My blog of Dave’s death last April generated an outpouring of comments and memories from many friends both old and new to me. I’d like to share this fascinating private message from Jonathan Amos, who wrote:
“I have just read with great interest your tribute to Dave. Thank you. I wanted to add a few words to your web page. I saw Dave only once at the Newquay Folk Club in Cornwall in 1976, bought Sad Pig Dance from him at the concert and since that day have never forgotten his wonderful and unique guitar playing. It was one of life’s great mysteries to me that such talent could go unnoticed by so many.
“Today I have just found out, to my great surprise, that we both went to Framlingham College in Suffolk. I looked him up in the Society of Old Framlinghamians website and found him listed with only the briefest of details but appearing gloriously, aged 14 and 15, in four photographs of the school cricket, hockey and rugby teams. How strange that it took that cute little boy, covered in mud, another eight years before he started playing guitar. The Society has a list of Distinguished OFs but guess what, no Dave! How can they include Ed Sheeran and not Dave Evans?! I shall tell the Society the news so they can add him to the list of Distinguished OFs and also include a fitting obituary in the annual Yearbook.”
“He was certainly a very good-looking boy with a face full of character which didn’t change much into adulthood so it’s easy to spot him in these school photographs. He must have been pretty good at hockey, rugby and cricket to get into the school first teams. I can’t get over the fact that he did not start playing guitar until he was 23 (I thought I was late starting at 16!) so perhaps he was really keen on sport in those days. These photos stop at 1956 though he left the school in 1958 so I’m not sure if he lost interest in sports in his last two years or if the photos have not been uploaded.
“Anyway, I have been very pleased to come across these old photos and listen to Dave’s music again. I hope they give pleasure to others, especially old friends and relations who probably never knew such photos existed.”
Though the school’s secretary was glad to hear of Dave’s musical success and fame from Jonathan, he has yet to receive his entry, though we remain hopeful.
Meanwhile, I waited to share this until I could also share this exciting news:
Stefan Grossman chose to commemorate Dave with a new Mel Bay publication of Dave’s Sad Pig Dance tab. He included a few extras, including the rare “Squaring the Triangle” piece that I played at the last Harp Guitar Gathering. You can access the audio clip of that (provided via Dave > Frank Doucette > me > Stefan) and the others through a link given in the book.
The book contains assorted rare b&w photos, including two from the Gatherings.
Most surprisingly, the book’s only text is by yours truly. Stefan was moved by my very personal post and asked that it serve as this publication’s 4-page Introduction! I was of course floored and honored, and subsequently provided a slight shortening and updating, but essentially, it’s all there.
I hope every guitarist and friend of Dave buys a copy (preferably from your local music store or direct from Mel Bay here).
Gregg, I know that you are aware of my being a huge Dave Evans fan. That was kicked off around 1980 after finally getting my BS in ’78 and earning enough money to buy (13) Kicking Mule albums to begin my fingerstyle journey, which continues to this day. Sad Pig dance absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t stop listening to it, despite having just acquired a treasure trove of fingerstyle guitar music all at once. After hearing Stage Fright for the first time, I was convinced that I would not rest until I got good enough to play that piece. I still enjoy playing it today, even though I have done so for about 40 years now. It just never gets old.
I continue to receive personal messages from those who have (later) learned the news of Dave’s passing. The following one is quite valuable and entertaining also! (shared with permission) – Gregg
My wife and I were very sorry to come across a news item stating that Dave Evans had died. I have some observations regarding him that I hope you will find interesting. I first met Dave in about 1966 through one of his friends when he was studying at Loughborough College of Art. Along with this friend Phil, and another one called Dan, (fellow students) they all lived on the “Commodore” houseboat that they owned, moored at Bishop Meadow Lock, in Loughborough, on the Grand Union Canal. I became a very frequent visitor and was quite popular as I owned a car!
Dave was a “mature student” who was aged 25 when they started their course in 1965 (having been in the merchant navy), and the other two had gone there straight from school. His girlfriend Barbara is the lady on the cover of “The Words In Between”. I often gave Barbara and Dan’s girlfriend a lift back to where they lived along with other female students before curfew. Dave, Phil and Dan received their diplomas in ceramics in the summer of 1967 and I bought the houseboat off them. After leaving college, Dan started ‘Muggins Pottery” near Loughborough which is still going today, specialising in items that have very distinct faces. Dave worked with Dan for a brief spell and I have an eggcup that is stamped DE.
Whilst they lived on the houseboat a recording was made of Dave with blankets put up over the reflective surfaces, but I don’t know who made the recording. It was a long time before Ian Anderson recorded “The Words In Between”. To try and harden his fingertips Dave submerged them in urine. I have no idea if other guitarists do this! Sometime in the early 1980s I had to go to Belgium for my work. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I went to see him and stayed there over a long weekend.
I don’t know exactly how Canton Trig fits in, but somewhere (I can’t find it at present), I have a small flyer with a photo of all of them on it. I must have got it when I went to Brussels. I also have a cassette tape with them performing “Time to kill” and “Sunday is Beautiful” from the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’, on different dates, but I must have been told when they were performing. The two tracks, composed by Dave, are on the double CD ‘Canton Trig’, ‘The Early Years / The Later Years’.
Regarding ‘Elephantasia’ (which I have) it appears that there are copies of the LP for sale online, if you don’t mind spending 100 dollars or more!
Hi, read with interest about Dave Evans in your recent posts, particularly the comments from Mike Milsom about Canton Trig. I was in the band with Dave, along with my late brother Dave Fuller and Rob Spensley. If you have any questions about that time in Dave’s life I’d be glad to answer them if I can remember!!
Dave (or David as his family knew him) Evans was my dear and much loved cousin. Many of his songs were honed at my late parents’ homes Packwood Grange (Dorridge) or Landsdowne in Knowle during his visits to his Mother, Mary Daw or his Aunt my late Mother Jeannie Lewis.
In recent years he always came to the Orkney International Folk Festival growling if he felt a performer”s playing wasn’t up to much, entranced to see and hear some of those whose work he admired and of course tasting a fair amount of the local beer and Highland Park!
I knew him all my life, from his teenage years at Framlingham when he spent holidays with our Grandmother in Birch, Essex, to visits to his barge where he was woken by greedy swans damanding breakfast. I visited the pottery which his late Mother helped to finance and i still have my Ugly Muggs and the exhibition piece from Loughborough – a treasured possession. I have all the letters he wrote home from around the world during his years in the Merchant Navy including one illustrated treatise on the lavatories of the world!
He wrote from wherever he was living, working, playing, gardening, brewing usually starting with an apology for the delay in doing so. A truly magical man of many many talents there is not a day that i dont think of him and as he spent Christmas with me in Orkney in recent years… he is especially missed at this time of year.
It’s so cool to see those photos of Dave! And that Stefan used your write-up on Dave’s passing too. Good on ya, Gregg!