Saturday, August 20, 2016

I remembered I had a tape recorder of sorts and turned it on


A codicil to recent discussion about the benefits of simple microphone techniques is provided by the album above. After playing a gig at Hull University in 1967 folk guitarist Graham Davey paid a visit on a friend living in a university hall of residence. John Pilgrim, who was the friend, takes up the story in the sleeve essay:
The immediate greetings out of the way tea was made - brewed not rolled - and Davey took out his guitar and started playing. After a few numbers I remembered I had a tape recorder of sorts and turned it on. One or two mildly inebriated students had followed Davey Graham into my room. A few more drifted in as the sound of Graham's guitar penetrated the room.
The tape recorder of sorts was in fact a domestic mono Philips reel-to-reel machine. Fortunately the tape spool remained in John Pilgrim's possession and the recording was commercially released on CD as Davey Graham ‎– After Hours (At Hull University, 4th February 1967) in 1997 by Rollercoaster Records and remains available. The After Hours album has achieved legendary status because after cleaning up the master tape produced surprisingly passable sound and captured Davey Graham's brilliant guitar technique without the artifice of a recording studio. The track list, which includes takes on Bach's Bourée in E minor, Art Blakey's Buhaina Chant, the gavotte from Robert de Visée's D minor suite, and a medley of She Moved Thru' the Bizarre and Blue Raga, reflects his eclectic tastes.

Davey Graham was an important figure in the British folk music revival. The DADGAD guitar tuning was created by him to play music he had heard in Morocco on the oud. His open tunings inspired many guitarists including Nick Drake, and his style influenced a generation of musicians including Pentangle and Fairport Convention and contributed to the early development of world music. In age where music is multi-miced and Pro Tooled to death the last paragraph of John Pilgrim's sleeve note delivers an important message:
Here is a CD for people who like music without pre-definitions and without pre-packaging. The recording and its survival involved a whole series of accidents. Enjoy the results.
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