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Bert Jansch - Santa Barbara Honeymoon CD (album) cover


Bert Jansch


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2.50 | 5 ratings

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2 stars Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is bad. And sometimes change is just strange, as is the case of Bert Jansch's 1975 album Santa Barbara Honeymoon.

Recorded after Jansch's excellent first album for the British Charisma label, LA Turnaround from 1974, Santa Barbara Honeymoon sounds more like a wrong turn at times. In an effort, I would guess, to modernize his sound, Jansch utilized an obscure record producer, who was a studio musician, and a cast of thousands in the form of studio support players to produce an album that sounds quite polished but gives one the "who are you trying to kid?" feeling, as Jansch tackles songs with male and female backing vocals that come off like a Nashville studio choir on Love Anew and When The Teardrops Fell. Horns and female backing are featured on a swampy New Orleans jazz style are featured on the Song Dance Lady Dance, with an arrangement and instrumentation that sounds like it was pirated from Dr.John The Night Tripper.

This fascinating mix of styles even includes steel drums (!) on the songs Baby Blue and Build Another Band.

Like a hideous highway accident, it's hard to look away from this auto wreck, as it's just unbelievable that someone like Jansch could make an album so far out of his acoustic folk rock comfort zone. However, if you can look past the billowing blaze, you will find that great songs lie at the heart of this album and given enough time, the great melodies and lyrics will break through on occasion.

I guess that's why I've played Santa Barbara Honeymoon about five times before writing this review. It's just too strange an album from Jansch to be ignored, that eventually reveals the treasure hidden beneath the surface. But still, I cannot recommend it. If LA Turnaround puts one in a California state of mind, Santa Barbara Honeymoon will send you straight back to New York, both mentally and physically, on the next fight out. 2 stars.

SteveG | 2/5 |


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