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Archie Fisher, Edinburgh Folk Club

Archie Fisher may have brought the wrong guitar – Thelma instead of Louise, apparently – but not having his top "box" to hand certainly didn't hamper his ability to couch songs in the most attractive of six-string orchestrations.

Fisher was one of the pioneers of the British folk scene who married the finger-picking magic of American folk-blues heroes such as Big Bill Broonzy and Brownie McGhee to material from closer to home, and more decades on than he'll thank me for mentioning and, despite waves of subsequent acoustic guitar wizards, he remains a masterly presence on the instrument.

With a voice that these days can take a little time to warm up to its full glow, his accompaniments can be as compelling as the narratives until the natural balance of words and supportive undertow is restored. With Fisher, as with many artists of his generation, the whole presentation is his strength.

Every song is chosen for a reason, fitting together to build up almost a complete autobiography. Old friends and inspirational sources arrive and depart and experiences introduce songs of seafaring, bygone farming traditions, long ago battles, changing seasons, family reminiscence and neighbours requesting a charity performance to help pay court fines for sundry misdemeanours.

It's an extraordinarily rich tapestry and Fisher has the talent and wit to take the listener to the heart of the action, whether it's spotting busker Davy Stewart's £18 bonnet – the amount it held – or using a vision of Woody Guthrie to gather colleagues and mentors into the classiest of roll calls.


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