Nic Jones

Game Set Match

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Nic Jones might be alive, but a car crash in 1982 left him unable to play, which meant that British folk music lost one of its leading lights. Since then a couple of collections have appeared to keep the legend alive, and this only adds to the luster. Jones was a master of the tradition, a brilliant guitarist and an inviting singer with imagination and an inquisitive mind. Although the tracks here don't have the cohesion of, say, Penguin Eggs, there's plenty of joy in the music, gathered as it is from different times and sources. He'd recorded much of the material on previous releases (even if those releases remain sadly out of print), but these show him tinkering with those versions, transforming "Dives & Lazarus" into something cold, for example, a chilling piece of storytelling. But that's the beauty of Game Set Match; the way Jones offers radically different interpretations of songs he'd already recorded -- the progress of folk and an artist in action. It's a reminder of what a superb artist he was, and what talent was lost in a tangle of metal on the road.

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