Thursday saw the passing of one of the great acoustic guitarists of the world – and one of the formative influences on my more limited technique.
John actually went to school in my home town Guildford, though he was at George Abbot School, named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who actually went to my school on the other side of town back in King James I’s time – very confusing. One of my friends remembered him there, struggling to learn the chords to Abide with Me. That was particularly amusing because the last time I saw him, just a few years ago in Colchester, he played Abide with Me.
With Bert Jansch, Davy Graham and a couple of others, Renbourn perfected the school of British acoustic guitar playing called “Folk Baroque”, which in the band he formed with Bert, Pentangle, led to a magical interplay between the two guitarists. It seems a long time ago I saw that band in London’s Albert Hall… come to think of it it was a long time ago – 45 years.
My friend Alvin Davies built a guitar for him (he built two for me!), and will be among the many friends who will miss him greatly. The rest of us will just miss his talent.