Monday, August 03, 2015

Wizz Jones at the Hoy at Anchor Folk Club

Wizz Jones is a 76-year-old Croydon-born folk and blues singer-guitarist and songwriter who's been performing since 1957. Influenced by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, he has worked with musicians such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and banjo-player Pete Stanley, and has been recording since the mid-'60s. He was at The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex on July 28.
Across two sets over some 90 minutes, from the bluesier side of things came Doc Watson's 'Deep River Blues' with some excellent guitar picking and neat chord shapes, and his version of Blind Boy Fuller's 'Weeping Willow'. Highlights from his own compositions were the moving 'Burma Star', written about his late father who survived the Second World War after being 'listed as missing in '42', with its near-'20s jazz feel; the lighter 'Lullaby Of Battersea'; and 'Mississippi John', his tribute to the late Mississippi John Hurt. Wizz also rang the changes with a jazzy, stepping version of 'The Glory Of Love',  and demonstrated some exemplary chording and picking on his version of Blind Willie Johnson's 'Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying'; he even played some banjo on Ewan McColl's 'The Father's Song'. For an encore, and determined 'to get the time to play my hit... 'When I Leave Berlin'' (which Bruce Springsteen covered to open his 2012 show in Berlin) Wizz ended the night on a high. An enjoyable evening's entertainment from a fine singer and guitarist delivering a well blended musical repertoire, complete with some touches of laconic humour. Seamus McGarvey


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