British traditional folk music is rooted in a vocal tradition of hundreds of years as well as a strong dance culture. It is not bound by any time or bar structure. The guitarist must find ways to explore, reinforce, accent and embellish these melodies. Martin Carthy has successfully done this with the C G C D G A tuning. He plays with a heavy percussive attack and has a unique sense of phrasing and a strong emotional and atmospheric feel for his music. In this DVD lesson, Martin explains in detail his playing techniques and style for seven of his most popular arrangements.
Titles include: Old Tom of Oxford, The Heroes of St. Valery, The Siege Of Delhi, La Cardeuse, McVeagh, The Harry Lime Theme and Seven Yellow Gypsies.
55 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Here Carthy teaches a total of six instrumentals and one song using the conventional “split-screen” mode familiar from most guitar videos. For each tune Carthy gives a brief introduction (nothing too technical at this stage - more like condensed versions of his stage intros) then plays the tune through once. Any quirks of technique are then briefly explained before the screen is split and each separate part played through slowly (with some parts repeated to show variations where they occur). This whole process goes some way towards demystifying the Carthy technique, but even with the additional help of a booklet giving full notation and tablature for all the tunes (and words for the song) the material here is still largely for the more advanced guitarist.
Heroes Of St. Valerie and McVeagh are obviously the easiest tunes here but they both still require commitment and patience to master. The rest will be well beyond the reaches of both beginners and most intermediate players. The reality though is that this release is less interesting as a guitar tutor than it is as a simple performance video. Just watching Carthy perform these eight tracks (morris tune and Carthy live staple Banbury Bill goes uncredited but is played over the closing titles) is the real pleasure here, as is Carthy's lengthy description of how he came to devise his unique tuning (via Davey Graham and DADGAD you may not be surprised to learn). Any apparent hostility he may have previously displayed towards this kind of project is gone as he finally implores the viewer/player to persevere and “have fun.” – Come Sing It Plain/Kevin Boyd