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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Nic Jones

By Rob Weir
Published April 27, 2007

Game Set Match

Until a 1982 auto accident left him unable to perform, Nic Jones was one of the leading lights of the British folk revival. He remains influential, as vintage Jones recordings continue to be mined for their treatments of traditional ballads. Check out “Clyde Water” from this collection of his live performances and compare it with Kate Rusby’s “Drowned Lovers” on Hourglass; ditto Martin Simpson’s version of “Rufford Park Poachers.” Many have drunk from wells dug by Jones, but as this retrospective shows, few have approached his heavily accented and muscular guitar playing, a style so strong that only his gale-force vocals, with their laughter-like catches, rivals it. When Jones really attacked his instrument he filled the room better than many quartets, and when he aired out his voice, the earth trembled. Game Set Match is no museum piece; even an old Nic Jones recording is as fresh as scones from the oven.