Monday, December 29, 2008

Folk, blues, and all points in between

2008 ends with the sad news of the death of Davy Graham. As a guitarist he crossed virtually every musical barrier, mixing folk with blues, jazz with pop and, ultimately, East with West. In doing so he re-wrote the rulebook on what you could and couldn't do with the instrument and influenced everybody from acoustic players like Bert Jansch through to rockers like Jimmy Page in the process. He popularised DADGAD tuning (whether he actually 'invented' it or not is open to dispute) which was used to such great effect on everything from 'Kashmir' by Led Zeppelin to Rory Gallagher's version of Leadbelly's 'Out On The Western Plain'- see what I mean about crossing barriers?- and is often cited as the man who showed that the guitar could be a credible solo instrument in folk music. To describe his much-covered instrumental piece 'Anji' as a classic is a bit like saying that Muhammad Ali is quite a well-known boxer. Hell, even I've tried to play it!

If what counts in this life is what you leave behind when you're gone, then Davy Graham has left behind more than most. It's very sad to see him go.

1 comment:

Voltarol said...

It had to happen sooner or later - we've both posted on the same subject on the same day...How sad that it had to be on this subject. Given our diverse musical backgrounds, I guess it says something about the man's huge influence and impact. Come to think of it, we probably would'nt have ended up playing together without that common ground and yet I don't think we ever discussed him at the time...Let's raise a glass to his memory tonight.

From the other blue two and a half