Wizz Jones

The Legendary Me

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The Legendary Me by guitarist Wizz Jones was his third offering released in November of 1970 in Great Britain; it was issued by the Village Thing label run by Ian Anderson (later founding editor of Folk Roots magazine) and Gef Lucena of SayDisc. Jones' guitaristry was trademark, full of blues, old world modes and lyric lines, burning finger-picking, and a sense of humor to go with it all; he is often compared to John Renbourn and Bert Jansch, but he's better than both and is in the same league as the legendary Davy Graham. As for the cuts themselves, the highlights include no less than eight by British artist, and close friend of Jones, Alan Turnbridge, a fine read of Rev. Gary Davis' "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning," the traditional "Willie Moore," and a single original by Jones, "If Only I'd Known." Jones is a better interpreter than a songwriter, but the off-kilter, semi-ragtime melody is beautiful. "Dazzling Stranger," by Turnbridge -- an earlier version appeared on Jones' 16 Tons of Bluegrass issued on Columbia in 1966 -- and features no less than Ralph McTell on harmonium (he also appears on "When I Cease to Care" playing electric guitar) and is one of the true high points here. So are "Willie Moore," and "Slow Down to My Speed," with vocalist Reanna James on piano. Peter Berryman also contributes to a pair of the album's cuts including the title written by Turnbridge. Although another of Jones' Columbia records, Right Now, is usually regarded as his classic, The Legendary Me is not only every bit as good, but arguably more focused, immediate, humorous, and tender. Brilliant and necessary for any fan of British folk. [Out of print for over 30 years, the album was finally released on CD in 2006 by the wondrous Sunbeam label. The CD contains three bonus cuts from the period, one a stunning and surprising cover of Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy," and another a reading of Jansch's "Needle of Death." Adding to the fine music is the package, which includes a groovy liner essay by Richard Morton Jack, and some fine photos to boot.]

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