Outright Records Home Latest News Discographies Artists New Artists Folk Blues Forums


Large As Life & Twice As Natural
Decca SLK 4969

Large As Life & Twice As Natural - Davy Graham

Album available as:-
(Fledgling FLED3054)

This is Davy Graham's third adventure on an LP …and along roads that are folk, blues, jazz, Arabic, Indian-and one or two more things. Travelling with a guitar and also Danny Thompson, bass Jon Hiseman, drums, Harold McNair, flutes, and Dick Heckstall-Smtih, saxophones. Travelling like Baudelaire's travellers; 'who move simply to move'. The man himself is equally at home in Edinburgh ('a stately city'); Glasgow ('such warm acid'); or in Athens ('gold and purple in the evening. Smooth as marble hollow solid eyes of panthers. So exhausting for strangers.') But he is never at home in any one place for very long. And this seems to be in exact parallel with his music. For he cannot be pigeonholed: fortunately. He is a life-member on the roundabout of alteration. Like his deep-down blues, and you have to accept his setting of a 1000 year old Romeo and Juliet story. Go with him on a musical flight to Morocco ('Jenra' : pavilion'd in splendour) and the return journey will be via an extended raga. But always-I should add-in the company of originality. For after introducing North African music to Western guitar, he has now done the same for India. It's a bit like Dr Bannister running his 4-minute mile and then going off in search of another distance. All of which is quiet disparate, but also very thorough and exciting and satisfying. In the past few years Davy has played his folk at the Edinburgh Festival, his jazz in some of the best clubs in London, his Arabic interpretations in Tangier and his ragas to people who know Ravi Shankar's records. (Unlike those who have gone to India for a 3-week Sitar course, he has investigated the form of ragas.) So far nobody who has listened has found his music a disappointment. And certainly not the many who have brought his two previous LPs.
Following this later collection I know have no idea where his next stop will be. He might take a bicycle to Mexico or slip inside a carrier pigeon's message to Senegal. Or it could be Canterbury. At least I know it will be fascination though as his producer of records, apart from supervising the sessions, I have found myself becoming more and more an editor of the ideas, which zoom out from him like flying saucers, with there origins just as mysterious. He will sometimes break off in the middle of a 'take' that another guitarist might become a Faust for, to tell me about three points of recording and it is preserved there for everyone to buy-he rarely performs it before an audience again. "I have to avoid the cliché," he says. "I want to keep them on the move…"
Well on behalf of those of us who have done cur best to keep up with him. I hope he does.

-Ray Horricks 1968 (Original sleeve notes)


Track Listing:

1. Both Sides Now (Mitchell) - 5:58
A bit of ould Irish inspiration adds some flavour to an otherwise attractive sound - a shot in the arm for what might have been an evanescent fold song. Written by Joni Mitchell and sung by Judy Collins, an American singer whose records bear witness to some conviction.

2. Bad Boy Blues (Trad.; Arr. Graham) - 2:13
A rare song that has become traditional. Interestingly, the subject of the song wears a black cap in this version - the penitent turned judge. Like other tracks on this album, it's given the jazz treatment by Harold McNair, England's foremost flautist in the field, and Dick Heckstall-Smith, the devastating tenor saxist (His Goribolship of the Deep Joy). A word of several about these men. Harold is urbane, finely tuned and immaculately dressed. Dick has something of the university teacher about him, and a scintillation wit, though suggestion the massive intellect of the ancient Egyptian in his 'quiet moments'. Danny Thompson, the bassist, a poised and elegant musician when he was with the New Jazz Orchestra, but I'll let you discover the effects of his playing for yourself.

3. Tristano (Graham) - 3:57
Ray Horricks, supervisor on this session and author of a definitive work on Court Basie, considers this my finest composition to date. Hmm

4. Babe, It Ain't No Lie (Trad.; Arr Graham) - 2:27
A 'gossip' song, made popular in the States by Joan Baez.

5. Bruton Town (Trad.;Arr Graham) - 3:56
A 10th century Somerset tragedy.

6. Sunshine Raga (Graham) - 6:16
This rag, unlike 'Blue Raga on side two, is evolutionary in character; that is, it employs a major third in the ascent of the scale and a major 7th, whereas the minor 7th used in 'Blue Raga' suggests involution, or a sadness found in fabo and blues. In the system of religious enlightenment of which musical education forms an inseparable part, these distinctions are all-important. Incidentally the use of the flatted 5th is also found in Minor or 'Blue' rag themes as well as in jazz (where it co notates a point technically known as a 'suspension'), taking the 'edge' off the note sol in the descent of the scale. The tuning I devised some years ago and employed on a previous album, as an amalgam of eastern modal tunings, and is original.

7. Freight Train Blues (McDowell) - 4:01
Originally a song by Fred McDowell, down home negro singer of the early 20th century.

8. Jenra (Graham) - 3:07
An originally composition combining ¾ time signature common to Northern Moroccan post-Ramadan nature of dance.

9. Electric Chair (Unknown) - 2:41
One of the most ingeniously subtle of the 'urban composed' type of 1920-30's blues.

10. Good Moring Blues (Trad.; Arr. Ledbetter) - 5:22
The classic Huddie Ledbetter composition.

11.Blue Raga (Graham) - 5:45
Deriving from Hindustan (Northern), as district from a Southern, carnatic rag theme, I have investigated and improvised into its present form, incorporating ideas from Scotts and other modal melodic sources.

Davy Graham: guitar, vocals
Dick Heckstall-Smith: saxophones
Jon Hiseman: drums
Harold McNair: flutes
Danny Thompson: bass







o polution