Wizz Jones 

Amhurst .Massachusetts. USA. 

May 1998 

There certainly was a buzz in the air the night legendary English finger-style guitarist/pioneer Wizz Jones stepped on to the small stained glass-backed stage.

He stood before a capacity crowd on the first gig of his first-ever U.S. tour. “This is my first overseas performance before an English speaking audience.” He told the adoring crowd, which included the equally legendary Jackson.C.Frank.  Jones launched straight into an amazing opening set of songs and instrumentals, including “Touch Has A Memory.”  “National Seven.” “Happiness Was Free”,  and “Corrine.”  Jones squeezed and shook an amazing amount of sound out of his six-string acoustic guitar, which intermittently sounded like a 12-string, a Sitar or a full band!.  Covering a host of great songwriters, Jones put  whole new spins on such songs as Steve Tilston’s “Sometimes In This Life Are beautiful! and a dramatic performance of Ewan MacColl’s “ The Moving On Song.”  The first set concluded with a beautiful version of Jackson.C.Frank’s signature song, “Blues Run The Game.”; at the song’s conclusion Jones took a bow before the aging and ailing, but obviously touched, Frank.

After a short break, Jones returned to the stage, keenly aware by now that he was playing before an audience of hardcore fans.  He proceeded to play an extended set of 17 songs, some of which were rarely heard in performance. Jones opened up the medley of three bluesy favourites,  Jesse Winchester’s “Black Dog.” “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning.” (From Gary Davis) and  the classic Alan Tunbridge song “The Grapes Of Life.” More blues  such as “Mississippi John.” and “Got The Blues Can’t Be Satisfied.” would later find themselves into the set but Jones forsook some of his old standbys for a chance to play such gems as  his own “Night Ferry.” and “Poachers’ Moon.” and his famous rendition of Ralph McTell’s “Bentley And Craig.”  The evening concluded with an extended and stunning version of Davy Graham’s instrumental “Angie.” Once the piece that all finger-style guitarists were measured by.  Jones proved his worth! The show had hardly ended when a clearly surprised Jones was called back to the stage by the fevered demands of the audience.

Sitting once more in the lone spotlight, Jones delivered a stark and gorgeous version of the Tunbridge song “Massacre At Beziers.” and ended with a gentle, lovely rendition of “The Glory Of Love.” Though its taken him nearly 40 years to finally get over to these shores, Wizz Jones made the extremely long time worth the wait and left all who attended this very special first show with the hope that he no longer makes himself a stranger to the States.

 Lahri Bond. Dirty Linen Magazine. September 1998

Review from Wizz's first US tour ever...