Nic Jones has had a massive influence on the 2nd wave of the folk-revival and is still influencing the new generation of singers and guitarists that are driving this present folk-revival. His guitar style was unique; he experimented with different tunings – a technique that Davy Graham, Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy had introduced into the folk scene, but he also introduced a percussive element into his playing, plucking the strings hard to emphasise the rhythm and drive the song along.
His songs have become modern classics. He researched his material thoroughly and, though he once told me he was lazy and claimed never to have worked hard, he must have done to produce such a body of great work. As a musician he was highly respected and worked with fellow folk artists such as June Tabor, Shirley Collins, Barbara Dickson and Richard Thompson.
On 28 February 1982 – his life was changed completely when, as he told me, he “had a fight with a brick lorry and lost.”
His legacy is immense and we can only speculate (uselessly, Nic would probably say) on where he might have gone had he not met that brick lorry. His song Ruins By The Shore has become a modern classic and is an indication of the man’s songwriting abilities. He was a damn good fiddler too and taught me a few tunes way back when he used to stay in our house in Manchester.
In recent years he has come out of retirement and made a number of appearances with his son, Joe on guitar (a great player in his own right) and Belinda O’ Hooley (of O’Hooley and Tidow fame) on keyboards. It looks, however, as though he has now put such appearances on the back burner.
He made a number of superb albums on Bill Leader’s record label but Penguin Eggs, on the Topic Label and compilation albums such as
In Search of Nic Jones (1998)
Game Set Match (2006)
are the only CDs that are available with the family’s endorsement. His back catalogue is in some dispute.