmith.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: tonyteach1
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 12:17 PM

A couple of names missing here Gordon Giltrap and Martin Carthy as well

I travelled a lot in the 60s and went to clubs - there were a lot of good players around who did not make national headlines I think there was a guy in Leicester who was very good called Mark Newman Each club had their local guitar hero


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 01:00 PM

tonyteach: Hi, I often wonder how many talented "Sons of Bert, John and Davy" emerged in the wake of those three innovators.
Certainly, Gordon Giltrap - I saw him at Les Cousins in his "singing days" - was an important one
Dave Evans was obviously coming out of Bert, and Dave Ellis ( I used to see him at Bunjies) was, again, very much influenced by Bert, John and Davy.
I imagine there were a few more real talents who never got wider recognition, or, at least, never came to my attention.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 01:54 PM

I think there was a guy in Leicester who was very good called Mark Newman

I remember Mark Newman - dark hair and black moustache and leather jacket - played in a blues band. I was a barman in the upstairs bar at a pub called the Victoria - next to the YMCA - where there was regular music. One night might be jazz, another blues and another folk. I remember serving Julie Felix one evening. I also remember Mark as being the first guitarist I heard play "Angi" - and asked him where he got it from!


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 02:10 PM

It appears that Mark Newman is Chris Newman's brother!
He's link to Mark's website.

Mark Newman's Site


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: tonyteach1
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 08:09 PM

Thanks tunesmith He and a guitarist called Thad Kaye were the leading guitarists in Leicester in the late 60s Good to know he is still around. I was a flamencoist in those days and still am although I teach acoustic as well

He was a really nice approachable guy and a very good player indeed although I notice the hair has gone I have still got mine and the box it came in


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Bert
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 08:18 PM

Listen!!! around here I am Bert. If you are talking about someone else, you must make it clear.

It's just the same as Max is Max and Kendall is Kendall. If you are talking about another Max or another Kendall or another katlaughing please be polite and let us know so we don't go opening threads in which we have no interest.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM

Dave Evans was nothing like Bert Jansch - he used different tunings for a start and had already evolved most of his style by 1963/4. If you ever get the chance ask Steve Tilston who knew him well and was influenced initially by him. Bert was a better songwriter, to be sure, and a totally different guitarist. As for comparisons with McColl - all subjective. To me when I hit London in 1965 as a young musician about to become a busker, McColl was some uncool bloke from a different era with a typically communist authoritarian way about him - clever in a narrow way but bossy. He wrote a semi decent pop song - Last Time etc but it took Roberta Flack to do it justice. Since then - my opinions haven't changed that much. Although the flame of 'folk', whatever that is in 2011, still burns occasionally. Just got back from a Magpie Lane gig at a local folk club in Leicestershire and they were superb.
Oh - saw Mark Newman back in the old days as well - good blues/ragtime stuff which mightily impressed us budding guitarists and he surfaced again sometime back.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 02:45 AM

If Dave Evans was playing in 1963/64 like he was playing on thoses Kicking Mule albums in the 1970s then that is indeed startling news, and turns the whole guitar legacy of Bert on its head!
But I doubt it!
Dave obviously owes a great deal to Bert and Davy.
And, don't forget, Dave's most beloved composition "Stagefright" is in dadgad tuning, and, also, Dave covered at least one of Bert Jansch's compositions.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 10:56 AM

this looks like it might be turning in to some stupid competitive nnsenses


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM

No, no! It's fascinating!
Were other guitarists working along similar lines to Bert and Davy back in 62/64 but have not received due credit?


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:23 AM

in the US, you have comparable(ish) figures, like Robbie Basho or John Fahey.

They were thinking along similar lines at about the same time. Blending blues and folk influences with Indian influences and from elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:44 AM

Davy Graham once told me that one of his early guitar influences was Steve Benbow (1931-2006) - not a name you hear much these days. A quick listen to some of the guitar work on Benbow's "Love Is Teasin'" - admittedly not an early recording of his - shows some resemblance of style.

Steve worked in the late '50s and early '60s with people like McColl, Lloyd Jimmie McGregor and Shirley Bland - also with the late John R.T. Davies, sax player with the original Temperance Seven and probably the greatest remasterer of 78rpm jazz records this country has ever seen. I haven't got much of Benbow on record, unfortunately, but he certainly had a reputation as a stylish guitarist. He had travelled extensively and spoke several languages, including Arabic.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 12:26 PM

Mike wrote:-
"Graham, frankly, had a poor voice"


I think that this unpredictable enigmatic character did have a really fine voice, but he didn't always use it; perhaps he couldn't sing well when he was playing guitar.

One time when we booked him in Lewes, he more or less followed what the resident singers did and started his first set with two unaccompanied Scots ballads, which I remember as being thoroughly enjoyable. Then he got his oud out and spent quite a time with that. I remember the guitar freaks in the audience looking a bit uncomfortable as it was about 1/2 an hour into his set before he got his guitar out.

I can remember three stages of Davy Graham. When I first heard him he always came over as a morose, uncommunicative character. Then, during his few years with Holly Gwinn Graham, he was delightful, charming and good company. We stayed with them at their lovely little cottage in Kent and they with us. I seem to remember that they were both very involved in the local church.

Holly went back to the USA, ostensibly to visit her parents for Christmas, but never returned. Davy was devasted and the long slow decline began.

Not long after he died, another of the folk scene's great guitarists suggested to me that he reckoned that Davy's interpersonal difficulties probably were related to the fact that he was somewhere on the autistic spectrum - but that this was never diagnosed. I spent a long time thinking about this and reckon that there must be a lot of truth in it.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 01:15 PM

I knew Davy in and around the "Holly" years which, for me, would be between 1965 and 1968 (though I never met her) and, as Vic says, found him to be a lovely and very generous, helpful man. I had a run through of the "Folk, Blues and Beyond" and "Midnight Man" albums yesterday and listened again to the vocals in particular. For me, there's a very definite slight flatness to the singing.

I do recall in a casual conversation one evening at the Cousins - me being a cheeky young bugger in those days - asking him why he didn't play more guitar instrumentals and sing less. An obvious reference to what I thought of his voice. How rude, in hindsight! But - charming as ever - instead of swatting me like a fly, he replied quite simply that he liked singing. And that was that. In live performance he projected better than on recordings. But that's true of many performers (me included).


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: tonyteach1
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 01:29 PM

Steve Benbow did a lot of session work for the Beeb during the 60s There were a number of session guitarists who supported artists at that time Jack Toogood - Judd Proctor etc who covered all styles of music


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 02:48 PM

Okay my thoughts on this lot:-

They were all very exciting. Even before you'd seen them - there was a frisson of excitement surrounding them. I doubt anybody lost money booking theose guys.

Davy i saw a few times and I heard his records, but I never really enjoyed his work. Some great ideas - like writing a piece for Lennie Tristano - but I rarely liked how the music sounded -not on record, not live. Just last week though. I saw little piece of film of him on the Nick Drake under review DVD, and it was music of great beauty and intensity. It was a side of him I never saw - I don't think Cousins /doss house atmosphere suited him. he deserved better than playing in pubs.

Bert - the thing I loved about his playing was how he kept giving the genre the slip and being himself.
For example Come Back Babby - I'd heard Snooks Eaglin, Dave Van Ronk, Gerry Lockran, that jazz guy who used to sing with Count Basie have a shot at this song. But it had never occurred to me anyone could take it down a chicane into modern jazz, until Bert. Because - Dixieland, first cousin of folk blues you could understand - but those little voicings and hints that say 'I'm cool, I've heard Gershwin, Brubeck and Miles, I'm urban and I OWN folk blues man!' - that is genius!

Similarly that thing in Bruton Town, where he breaks off from a courtly shuffle though a Somerset tale of aristocratic mayhem into a lead break that is so reminiscent of a call and responce field holler. You can almost hear the keening relatives of the young man.

John - I love him when he sings. I'm not keen on the instrumentals, which are clever. But I think I prefer people to be stupid but interesting.

why the folk police never raided them, I will never know.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 07:40 AM

Well, Al, to be fair to history, it has to be said that a lot of people did lose money by booking Bert back in his drinking days. Time after time he would cancel or simply not turn up or, if he did, was absolutely shambolic, something I have witnessed myself on a couple of occasions.

Fortunately he got himself back on track and after he married Loren he played some wonderful gigs.

He was, and will always be, one of my heroes.


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Subject: RE: Bert, John, Davy and me!
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 07:46 AM

Davy was the pioneer, people like Carthy ax cknowledge his importance


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