Slipcue.Com Celtic & UK Folk Guide

Bert Jansch portrait Glasgow's Bert Jansch (1943-2011) was one of the British folk revival's most influential performers and guitar stylists. A generation of folkie pickers sat at his feet, along with a sizeable contingent of the rock and blues guitarists of the time. In partnership with John Renbourn he formed first a folk-club duo and then the band Pentangle, which became one of the early supergroups of the British folk-rock scene. Jansch also had a considerable solo catalogue -- here's a quick look at his work...


Bert Jansch "Young Man Blues -- Live In Glasgow: 1962-1964" (Ace/Big Beat, 1998)
Riveting, but markedly lo-fi recordings made in the folk clubs of Glasgow, shortly before Jansch's first recording sessions with Transatlantic, and his climb to fame as a founding member of Pentangle. He's a little rough and speedy in these early days, but clearly someone at the top of his scene, exuding confidence and brash self-assurance... all of which is justified by his complex, rugged guitar playing. Singing acoustic blues with a forceful American accent, Jansch has more than a whiff of the earnest '60s folkie about him, but he's also clearly a star. These tapes were made by a 14-year old fan, and are definitely an amatuer production, with Jansch's vocals consistenly undermiked and the guitar blunted by overmodulation... But even with the rough spots, it's a blessing to be able to hear them.

Bert Jansch "Bert Jansch" (Transatlantic, 1965)
(Produced by Bill Leader)

Bert Jansch "It Don't Bother Me" (Transatlantic, 1965)
(Produced by Nathan Joseph)

Bert Jansch "Jack Orion" (Transatlantic, 1966)
(Produced by Bill Leader)

Bert Jansch & John Renbourn "Bert And John" (Transatlantic, 1966)
(Produced by Bill Leader)

Bert Jansch "Lucky Thirteen" (LP) (Transatlantic/Vanguard, 1966)
An American release, with songs drawn from the albums Bert Jansch and It Don't Bother Me, this is the disc that introduced many Americans to Jansch as a solo artist. It's prime, vintage material, featuring his crackling version of Davy Graham's "Angie," a groundbreaking open-tuning guitar instrumental that all English folkies had to master to show their mettle during the '60s folk revival. Other songs on here match the mood and musical level of that tune, including a brace of transposed American folks tunes, and the mournful "Needle Of Death," one of the earlier folk scene reflections on the dangers of heroin addiction. A masterful collection, pretty and persuasive at the same time. Recommended!

Bert Jansch "Nicola" (Transatlantic, 1967)
(Produced by Nathan Joseph)

Bert Jansch "Birthday Blues" (Transatlantic, 1969)
(Produced by Shel Talmy)

Bert Jansch "Rosemary Lane" (Transatlantic, 1971)
(Produced by Bill Leader)

A solo album in every sense of the word, this features Jansch in a series of solo acoustic songs that touch as lightly on traditional themes as they do on his lingering blues leanings. Indeed, this is more of a contemporary folk album than anything else, with a rumbling grace that presaged the more melodic direction Nic Jones would turn to in later years. On the whole this is a lovely album, although it must be admitted that a few tracks -- "Nobody's Bar" and "Silly Woman," in particular -- ring false and are a bit stiff. Mostly, though, this is a record that's well worth looking for.

Bert Jansch "Moonshine" (Reprise, 1973)
(Produced by Danny Thompson)

Bert Jansch "L.A. Turnaround" (Charisma, 1974)

Bert Jansch "Santa Barbara Honeymoon" (Charisma, 1975)
(Produced by Danny Lane)

Bert Jansch "A Rare Conundrum" (Charisma, 1977)
(Produced by Rod Clements)

Bert Jansch "Avocet" (Charisma, 1979)
(Produced by Bert Jansch)

Bert Jansch & Martin Jenkins "Live At La Foret" (1980)

Bert Jansch & The Bert Jansch Conundrum "Thirteen Down" (Kicking Mule/Fantasy, 1980)

Bert Jansch "Heartbreak" (Hannibal, 1982)

Bert Jansch "From The Outside" (Konnexion, 1985)

Bert Jansch & Rod Clements "Leather Launderette" (Black Crow, 1989)

Bert Jansch "Sketches" (Hypertension, 1990)

Bert Jansch "The Ornament Tree" (Run River, 1990)

Bert Jansch "BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert" (BBC/Windsong, 1993)

Bert Jansch "When The Circus Comes To Town" (Cooking Vinyl, 1995)

Bert Jansch "Live At The 12 Bar: An Authorised Bootleg" (1996)

Bert Jansch "Toy Balloon" (Cooking Vinyl, 1998)
A playful, masterful, delightfully varied album while highlights all of Jansch's best personas... The acoustic blues true believer; the aging folkie balladeer who's been around the block and has nothing to prove, really, and the '60s old-timer who can actually play goofy, upbeat electric boogie blues yet not blow it completely... For me, the best tracks on here are the softer, soulful/mystical acoustic tunes -- and they are not thrown off-balance by the rest of the record. A surprisingly strong, cohesive album for someone who's been around for so long. Highly recommended, and worth searching for.

Bert Jansch "Crimson Moon" (Castle, 2000)

Bert Jansch "Downunder: Live In Australia" (Castle, 2001)

Bert Jansch "Edge of A Dream" (Sanctuary, 2002)

Bert Jansch "The River Sessions" (River Records, 2004)

Bert Jansch "The Black Swan" (Drag City, 2006)

Bert Jansch "Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning" (Secret Records/Dream Catcher, 2007)


Bert Jansch "The Gardener -- The Essential Bert Jansch: 1965-1971" (Transatlantic, 1992)

Bert Jansch "Three Chord Trick" (Caroline, 1993)

Bert Jansch "Blackwater Side" (Recall, 1997)
A 2-CD set, covering his early years on Transatlantic.

Bert Jansch "Dazzling Stranger" (Castle, 2000)

Bert Jansch "Legend: The Classic Recordings" (Metro Music, 2003)

Bert Jansch "Running From Home: An Introduction To Bert Jansch" (Castle, 2005)


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