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Bert Jansch - Bert Jansch CD (album) cover


Bert Jansch


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4.28 | 14 ratings

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5 stars Beyond the hype, music, sweet music.

It's easy to place Bert Jansch's and his Pentangle partner John Renbourn's early solo albums as a type of addendum to their Pentangle canon. A type of unofficial 'immersion' material, if you will, as many of the 'folk baroque' trademarks that the duo pioneered presage the trademark Pentangle sound as well as posting a crossover of solo songs onto later Pentangle albums where fans can track their development.

However, Jansch's first solo album, while being hailed as a British folk rock icon, goes well beyond that. To put it simply, beyond it's ground breaking fill of self penned songs and dexterous guitar instrumentals, the music and voice of the man soars to a height that Jansch rarely bettered in his entire recorded lifetime. That's mainly because Jansch was so well versed in this material, probably for years, before they were immortalized in black vinyl. When the album starts with the bucolic 'Strolling Down The Highway' not only is this beautiful song sung pitch perfect, but every slight and secondary guitar note was meticulously thought out and accompanies the song's dominant chords and melodies in a way that makes the music always sound so much more than just a man recorded with a single acoustic guitar. Jansch's oft celebrated song for a passed friend 'Needle of Death' with it's heart tugging lyric seems to have all the sweep and grandeur of an orchestra that simply isn't there. But Jansch makes you think it, feel it and believe it. And this, along with his definitive ligatos, pull offs, slurs, string pulls and all other tricks that are hard to define by his slight of playing hand , as on the Davy Graham instrumental standard 'Angi', not only made Jansch a musician's musician, it put him into a category of British folk artist that was heretofore unknown.

But again, aside form the accolades of Jansch's solo debut, it's the music that delivers more than 50 years since it was first recorded. And with that, it really deserves more accolades than just being an addendum to a folk rock super group. 4.5 stars rounded up 5.

SteveG | 5/5 |


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