Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sky in My Pie / Head in the Cloudes
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Metal
The Welsh Django Reinhardt.
P.J. Le Faucheur | Canada (ex- U.K. resident) | 09/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In America they had Leo Kottke, Duck Baker, John Fahey and Stefan Grossman.Back in England in 1972 John James was hailed as the 'next Django Reinhardt" in The Melody Maker and various British music papers.
Even though he is essentially a folk guitarist whenever he breaks into single line runs he does resemble Django as shown on the very first track of this CD. This compilation of two of his early albums show us his skill (as well as fellow adept guitarist Peter Berryman)in handling everything from sea shanties to jazz to ragtime. Acoustic guitar has never sounded sweeter as James & Berryman tackle some very demanding and intricate passages .
The liner notes say that both men were inspired by Lonnie Johnson & Eddie Lang and this influence comes through on the tune "Easy Street" as they swap solos in that fashion.
The standout track for me is their version of Scott Joplins "Weeping Willow".(beautifully handled)
All the tunes are wonderful. On "Head In The Clouds" John James is aided by ex- Pentangle musician John Renbourne and the extravaganza continues.
In the early 70s in Britain there were several VERY talented folk guitarists who picked up from Davey Grahams legacy abit. Happily most of them are stll around.
(Martin Carthy, John Renbourne, Ralph McTell, Wizz Jones, Bert Jansch,Gerry Lockran,Richard Thompson etc) James & Berryman have faded abit in the distance today but they were amongst the most notable."
A sadly little known guitarist
C. H Smith | Bowling Green, Kentucky United States | 08/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the 1970s John James, a ragtime-influenced Welsh folk guitarist, put out a string of highly personal and technically accomplished albums that any musician would have been proud to have associated with his name. Sadly, in the U.S. he was, and still is, entirely unknown. Folks, this was one of the very best finger-picking style guitarists of his generation! Unlike his blues-influenced contemporaries Jansch, Renbourn and Graham, his was a nimble-fingered ragtime approach to his art--he was one of the first to rejuvenate the style, even before Joplin finally got his due with "The Sting." This particular twofer combines his first and fourth albums. I never cared all that much for "Sky in My Pie" (most of which consists of duets with second guitarist Pete Berryman), but "Head in the Clouds" is a minor masterpiece featuring some stunning ragtime renditions, ragtime-jazz fusions, and double-tracking that looked forward twenty years to some of the more atmospheric efforts of the Windham Hill crowd. Now, if only we could get a twofer of the second and third albums, perhaps his two best overall, the whole picture might finally come into focus..."
A nice missing link in the "new acoustic" guitar scene
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 08/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This single-disc reissue features two albums of obscure instrumental acoustic guitar music by Welsh guitarist John James. The first album, Pie In My Sky" features duets with guitarist Peter Berryman, many with a choppy, blues-informed style that doesn't quite have the expansiveness or imaginative breadth of, say, John Fahey or Leo Kottke, although it is still quite nice. (Certainly better than anything I could play...) By his second album, though, James had grown considerably, and the melodies and phrasing are much, much richer. Underscoring this growth, one of the masters of the genre, John Renbourn, joins him on three of the album's tracks, and these duets are indeed quite lovely. Guitar music fans will find this disc of note."