By Steve Hochman
In 1965, a dejected Paul Simon went for an extended stay in England. When he returned home to New York toward the end of the year, he brought Anji with him.
Well, “Anji.” A piece of music, not a woman.
“Anji” — sometimes spelled “Angi” or “Angie” — was written and first recorded in the late 1950s by English guitarist Davy Graham, considered by many the first star of the U.K. folk guitar renaissance. It’s a snappy little fingerpicked number, a series of trills over a descending bass line. Really more jazzy than folkie. By the time Simon first heard it, apparently via the playing of another young star of the scene, Bert Jansch, it had become the touchstone for English acoustic guitarists. This was the piece they had to master to gain entry into that world and in the process serving to popularize the dark modal DADGAD open tuning as the scene standard.Continue reading
Noting the influence by English folk giants Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, and Ann Briggs (listen to “Go Your Way” at 23:26), Chicago’s Ryley Walker gives a groovy studio performance and interview with Seattle radio KEXP. The first clip is from 2014 and second is a year later, 2015.