Bert Jansch
Transatlantic / Demon TRADEM1 (1988)

Album available as:-
Essential Records ESM 407
(re-release 1996 as a double CD Bert Jansch / It Don't Bother Me)

Buy it now!

Recorded with a portable tape player on a borrowed guitar in the kitchen of his London flat, the impact of Jansch's debut has been somewhat blunted by time, but it was a vastly influential work. His masterful acoustic picking, which blended elements of traditional British folk, blues, and jazz, inspired not just other folk players, but rockers who frequently used acoustic guitars. Specifically, Jimmy Page and Neil Young have gone on record as noting their heavy debts to Jansch's early material. He was also a talented songwriter, and all but one of the 15 tracks on his debut was an original composition (the set closes with his version of the instrumental "Angi," originally performed by fellow British folk guitarist Davy Graham, and popularized by Paul Simon). The artist sounds quite close to early Donovan with his Scottish inflections, though he is darker and less pop-oriented; indeed, Donovan recorded a couple of early Jansch tunes, and wrote a couple of songs directly inspired by the artist ("Bert's Blues" and "House of Jansch"). Jansch reflects a rambling, beatnik sort of lifestyle with his compositions on this album, which includes one of his most famous tunes, the somber "Needle of Death" (about the heroin-induced death of one of his friends). In 1993, this LP and the artist's third album (Jack Orion) were combined onto one CD reissue.

- Richie Unterberger (AMG)

 

Track Listing

 

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1. Strolling Down The Highway (Jansch) 03:03
The highway is in France. There is a reference to the OAS - an Algerian terrorist group. Jansch also sings about a French highway in National Seven.

2. Smokey River (Jansch) 02:53

3. Oh How Your Love Is Strong (Jansch) 03:35
Written for a very specific person who remains anonymous

4. I Have No Time (Jansch) 03:06

5. Finches (Jansch) 00:47
An impression of the bohemian nightlife of a "ravers pub" of the same name in Soho.

6. Veronica (Jansch) 01:29
Apparently Finches and Veronica were incorrectly labelled on the original vinyl recording.

7. Needle Of Death (Jansch) 03:17
Anti-drugs song that seems as relevant today as it did all those years ago. Bert wrote this after the death of one of his friends, Buck Polly. Neil Young rewrote this song as Ambulance Blues - 'As much of a great guitar player as Jimi (Hendrix) was, Bert Jansch is the same thing for acoustic guitar. The first record that he made - great record. I was particularly impressed by 'The Needle Of Death', this really outrageous, beautiful song. This guy was just so good. Years later I wrote 'Ambulance Blues' for On The Beach, and I picked up the melody from his record - the guitar part exactly - without realising that I had completely copped the whole thing. Years later someone mentioned it to me, and I went back and heard him playing it. Sure enough, it's like a note-for-note cop of his thing... I did meet him once, when I went to England in the early '70's and got together with Pentangle, but I had a big limo and everything because I didn't know where I was going, and they kind of had an attitude about me, like I was a pop superstar and kind of a dickhead...'.

8. Do You Hear Me Now (Jansch) 02:03

9. Rambling (Jansch) 03:15

10. Alices Wonderland (Jansch) 01:44

11. Running From Home (Jansch) 02:22
Around the time that this was written Jansch was on his way to being thought of as the British Dylan - but this title eventually went to Donovan. However, the observation and imagery in this track would be quite at home on the finest Dylan albums of the time.

12. Courting Blues (Jansch) 03:58
Written for Bert's first girlfriend - Liz Cruickshanks. Covered by Marianne Faithful.

13. Dreams Of Love (Jansch) 01:41

14. Angie (Graham) 03:10
The Davy Graham instrumental that inspired so many guitarists including Simon and Garfunkle.


Bert Jansch - Guitar and Vocals.

 

Artist Gig Guide

Click on the links below to see an accurate gig guide of the following artists.

Davey Graham

Bert Jansch

John Renbourn

Roy Harper

John Martyn

 

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