I've just learnt that Bert Jansch, one of the most influential guitarists of his generation, died last night of cancer at the age of 67; I hadn't known that he was ill. Bert Jansch was admired as a solo performer, but was also known for many musical collaborations, particularly as part of a duo with John Renbourn and as a member of innovative folk-jazz band, Pentangle. Many guitarists in the folk and the rock worlds have acknowledged their debt to and admiration for Bert Jansch, including Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin who recorded Jansch's arrangement of Black Waterside virtually note for note and renaming it Black Mountain Side. This was controversial as Page neither credited Jansch or paid him any royalties.
I saw him several times on solo gigs and once with John Renbourn, and the first LP I ever owned was the Bert Jansch Sampler; my own attempts at the instrumental Angie were derived from playing the track from that album over and over again. I still sometimes like to listen to his lyrical album Rosemary Lane.
The video below is of Bert Jansch playing Black Waterside, a song that he learned from the legendary folk singer Anne Briggs, a debt that that he did acknowledge. BBC report here.
A rare outbreak of normality
5 hours ago