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BERT JANSCH "Moonshine" BJCD001

The music of Bert Jansch's earlier career all but past me by at the time. Whilst aware of "Needle of Death" and having seen Pentangle, once I guess that on the whole I was just listening to other things. I must confess that when I saw him twenty years later I wondered what all the fuss had been about. The problem, I later realised, was that I was listening without any real sense of the man's history.

Well this re-issue of "Moonshine" from 1973 was all that was required. It is nothing less than a superb testament to a musician who influenced the style of a generation of guitar players and singers. The arrangements are generally brilliant and add to this the notable presence of Danny Thompson's double bass on numerous tracks, the whole things is a splendid evocation of its time. I particularly liked "Brought with Rain" which I felt was a great example of Jansch's unique guitar complemented by Thompson's bass and some exquisite harmonica by Ralph McTell. Bert's own composition of "Night Time Blues" has a smoldering feel of something that just slowly draws you into its deep melancholic mood, whereas his up tempo duet with Mary Hopkin on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is just a lovely reminder of younger days in a different time. My only criticism if one there must be, is Bert's Scottish accent in "Twa Corbies", but it only serves to highlight the general standard of an essential addition to any collection. Required listening.

Ken Bradburn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 13 of The Living Tradition magazine.