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Bert Jansch - From The Outside CD (album) cover


Bert Jansch


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4.09 | 2 ratings

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4 stars "Who are you gonna kill now? Please let me know. Is it a Arab or a Jew? Or a child on his way to school? Who are you gonna kill now? Cause I sure want to know. Who are you gonna kill now?"

Between the years 1983 to 1985, Bert Jansch was in the throes of alcohol addiction, was overweight and puffy, and looked far from the dashing troubadour figure that he cut in the late 1960's. He maintained a working relationship with the revamped Pentangle and, oddly, started writing some of the best songs of his career. Perhaps it was not so odd. If not a cry for help, Jansch at least starting barring his soul on a myriad of personal as well as social problems on these songs, with a few ending up on the excellent Pentangle album In The Round. The remainder, featuring only Jansch and his guitar (and just a banjo on one track) appeared on this odd little album from 1984(5?) titled From The Outside. It was originally a limited run of 500 that Jansch sold at his concert appearances.

Often referred to by fans as Jansch's "dark album", this collection of introspective and sometimes angry songs would be nothing less than his best for many, many years to come. There's no trad. folk on this album, but Jansch does elevate the mood with some folky reminiscing about roses and lost loves ("Sweat Rose" and "Still Love Her Now That She's Gone"), before he tells everyone to get angry and "shout to stop the bomb" on the track simply titled "Shout". Penultimate song "I Sure Want To Know" (available on the latest CD reissue with bonus tracks) features the lyrics stated in the opening of this review and are self explanatory, as well as being a terrifically catchy song.

Jansch would go on to recover from his alcoholism a short time after this album was released but, oddly, he would never write songs as good as these again. Perhaps that's not so odd. This album is currently available from Earth on both CD and Vinyl in 2016 with the Castle CD track listing and bonus tracks.

SteveG | 4/5 |


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