Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
It's not quite what you think it is ...
on 16 January 2014
The first Davey/Davy Graham album I heard was 'After Hours', and I bought this a couple of days later, having been completely blown away by 'After Hours'. I was rather disappointed with this - everything that made 'After Hours' great is absent here. Graham is obviously a great guitarist, but this record is not great, and as it's meant to be his best I don't think I'll bother with any more (apart from the 'Live in Edinburgh' album perhaps).
Generally the feeling here is one of overproduction - it's all trying to sound much too smooth, polished and produced, as if someone at the record company thought that Graham might appeal to an audience with Pop sensibilities. Of course, much of my disappointment in this record comes from expectations. I thought that it would sit well alongside the early albums of Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Renbourn, and The Incredible String Band. However, in my opinion it does not sit comfortably here at all - I sometimes feel that it sounds a bit like a precursor to Scott Walker's early solo albums (which I'm not a great fan of).
Ultimately what this record lacks is a great engineer or producer, someone not afraid to let the sound be open and natural. Perhaps Graham's story would have been very different if he'd stuck with Bill Leader, or been recorded by John Wood or produced by Joe Boyd. Listening to 'After Hours' gives one a sense of how great it must have been to have seen Graham perform live. Listening to 'Folk, Blues and Beyond' explains why he didn't find a wider audience. Nevertheless, the five bonus tracks are great, and to my mind they indicate the way Graham's recordings should have sounded.