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Bert Jansch - Jack Orion CD (album) cover


Bert Jansch


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3.67 | 8 ratings

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3 stars Digging to the Source

My love of acoustic guitar sprang largely from a little boy named Jimmy Page. His slightly exotic and Celtic flavors on the Led Zeppelin albums always appealed to me, and one of the most impressive outings was a little piece from LZ I called "Black Mountain Side." I have never really been able to nail this piece, but I've certainly tried. Over the years, I finally found that the piece is essentially ripped straight from the English Dylan, Bert Jansch. As I've combed through Jansch's works, it is clear that this album, JACK ORION, is one that Page must have listened to over and over.

For me, the big track initially was "Black Waterside." Anne Briggs gave Jansch this tune during an earlier collaboration, and he arranged the iconic guitar part that Page lifted. But Jansch also uses the same rolling rhythm and style on "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" and "The Gardener." However, the great opener "The Waggoner's Lad" was also accessed liberally by Pagey most notably on "Bron-y-Aur Stomp." "Lad" is a great duet with Jansch playing banjo and John Renbourne playing lead guitar. Both guitarists learned at the foot of the legendary Davy Graham, with Renbourne becoming the more schooled player and Jansch the more moody. This contrast works extremely well musically. The pair really shine on "Henry Martin," creating a shimmery sound that I've really found nowhere else.This would foreshadow the duo's fantastic group Pentangle. Renbourne helps on several other tracks and in fact Jansch recording will officially be under the duo.

Jansch's voice is fairly melancholy and languid which is great for this style of folk, but may not be everyone's cup of tea. He does kick it up a notch for "Nottamun Town." Clearly, Jansch's forte is his guitar work, which is quite fresh and energetic here. This album is not really prog in any classic sense, but Jansch's advanced technique and sound went on to infuse a number of bands that we think of as prog folk. Jansch himself has more "progressive" records.

Thus, I am giving this a good but non-essential rating despite its excellent quality. If you like English folk guitar, this may be a near essential recording.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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