Bert Jansch’s ground-breaking guitar playing, deeply affecting songwriting and dark, passionate voice have held audiences spellbound since the mid-sixties. Famously admired by Jimmy Page, Neil Young and Nick Drake, more recently young luminaries such as Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker, Bernard Butler and Johnny Marr have paid homage to this unassuming but intensely revered master.
Bert began performing his unique synthesis of folk, blues and jazz on the folk club scene of the early 1960s, having hitch-hiked to London from his hometown of Edinburgh. The Marquee, the 100 Club and famous folk den Les Cousins in Soho were amongst the venues that played host to Bert’s talent. His first album, Bert Jansch (played on a borrowed guitar and recorded on a reel-to-reel tape deck in someone’s apartment) was legendarily sold to the Transatlantic label for £100. When it was released in April 1965, Bert Jansch caused a sensation for its innovative guitar technique and powerful songs, and has been phenomenally influential ever since, cited by legions of guitar players (famous and otherwise) as a major inspiration. It still sells steadily today, some 39 years on.
Bert Jansch was followed by It Don’t Bother Me, and the also hugely influential Jack Orion. On that album, Bert was already exploring innovative treatments of the traditional folk ballad form, something he took further with Pentangle, the band he formed with John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Danny Thompson. Pentangle made six albums and enjoyed an unprecedented degree of success for an acoustic band.
After Pentangle split in 1973, Bert returned to a prolific solo career and in a live setting, Bert’s performances are still a rare opportunity to see one of the British music scene’s true legends play. His understated, low key approach eschews hollow show business routines, and the audience is treated to a guitar playing master class and an impressive catalogue of some of the most emotive and haunting songs in the British canon.
Bert's 'Sketches' album was previously available on Temple Records but the rights have now reverted to Bert's estate. You can find out much more about Bert and his back catalogue, some of which has been re-mastered and re-issued, at: bertjansch.com