Black Swan

Long been a fan of Bert Jansch, looking forward to hearing this album. If only my fingers were as dexterous....

Black Swan
“Black Swan” (Bert Jansch)

village voice > Bert Jansch's The Black Swan by Andy Beta ... The difference is the star power of those youngsters surrounding: Devendra, Beth Orton, Otto Hauser, Mazzy Star's Dave Roback, and Bert's own son Adam all pitch in to pay their respects. The man Neil Young called the “Hendrix of the acoustic,” that Bob Dylan and Jimmy Page borrowed from, has scarcely lost a move: “Hey Pretty Girl” and “High Days” are cagey and deft. And when he glides with the cello on “The Black Swan,” he gracefully evokes keened lines about being “caught between time and space.

especially Jimmy Page, who 'lifted' several Jansch compositions for his own use. Willie Dixon sued Led Zeppelin for the same reason, apparently, Jansch did not.

These days, much easier to track down Bert Jansch records than in the old days.

From Pitchfork:

Bert Jansch: The Black Swan: Pitchfork Record Review

In an inebriated interview with Rick McGrath in 1970, Bert Jansch, a 26-year-old guitarist busy with British folk compatriots Pentangle, reclaimed folk dogma: ”We never talk about music, never. You talk about everything else, but never music. The only time we ever talk about music is to say, 'Let's have a rehearsal' and that's it. We get together and play.“

...Surrounded by young artists, it's remarkable how well Jansch avoids buying into his myth. The kids add spirit without the avant tendencies of their regular gigs, and Jansch seems rightfully at ease and assured with this new band. ”When the children come to visit you/ You break into a smile/ They fill your heart with sunshine/ Just for a little while,“ he sings on the gorgeous ”High Days“, a sentimental ode to memories and friends like fellow Brit star Cliff Aungier. The title track's brief solo and Jansch's crisp cut through ”Old Triangle“ showcase a content but confident virtuosity he's rarely committed to tape. He even carefully draws from outside his own tradition: ”Texas Cowboy Blues“ is a presidential polemic funneled through a spirited panhandle country number, the form's rebellious imprecision subverted by Jansch's perfect fingerpicking.

It almost seems as though Jansch spent most of his four-decade career preparing for The Black Swan and its cast: His early solo work for voice and guitar staked out a clean, inventive style, focused on high fretting action in the left hand, an integrated system of hammers and drags that gave his instrument a thorough voice. With Pentangle, and later with Loren Auerbach in the 80s, he put that style into collaborative focus. His guitar playing-- somehow constantly understated and completely unorthodox-- has been the generous, enchanting source of it all.

and damn it! missed seeing him live at the Empty Bottle. Damn it!

The new folk movement | Chicago Tribune

Jansch, a 63-year-old native of Scotland who headlines Friday at the Empty Bottle, is touring America for the first time in eight years.

The rare overseas visit is prompted by the release of ”The Black Swan,“ on the Chicago-based Drag City label. It marks the first time he has been signed to a U.S. record deal, Jansch says; his previous releases, stretching back to the '60s, were available only through imports or licensing deals. ”The reception seems to be better this time,“ Jansch says of his performances in America this year, including a recent stop at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit in Northern California, where he played with Banhart's band. ”There is an audience out there now who is open to this type of music.“

That the music of Jansch and Bunyan still sounds contemporary also explains why they are cult figures. Jansch's reputation as a guitarist spread quickly, first as a solo artist, then as a member of the progressive-folk band Pentangle. His intricate finger-picking, informed by jazz and blues, was revered by artists such as Donovan, Young and Page, who based Zeppelin's ”Black Mountain Side“ on Jansch's version of the folk song ”Blackwaterside.“ But Jansch's work was not nearly as popular in North America as that of his countless disciples. That's because his folk-informed style was eventually eclipsed in popularity and hype by the electric blues-rock that swept England in the late '60s. ”Early rock 'n' roll -- Lonnie Donegan, `Rock Around the Clock'-- inspired me to pick up a guitar in the first place,“ Jansch says. ”But I missed out on the Rolling Stones and Beatles. By that time my head was well into folk music, particularly [British folk guitarist] Davey Graham. There were no boundaries attached to his playing. Davey and the people influenced by him were outside all the traditional ways of playing at the time.“

The newest viral marketing tool from Apple is the ability to embed playlists onto web pages. I made one with 40 Bert Jansch songs, but I can't wait for the link to work, so you'll have to make do with a playlist made 11/13 to test the new tool.

a random ten mix, but not all songs were available - possibly can listen to 30 second samples in iTunes. Or not. Seems pretty lame still.


still say meh.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on November 19, 2006 11:31 PM.

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