In the pre-history of British guitar heroes, Davy Graham is a titan. On the early-’60s folk circuit, he was an awesome presence, not only as a stunning guitar player but as the originator of a million bizarre tunings and an influence upon the diverse talents of [a]Nick Drake[/a] and [a]Jimmy Page[/a]. However, the sheer obscurity of his work has, as yet, barred him from membership of the rock’n’roll hall of fame.
‘Fire In The Soul’ is an eclectic compilation of his work from the ’60s, veering uncomfortably from white-boy blues, through spindly guitar jazz to moments of truly pioneering brilliance. Among the first folk musicians to draw the polyglot sounds of India and North Africa into the usual boiling pot of traditional British songs and rural American blues, ‘The Fakir’ and ‘Tristano’ not only indicated a new direction in pop, but also would not sound out of place on such esoteric modern works as Gastr Del Sol‘s ‘Camoufleur’ album.
Perhaps the more conventional parts have not aged so well and Graham‘s occasional vocals are embarrassingly thin, but there are equally frequent moments of inspiration which show that Graham, like so many folkies of his generation, have been criminally overlooked. Grab yourself an Aran sweater and dig in, if you dare.