On this new album "About Time", two distinguished musicians join forces some 50 years after they first met and played together. Back then in 1966 Ralph McTell was fresh back from playing in Paris and met Wizz Jones in a coffee bar in Croydon called "Under the Olive Tree". He was invited by Wizz to go to Cornwall and play guitar with him. "It was a life-changing move for me and one of the most wonderful summers I have spent" remembers McTell in the sleeve notes of the album. They became life long friends and played together many times. In the spring of 2015 Ralph called Wizz and suggested they finally do a whole album together. They found themselves once again in Cornwall to make this album, joining a circle of music and friendship started some 50 years earlier.
This is an album made up of their old favourites. Some trad arrangements including the opening track Honey Babe Blues, originally recorded in the early 1960's by Doc Watson who himself played an important role in the folk revival of that time. There are other songs from influential folk pioneers, "Deportees" by Woody Guthrie, "If I Needed You" another classic and influential song from Townes Van Zandt and also Bob Dylan's "Abandoned Love" recorded in 1975 but itself abandoned and left unreleased for 20 years.
Their playing is intimate and easy going, almost like a live performance, it feels like all you are missing is the chat between the songs. You can imagine the two of them face to face playing their guitars and singing for each other, delving into past memories of songs they have enjoyed or been influenced by over the years.
The album has 13 acoustic tracks with singing duties shared between them and finds two musical friends in good form, still doing what they have loved doing for 50 years. Relaxed and comfortable in each others company, they have captured an honest unfussy sound of the two of them playing and singing together, acoustic guitars and harmonica, a touch of mandolin, even a little banjo on the old 50's song by Grandpa Jones, "Old Rattlers Pup".
It's lovely to hear them tackle these old tunes so assuredly and it illustrates how two young men from the 60's who were at the forefront of the burgeoning folk scene now stand as two seasoned professionals, great purveyors of their craft, enjoying the opportunity to make music together once again and doing it all so effortlessly for us to enjoy.
|Vincent Cross: Old Songs For Modern Folk||India McKellar: Sable (EP)|
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