Geoff Bradford is a British blues guitarist whose performing career dates from the end of the 1950s and the London Round House performances of Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies, years before they formed Blues, Inc. In contrast to most of the fledgling players on the British blues scene of the period, Bradford was already a virtuoso-level player, sufficiently so that he became something of a star in Davies' first band, after the latter parted company with Korner. According to Richard Newman in a 1995 article, Bradford was also a friend of a somewhat younger guitarist on the blues scene named Brian Jones, and it was he that Jones first approached about playing in a group that he was putting together -- that spot eventually went to Keith Richards, in what became the Rolling Stones. He did work with the Cyril Davies All-Stars (later the Hoochie Coochie Men), but ultimately -- as the serious blues that the latter group played became marginalized behind the louder rock sounds of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, et al. -- he faded from the view of the general public.
At a time when "blues" in British music came to be redefined around the high-wattage output of Cream's blues-based psychedelia or the soaring excursions in the field by Peter Green and the original Fleetwood Mac, Bradford's preference for country blues, as embodied by Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, et al., left him well outside the spotlight. Instead, he became something of a musician's musician, a respected virtuoso known to the professionals in his field, a sort of U.K. equivalent to the status that Ry Cooder (who also walked away from the chance to be a Rolling Stone, at a later date) had achieved in America by the early '70s. He has recorded infrequently, but with impressive musical results, most recently in 1995 for the Beat Goes On label -- and if Bradford's recordings and name are less than familiar to most listeners (especially outside of England), the array of fans he has acquired across the years is downright stellar, including Jimmy Page, Paul Jones, Ralph McTell, and Davy Graham. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi