Bert Jansch: The Essential Bert Jansch (Union Square)

 |   |  1 min read

Bert Jansch: In This Game (1972)
Bert Jansch: The Essential Bert Jansch (Union Square)

In the liner notes to this 26-track double CD collection Jansch says, "I only know how to play a guitar and write songs. I don't know anything else when it comes down to it."

The likes of Jimmy Page who was influenced by Jansch's acoustic folk style and fans such as Devendra Banhardt, Johnny Marr, Graham Coxon and dozens of others in the new folk movement (Fleet Foxes etc) would probably say that is more than enough from this sixtysomething Scot.

He was a founder of Pentangle who -- alongside Steeleye Span, Donovan, John Renbourn, Davey Graham, Fairport Convention and others -- were prime movers in the Anglofolk movement of the Sixties which in turn opened the door for the likes of Nick Drake.

With a style which incorporated finger-picking alongside jazz influences and traditional folk songs -- as well as his exceptional and increasingly inventive originals -- he has been so long established as to be accorded "legendary" status.

Not many can say they have played with Pete Doherty of Babyshambles and had their songs covered by Donovan (Do You Hear Me Now, included here in its '65 version), or had one of his pieces pinched wholesale by Led Zeppelin (his Blackwaterside song also here became their Black Mountain Side instrumental).

This collection is mostly drawn from his Sixties output and although he is still active, this is perhaps the period most of his current devotees look back to.

Old hands will know Jansch's work well enough and will have albums like Jack Orion, some Pentangle and his '79 outing Avocet in their collections (and maybe even his more recent Black Swan from '06).

But if he is another of those people you have just heard namechecked then this is as good a place as any to start.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Tame Impala: Currents (Universal)

Tame Impala: Currents (Universal)

Kevin Parker from West Australia might just be the most tuned-in, turned-on and influence-dropping musician on the planet right now. His vehicle Tame Impala (in which he does just about... > Read more

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kurt Cobain: Gun, head and Smithereens.

Kurt Cobain: Gun, head and Smithereens.

As with most people of a "certain age" I can remember where I was when I heard John F Kennedy had been shot ( I was in bed), and when I was told another Kennedy had gone the way of the... > Read more

Ross, South Island of New Zealand: Home is where the hearth is

Ross, South Island of New Zealand: Home is where the hearth is

Good historic hotels are getting harder to find. Increasingly the elderly pubs of the nation are being gentrified and scrubbed clean. Their walls are being painted up nice, a colour consultant is... > Read more