Wizz Jones

Lucky the Man

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Recorded in 1998-2000 and initially released in 2001, Lucky the Man is a fine, low-key set of contemporary British folk from one of the men who set the foundations for the genre, Wizz Jones. Almost entirely acoustic, the focus is very much on Jones' singing and guitar playing. But he does get some help from some more celebrated friends on assorted tracks, including guitarist John Renbourn, Pentangle singer Jacqui McShee, drummer Gerry Conway, and original Incredible String Band member Clive Palmer. Jones never wrote much of his own material, to the point where including three of his own compositions, as he did on this record, is considered an abundance of original tunes. Otherwise the choice of songs is eclectic, including compositions by Palmer, Archie Fisher, fellow obscure British folkie Al Jones, Ray Charles, cult singer/songwriter Jackson C. Frank, bluesman Blind Boy Fuller, and jazzmen Jon Hendricks and Cannonball Adderley's "Sermonette." Whatever the genre the song was first associated with, however, it all comes out British folk, played dexterously, sung warmly, and executed with a catholicity of taste that encompasses jazz, blues, Appalachian music, and ragtime within a folk framework. Jones' recordings of the '60s and '70s will always be his most noted ones, as it was then as his profile and influence (such as they were) were at their peak, but this recording is just as listenable a showcase for his strong points as his vintage stuff. Originally released in limited numbers in 2001, the 2007 Hux reissue of the album adds five guitar-vocal-only bonus tracks from his mid-'80s album Grapes of Life, including a duet with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, "Sugar for Sugar."

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