Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note


Despite having a wide ranging taste in music you won’t find much progressive rock on this blog, therefore it is just as well that this track sounds more like Bert Jansch or Davy Graham than any wonderous story.

This Steve Howe composition and performance was featured as a live performance on the above 1971 album, this however is the studio version only available from 2005 from the extended and remastered version of the album.

“The Clap” – Yes

To buy the music of Yes click HERE

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music | , , | 1 Comment

Mose Allison

The great Mose Allison returns in March with his first new album in twelve years titled “The Way Of The World”

Here is the statement as issued by his record company:-

Mose Allison’s new album and ANTI- debut The Way of the World arrives March 23rd, 2010, marking his return to the recording studio after a 12 year absence. Working with maverick producer Joe Henry, Allison has found his most sympathetic setting in years, surrounded by young, vibrant players, who add surprising slide guitar and some sinewy saxophone to the classic Mose sound;

The Way of the World also features Mose’ first-ever duet with his daughter, singer Amy Allison. Yet this album is all Mose, from the solo song “Modest Proposal,” a sly scalpel taken to organized religion, to the modernist, Monkish changes he takes the band through on the lone instrumental, “Crush.”

Remarking on the outsized influence that Allison has had on several generations of musicians, producer Henry writes in his heartfelt liner notes, “For many of us, Mose Allison has long stood as a great swaying bridge, spanning our strange, stormy times: linking the fifties to the present; the mystical country blues to the urbanity of jazz; tough beat poetry to wistful self-reflection; seduction to candor, heart to mind, wit to wisdom; Mark Twain straight through to Willie Dixon, with Chico Marx barking directions from the backseat, James Stewart at the wheel.”

Allison occupies a hallowed place in blues songwriting, sitting alongside Dixon and Percy Mayfield in bringing a witty, urbane sensibility to the modern blues. Also well documented is his sway over a generation of British rockers – most rock fans know the Who’s blistering run-through of “Young Man’s Blues” on Live at Leeds, but are less aware of Mose’ influence on John Mayall, Van Morrison, Ray Davies, and the Yardbirds, all the way through to the Clash, who covered “Look Here” on Sandinista.

Then there is that subtle, indefinable fact of Mose’ voice, that laconic, laid-back singing style without which we would have no Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Belle and Sebastian, and Schoolhouse Rock. Not to mention Allison the respected pianist, with his nods to Monk and Garner, and a slew of five-star Downbeat reviews in his piano bench.

The Way of the World finds Mose playing and writing with a new looseness, a playfulness and verve that belies his years, while behind the offhand swing lies the weight of those years, in the slowburn vitriol of Mose’s mind in full gear. That canny blend of easy swing and lyrical incision makes The Way of the World an instant classic, in Mose’ or anyone else’s repertoire.

Track List:
01. My Brain
02. I Know You Didn’t Mean It
03. Everybody Thinks You’re An Angel
04. Let It Come Down
05. Modest Proposal
06. Crush
07. Some Right, Some Wrong
08. The Way Of The World
09. Ask Me Nice
10. Once In A While
11. I’m Alright
12. The New Situation

“My Brain” – Mose Allison

Obviously a re-working of this Willie Dixon classic:-

“My Babe” – Davy Graham ( I have previously posted the Little Walter version)

To buy the music of Mose Allison click HERE

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Blues, Jazz Vocal, New Music, New News, Video | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Davy Graham

A Scholar and a Gentleman

October saw the release of the above which is perhaps the  first truely definitive Davy Graham compilation.

“When Davy Graham died last December, the British folk scene lost one of its most extraordinary and influential guitarists, for he was years ahead of his time. He was fascinated by traditional music, but also by blues, north African, Middle Eastern and Indian styles, and classical music.

It was impossible to guess what he would turn to next, and he brought a new experimental approach to the folk scene that persists today.

This new two-CD set concentrates on his most creative period, the 60s, and much comes from the Decca catalogue. It starts with the original 1963 version of his best-known guitar piece, Angi (later rerecorded as Anji).

There are also tracks from his influential 1965 album, Folk, Blues & Beyond,

folk blues and beond

which includes everything from Mingus to Dylan, and from the experimental Folk Roots, New Routes, recorded with singer Shirley Collins. Then there’s his treatment of a Bulgarian dance piece, a Purcell harpsichord work, and the extraordinary She Moved Thru’ the Bizarre, which switches from English folk song to a raga, and then back again. The man was a genius.”

“I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes” – Davy Graham

Graham was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, to a Guyanese mother and a Scottish father. Although he never had any formal music lessons, he learnt to play the piano and harmonica as a child and then took up the guitar at the age of 12.

As a teenager, he was strongly influenced by the folk guitar player Steve Benbow, who had travelled widely with the army and played a guitar style influenced by Moroccan music.

At the age of 19, Graham wrote what was probably his most famous piece, at least for aspiring guitarists: the acoustic solo tune “Anji”. Colin Harper credits Graham with single-handledly inventing the concept of the folk guitar instrumental (whilst acknowledging that John Fahey was making a similar invention, simultaneously, in the U.S.).

Graham’s acoustic guitar solo “Angie”, named after his then girlfriend, appeared on his debut EP 3/4 AD in April 1962. The tune spread like wildfire through a generation of aspiring guitarists, changing its spelling as it went. Before the record was released, Bert Jansch had learnt it from a tape which Graham had lent to his half-sister, Jill Doyle, who was a friend of Jansch. Jansch included it on his 1965 debut album as “Angie”. But the spelling Anji became the most popular after it appeared in this way on Simon & Garfunkel‘s 1966 album Sounds of Silence, and it was as “Anji” that Chicken Shack recorded it for their 1969 100 Ton Chicken album.

“Anji” – Simon & Garfunkel

sounds of silence

One way that Graham came to the attention of guitarists was through his appearance in a 1959 TV film produced by Ken Russell, entitled Hound Dogs and Bach Addicts: The Guitar Craze, in which he played an acoustic instrumental version of Cry Me a River.This was broadcast as part of the BBC TV arts series Monitor.

Graham introduced the DADGAD guitar tuning to British guitarists, though it is not clear if it originated with him. Its main attraction was that it allowed the guitarist more freedom to improvise in the treble while maintaining a solid underlying harmony and rhythm in the bass. While ‘non-standard’, or ‘non-classical’ tunings were widely practiced by guitarists before this (Open E and Open G tunings were in common use by blues and slide guitar players) his use of DADGAD introduced a second standard tuning to guitarists.

To buy the music of Davy Graham click HERE

To buy the music of Simon & Garfunkel click HERE

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Blues, Folk, Old Music, Video | , | 2 Comments

Nic Jones

nic jones

Nic Jones until recently had never really crossed my radar.

Folk music was and to a degree still is a genre of music that I tend to dip my toe into rather than dive in.

It has so many sub-genre be it geographical or otherwise, however a great deal of the music I do listen to on a regular basis has it’s foundations in the world of “folk” where the songwriter, like the blues, is that great writer “Traditional”.

The music of Nic Jones sits nicely beside my admiration for Davy Graham, John Fahey and Bert Jansch as he is recognised both as folkie and as an inspirational guitar player.

He is perhaps best known for his 1980 album “Penguin Eggs” from which this is taken

“Canadee – I-O” – Nic Jones

penguin eggs

Nic’s guitar style was unique in its day and has often been imitated since. He played with a plastic thumb pick but not his fingernails. Instead he opted to grasp and pluck the strings of the guitar which led to the slapping down onto the fingerboard with no small force. The off-beat, percussive ‘ping’ sound which became his signature on the later albums is produced by a technique known as frailing, used by banjo players. The middle fingertip of the plucking hand is held behind the base of the thumb and then quickly flicked out and back in, striking the D-string with the main part of the nail.

He was also frequent user of open tunings, particularly in C and G.

His early musical interests included acts like Ray Charles and The Shadows. He first learned to play guitar while at school. His interest in folk music was aroused by some old school friends who had formed into a folk band called the Halliard. When the members of the Halliard decided to turn professional, one of them left to pursue a different career and Nic was invited to take his place. Whilst playing with the Halliard, Nic learned how to play the fiddle, and also how to research and arrange traditional material.

The Halliard split up in 1968 as the members decided to pursue individual interests. For Nic, after a period at home with his family, this meant forging a career as a solo artist. At first finding work as a session musician, his solo career eventually took off and he recorded five solo albums, plus contributions to another album with the folk act Bandoggs.

In February 1982, he was involved in a serious car accident while driving home after performing at Glossop Folk Club. He broke a large number of bones and suffered some brain damage and was hospitalised for eight months. Although he survived, he still suffers co-ordination problems and feels he is unable to play the guitar well enough to perform and record. He can no longer play the fiddle at all.

Nic now lives in Devon and continues to play guitar and write songs for his own pleasure. He has also developed a passion for chess. His wife, Julia, set up the record label Mollie Music which has issued three albums of re-mastered live recordings from Nic’s early career.

To buy the music of Nic Jones click HERE

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Folk, Old Music | , , , | Leave a comment

Davy Graham [26th Nov 1940 -15th Dec 2008]

Very sad news sourced from


Guitarist Davy Graham, an influential figure in the 1960s folk music revival in England, has died at the age of 68, his manager has announced.

According to his website, the musician died “from a massive seizure at home after a short battle with lung cancer”.

Born in 1940, Graham is probably best known for his acoustic instrumental Anji, covered by Simon and Garfunkel on their 1966 Sound of Silence album.

Ray Davies of the Kinks once described him as “an awesome influence”.

Born to a Scottish father and a Guyanese mother, Graham reportedly inspired many famous practitioners of the acoustic guitar.

A private funeral will be held this week, followed by a public memorial service in January.

“Davy was one of the true originals of the British folk scene – a man who could play everything from jazz and blues to traditional music,” wrote Radio 2’s Mike Harding on his blog.

“A giant of a man and an amazing performer in his heyday, he made many great albums and had a huge influence on people such as Paul Simon, Bert Jansch and Nick Drake.”


December 18, 2008 Posted by | New News, Video | | Leave a comment


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