Stefan Grossman – vintage 4-CD live set to be released in July

Stefan Grossman

Stefan Grossman was a teacher and music academic, who had studied under the great blues musicians back in the states – an American guitarist who could play immaculate, driving finger-picking styles, a songwriter who could move with ease from the traditional to the experimental. He was also a great entertainer and funny with it.

Stefan Grossman arrived from New York in the summer of 1967 and took the folk world by storm. These were the glory days of the British folk club scene. There were the hard-core led by Ewan MacColl and other venues which had become the meeting place for a quite extraordinary group of musicians, who were willing to mix traditional styles with often virtuoso guitar playing, new, self-composed songs and experimentation. At Le Cousins, in Soho, you could hear remarkable guitarists like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn mixing folk songs with blues or jazz influences, alongside of the likes of Roy Harper, John Martyn and Al Stewart. It was here that Grossman rapidly became a folk celebrity.

This four CD set has among its many gems, sessions recorded in front of an audience for John Peel’s Radio 1 Concert series, in which Stefan displays his blend of brilliant, often rapid-fire guitar styles, as well as solo songs which were recorded for the Old Grey Whistle Test, the BBC showcase for new and experimental music, presented by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris. There are also reminders of his many collaborations with many other guitarists and blues singers who recorded for his Kicking Mule label – one of which was John Renbourn, who Grossman then went on to tour the world with for 15 years.

It has been an extraordinary career and Stefan Grossman is acknowledged as one of the most important, influential musicians in the history of the blues. These historic, almost all previously unreleased recordings are a vivid reminder of the way Stefan Grossman shook up the British music scene.

This smartly-packaged set was dutifully assembled by author and journalist Colin Harper and features informative sleeve notes by the renowned journalist Robin Denselow and with remastered sound by famed German cutting engineer Eroc. This is without doubt one of the finest collections of Stefan Grossman’s music in many years, a must for fans of acoustic guitar stylings and music itself!

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