Tag Archive | "Pentangle"

Bert Jansch – Just A Simple Soul

Tags: ,

Bert Jansch – Just A Simple Soul

Posted on 10 October 2018 by Joe

There are plenty of Bert Jansch compilations that take in his 1960s and early 1970s heyday. But this behemoth of a collection from BMG offers something far more career spanning.

By also dipping into the highlights from his mid-1970s through to a renaissance in the early 21st century this may well be the definitive Bert Jansch collection.

Jansch.jpg

The first CD contains exactly what Jansch admirers would expect. Strolling Down the Highway, Needle of Death and his take on the classic Angie are essential inclusions. As is Black Water Side, It Don’t Bother Me and a sprinkling of tracks from his 1971 classic Rosemary Lane, including the traditional Reynardine and title track.

This first half is a 14 track set of remarkable consistency, with his evocative laid back vocals and stunning guitar work, showcased to perfection.

Intriguing later career

 

But it’s the second half that is perhaps more interesting, as his career stop-started due to ill health.

Among the many high points from this period is what turned out to be his final album, 2006’s Black Swan, which sees Jansch joined by among others Beth Orton, and Devendra Banhart. The best partnership here though is on the title track, in which Helena Espvall’s haunting cello proved the perfect foil for Jansch’s voice and intricate guitar play.

Its also great to hear Kittiwake, a track from 1979’s ornithological concept album Avocet. This saw Jansch reunite with Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson and also joined by multi-instrumentalist Martin Jenkins.

Bert Jansch (centre) performing with Pentangle at Glastonbury 2011

Bert Jansch (centre) performing with Pentangle at Glastonbury 2011

There’s also the welcome addition of Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning and Chambertin, from the Mike Nesmith produced LA Turnaround (1974). His cover of Jackson C. Frank’s Carnival, from 1998’s Toy Balloon is another essential part of this collection.

What’s particularly refreshing about this compilation is that it acts as both a definitive collection, as well as a taster to encourage further investigation of his back catalogue.

Jansch sadly passed away in 2011, at the age of 67, leaving an incredible back catalogue that helped influence artists as diverse as Jimmy Page and Nick Drake to Johnny Marr and the Fleet Foxes. It is welcome to see his five decade spanning career at last captured in one place.

9/10

By Joe Lepper

Bert Jansch – Just A Simple Soul is released on October 26. More details here.

Share

Comments (0)

Bert Jansch – Moonshine

Tags: ,

Bert Jansch – Moonshine

Posted on 15 December 2015 by Joe

Just what was the peak of Bert Jansch’s remarkable, five-decade spanning, folk music career?

For some it was his early albums that rode the wave of the 1960s folk music explosion across Britain and the US, while for some it was his Pentangle super group, folk rock hey-day in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

moonshine

Moonshine (1973) , recorded as Pentangle were breaking up, though puts forward as good a case as any for being Jansch’s peak.

Not only has he assembled one of the best group of backing musicians and production teams, but he still manages to ensure this release is intimate and embedded with his rootsy, warm charm.

Released this month as part of Earth Recordings welcome re-issuing of Jansch’s albums, this is one of the best folk rock releases of the time, unsurprising though given he had drafted in Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson, Fairport Convention percussionist Dave Mattacks as well as David Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti for production and arranging duties.

The stellar cast doesn’t stop there with Ralph McTell joining on harmonic, Ali Bain on fiddle and Mary Hopkin on backing vocals.

The results are often flawless. On opener Yarrow the medieval woodwind and Jansch’s honest vocals create a perfect opener with the title track another high point as he sings this tragic tale of a prisoner awaiting his fate with genuine “sweet music to drag my grief away.”

On Night Time Blues the full band feel is perhaps best revealed, especially with the violins and on Oh My Father the electric guitar folk that Jansch used to great effect in Pentangle, gets a welcome outing.

The only weak point for me is an overly ambitious version of Ewan MacColl’s The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, where the vocal interplay with Hopkins gets a little too tangled in places. It’s only a small gripe though on what is a fantastic chance to rediscover one of UK music’s best artists, arguably at his peak.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

More details about Bert Jansch – Moonshine can be found here.

Share

Comments (0)

Junkboy – Sovereign Sky

Tags: , ,

Junkboy – Sovereign Sky

Posted on 14 November 2014 by Joe

Come take a barefoot run across the Sussex Downs, sandals in hand, kaftan lapping in the wind as we head with Junkboy down to the coast. These are the images that this hidden 2014 gem conveys with its echoes of flower-power California and good old fashioned British folk and pop.

junkboy500

The coastal vibe is strong for good reason as Junkboy are brothers Rich and Mik Hanscomb who hail from Southend-on-Sea and now reside on the Sussex coast. This second album from the pair, which follows on from 2010’s Koyo, is packed full of  great tunes as they  mine their own record collections for influence. Pentangle perhaps comes across most strongly in Priory Park, which features the added sounds of birds and the wind in the trees (perhaps from the real park of the same name in Southend) all blended with acoustic guitar string bending and laid back percussion. It’s a great opener with a single electric guitar chord at the end to reveal the pop to come.

Cellos and violin figure strongly too, particularly on Redwood to give it a nice psychedelic pop vibe. It is no surprise to hear XTC’s influence here, seeing as back in the mid 1980s they proved fine exponents of psychedelic pop with their Dukes of Stratosphear incarnation. Rainfalls is the track here that is most like XTC with its soaring chorus.

Their press release name checks American Analogue Set too and I can certainly hear their influence in this album’s laid back pop and shuffling rhythms.

Special mention goes to Release the Sunshine, the album’s standout track. Surely this sun soaked slice of pop is a cover? Not so, it’s pure Junkboy, who on the evidence of this album appear to be one of the UK music scene’s best kept secrets.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

Share

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Charts