Know anything about Davy Graham?
Well I’d never heard of him until quite recently, by way of this brief live-performance review in a Manchester newspaper.
Subsequent research — by which I mean Googling — indicates that he’s an important figure in guitar/folk history, largely because of his solo acoustic instrumental piece “Anji,” written in the late 1950s, when he was 19, and released on a record in 1962. By some accounts, Graham (who is sometimes Davy, and sometimes Davey, for reasons that are a little murky to me) helped spark the folk revival in the UK; Paul Simon has apparently called him “perhaps Britain’s greatest guitarist. Simon & Garfunkel did a version of “Anji” on one of their records.
Nevertheless, Graham seems to have subsequently fallen into obscurity, until he was re-introduced to the public by way of a BBC Radio documentary called “Whatever Happened to Davy Graham?” And thus we find him performing in Manchester:
He opened with a pair of fiendishly difficult Spanish baroque pieces, his fingers spidering across the frets. After casual vocals on Careless Love and, more impressively, St James Infirmary, he criss-crossed instrumentally, via Ireland, to various parts of the Balkans.
I haven’t found any evidence of a recorded version of “SJI” by Graham, which is too bad, because he certainly has the sort of background that would lead me to believe he’d have a nice take. But you can hear some of his music at his site. And “Anji” is available on iTunes.