‘The Enigma of Nic Jones‘ – is a beautiful, award-winning documentary directed by Michael Proodfoot and narrated by Cerys Matthews, with contributions from Nic Jones, his friends, family, collaborators and musicians inspired by the man and his music.
After a forced absence from performing of nearly thirty years, Nic Jones’ reappearance on the folk scene in 2011 was rapturously welcomed, accompanied in concert by his son Joe
and as a trio with Belinda O’Hooley on piano. In 2013, Nic was named Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. This arguably overdue accolade underlined the esteem in which Nic’s work and place in folk music is held, and was a significant marker in a journey that has taken Nic from respected session musician to established solo artist, then to folk-hero and crossover success via his now-classic Topic album Penguin Eggs.
First shown on BBC Four in 2013, this DVD adds full performances of seven pieces of music that briefly appear in the main documentary:
The Nic Jones Trio : Master Kilby, Rue The Day, I Only Spoke Portuguese
Eliza Carthy : 10,000 Miles
Blair Dunlop : Canadee-I-O
Pete Coe : Monday Morning, Astley’s Ride / Up and Away
‘…the photography’s gorgeous, the talking-head interviews are heartfelt and enlightening,
and the comeback footage… is tentative but often deeply moving.’ Time Out
A short trailer for the documentary is available here: https://vimeo.com/37817643
Nic Jones’ Penguin Eggs LP was first released on Topic Records in June 1980 to great critical acclaim. The album continues to be a mainstay of the Topic Records catalogue, consistently repressed on CD and vinyl, and available digitally, but Nic’s music has never been released on a 7” single, until now.
The perfect combination of guitar, voice and recording technique, ‘Canadee-I-O’ is the first track on Penguin Eggs, showcases Nic’s infectiously rhythmic guitar-style and vocal strength, and his peerless arrangement was used by Bob Dylan when he recorded a version for the 1992 album ‘Good As I Been To You’.
The B-side is a song Nic had been playing and singing as ‘The Flanders Shore’ for some years before this recording; ‘The Flandyke Shore’ is a mysterious and moving tale of love and loss, given poignancy and depth by his unique delivery.
The limited edition single is presented in a new Topic label sleeve with an additional sheet of photographs and period reviews.
For over thirty years Nic Jones has been recognised as one of the finest artists to have emerged from the British folk revival of the mid twentieth century. He recorded a handful of important albums including his most highly regarded Penguin Eggs (Topic TSCD411), before a road accident ended his performing career in early 1982. Game Set Match gathers together a remarkable series of live performances from the late 1970s. Nic remains one of the most influential and respected musicians, and his reputation and available recordings continue to attract an audience too young to have seen him perform.
- “These late 70s recordings are truly special. They capture Nic Jones at his finest.” ★★★★ Uncut
- ★★★★★ ” Record Collector
- “Fifteen faultless reasons why his name remains a mark of folk music supremacy. Utterly absorbing.” HMV Choice
- “Reaffirms Nic’s rightful legend as a colossus of the folk revival with his relaxed vocal style, his light innovative, percussive guitar accompaniments and his unique way of storytelling. Just hearing him creates a warm glow of recognition, familiarity and joy.” fRoots
- “A marvellously expressive voice and fingers that dance on his guitar. How glad we should be that a new generation can discover Nic through an album like this.” ★★★★ The Sun
This mature work of a brilliant song-interpreter and guitarist, packed with fresh songs and novel settings, is rendered all the more valuable by the scarcity of his recordings. When Bob Dylan appropriated his arrangement of Canadee-I-O, it was just one sign of Jones’ status among musicians as well as lay listeners.
“Penguin Eggs may be the best British acoustic folk album ever made” Stuart Maconie, BBC Radio 2
“This is simply the most committed folk music ever recorded. Jones’ guitar playing is diamond-hard while his vocals hit both head and heart. A written in stone masterpiece from a true folk icon.” All time classic album HMV Choice
“Penguin Eggs should be in every folkie’s music collection. It is one of those rare, nearly perfect recordings.” Celtic Heritage