Hindsight is wonderful. Looking back to 1966 when Midnight Man, Davy Graham’s second Decca album, was originally released, its eclectic mix of material was fairly representative of the state of the music business in the UK from Jim Reeves and Frank Sinatra at one extreme to The Rolling Stones and The Kinks at the other. Come to think of it, Davy Graham was still somewhere out there.
The album opens with Graham’s own ‘No Preacher Blues’ which was something of a protest song taken at a fast tempo. It’s followed by ‘The Fakir’, composed by Lalo Schifrin while performing with Dizzy Gillespie. Graham makes this jazz track his own, sometimes playing what might have been a sitar part on guitar. He’s aided by Tony Reeves on bass and Barry Morgan on percussion for what is probably the record’s best track. There’s more jazz to come with Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’ and Junior Mance’s ‘Jubilation’ but next up is a cover of ‘I’m Looking Through You’ which was about as mainstream as you could get. Of course, Graham does pick one of the less well-known tracks from Rubber Soul.
There are more blues with ‘Stormy Monday’, ‘Lost Lover Blues’ and ‘Jelly Roll Baker’; rock’n’roll in the shape of ‘Money Honey’ and R&B with Rufus Thomas’ ‘Walkin’ The Dog’ but this mix of material hangs together well and it’s made to do so by Davy’s wonderful guitar playing.
Graham’s reputation has grown with the years and the current program of reissues is proof of that. It’s such a shame that people didn’t get him at the time.
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‘Walkin’ The Dog’: