Wizz Jones

Magical Flight

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In folk collectors circles, the original LP of this album fetches a three-figure price tag. Reissued on CD it is, thankfully, more financially possible to hear the magnificent work of this English singer/songwriter. The obscure British folk revival artist's friends and fans may include Ralph McTell and the Incredible String Band, the most prominent buddy being one Burt Jansch, and the pair have often tipped hats to each other throughout their long careers. On this '70s LP, Jones followed a similar direction to Jansch by including small band backing, when he was previously a dogmatic voice/guitar performer. This adds a little lushness to his sound, and a gentle rhythmic propulsion that brings to mind the Pentangle. Like Jansch and John Renbourn, he maintains a cathartic edginess even in the most gentle songs -- deceptively heavy listening. "See How the Time Is Flying" is absolutely Ralph McTell, but, incidentally, Wizz Jones was pioneering this folk revival sound as early as 1958, and on hearing his astonishing guitar technique and vocal delivery, his students certainly included Roy Harper and Ralph McTell. Not until the late '90s would his stunning albums, the rocky Right Now and stripped-back solo acoustic collection Dazzling Stranger, appear in the U.S.A., thanks to Massachusetts independent Scenescoff. Magical Flight is an exquisite production from the '70s that may have slid under the carpet at the time, but it is no less than a vital chapter in the British folk scene.

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