Davey Graham has passed away. I haven’t been able to find an online example of his most famous piece Anji, but here’s him playing Cry Me A River on a former bomb site in what looks like Notting Hill. I think this is from Ken Russell’s Hound Dogs and Bach Addicts: The Guitar Craze which was broadcast on the BBC in 1959. Graham was hugely inventive and influential, inspiring Paul Simon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Nick Drake among many others. A lot of his recordings convince you that he must have had about 20 fingers. He’d more or less dropped off the radar by the end of the 70s, which might have been as much due to his eccentricity as his heroin addiction. Originally, Davey had deliberately become a junkie in a misguided homage to Charlie Parker, (“It’s what musicians do”) but it ultimately took over his life. He was enjoying something of a comeback after a fan with music industry connections tracked him down to Camden Town where he was living in quite straitened circumstances. Apparently Davey had never bothered to claim any royalties, something that latterly his friends were trying to put right.
Oh yes – one of his albums has just about the best cover of all time. They don’t make ’em like that any more.