Nic Jones Biography

Nicholas Paul Jones, 9 January 1947, Orpington, Kent, England. The earlier work of this highly respected guitarist and fiddle player showed great promise, but a tragic accident interrupted his career. Initially inspired by Hank Marvin, Jones gradually drifted into folk music thanks to the influence of leading guitarists Bert Jansch and Davey Graham. In 1967 Jones played guitar and sang on the Halliard’s album It’s The Irish In Me. He signed to Bill Leader’s Trailer label, releasing his debut album in 1970. Ballads And Songs demonstrated his already impressive fingerpicked guitar style, and contained radical reworkings of folk standards ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ and ‘Little Musgrave’. An impressive follow-up appeared a year later.

Collaborative work with Tony Rose and Jon Raven followed, and during the mid-70s Jones contributed to Maddy Prior and June Tabor’s Silly Sisters, Tabor’s Airs And Graces and Ashes And Diamonds, Peter Bellamy’s The Transports and the Albion Country Band’s No Roses. He returned to solo work with 1977’s The Noah’s Ark Trap, which featured a more relaxed guitar style and included the classic ‘Ten Thousand Miles’. Following the release of From The Devil To A Stranger, Jones formed the short-lived Bandoggs, which included Rose, Pete Coe and Chris Coe. This folk supergroup recorded one self-titled album for Transatlantic Records before disbanding. Jones moved to Topic Records for 1980’s Penguin Eggs, which became Melody Maker folk album of the year, and contained some excellent performances, including ‘The Humpback Whale’.

On 26 February 1982, Jones was involved in a car crash that left him in a coma for six weeks. He then spent the next six months in hospital while his broken bones were repaired. As a result, Jones had to try and re-learn his old highly innovative instrumental technique. Jones has been critical of the folk purists who refuse to allow songs to evolve, and on one occasion sang a Chuck Berry song at the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, with the inevitable hostile reaction. He provided vocals on the 1989 Gerry Hallom release Old Australian Ways, proving that his voice was still resonant. Live and studio material recorded in the early 80s prior to his crash was made available in the late 90s and new millennium, thanks to the effort of Jones and his wife Julia.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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