Crawdad is a first-take improvisation based (if I remember correctly!) on the first theme from Jimmy Guiffre’s ‘Crawdad Suite’, with a second guitar overdubbed (also the first take). There are some decidedly rough spots – rather like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn on an off-day – but I kind of like it as a preliminary sketch for something I may come back to in a while.

Actually, the Jansch/Renbourn reference is pretty apposite. Not only because I used some very Renbourn phrasing here and there on the overdub, but because Bert’s ‘Smokey River’ on his first album is similarly based on Guiffre’s ‘The Train and the River’. Not that I knew Bert well – I only met him once to talk to, in the 1980s – but we evidently shared a liking for Jim Hall’s guitar-playing as showcased on a couple of recordings with Guiffre’s groups.

‘Crawdad Suite’ was featured on a late 1950s Atlantic album called Jimmy Guiffre 3, with Guiffre (clarinet, baritone and tenor sax), Jim Hall (guitar)and Ralph Pena (bass).

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow


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