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Bert Jansch
A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1)

Bert Jansch — A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1) (Jan. 26, 2018)

        Bert Jansch — A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1) (Jan. 26, 2018)
•≡•      A master of British folk/blues guitar who influenced countless artists with his self~penned solo work and his tenure with folk~rock heroes Pentangle.
Birth name: Herbert Jansch
Born: 3 November 1943, Glasgow, Scotland
Origin: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: 5 October 2011, Hampstead, London, England
Album release: January 26, 2018
Format: 4 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Compilation, Deluxe Ed., Limited Ed., Reissue, Special Edition
Styles: Psychedelic/Garage, British Folk
Record Label: Earth Records
Duration:     43:47
Disc 1: Bert Jansch
01 Strolling Down the Highway
02 Smokey River
03 Oh How Your Love Is Strong
04 I Have No Time
05 Finches
06 Ramblings Going to Be the Death of Me
07 Veronica
08 Needle of Death
09 Do You Hear Me Now?
10 Alice’s Wonderland
11 Running From Home
12 Courting Blues
13 Casbah
14 Dreams of Love
15 Angie
Disc 2: It Don’t Bother Me
01 It Don’t Bother Me
02 Oh My Babe
03 Ring~a~Ding Bird
04 Tinker’s Blues
05 Anti~Apartheid
06 The Wheel
07 A Man I’d Rather Be
08 My Lover
09 It Don’t Bother Me
10 Harvest Your Thoughts of Love
11 Lucky Thirteen
12 As the Day Grows Longer Now
13 So Long (Been on the Road So Long)
14 900 Miles
Disc 3: Jack Orion
01 The Waggoner’s Lad
02 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
03 Jack Orion
04 The Gardener
05 Nottamun Town
06 Henry Martin
07 Black Water Slide
08 Pretty Polly
Disc 4: Bert And John
01 East Wind
02 Piano Tune
03 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
04 Soho
05 Tic~Tocative
06 Orlando
07 Red’s Favourite
08 No Exit
09 Along the Way
10 The Time Has Come
11 Stepping Stones
12 After the Dance
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek;  Score: *****
•≡•      North London’s Earth Recordings has, in a very short time, become one of the premier reissue labels for its quality packages. A Man I’d Rather Be, Pt. 1 is actually their third Bert Jansch archival project, the first two being Living in the Shadows, Pts. 2 & 3 that cataloged the guitarist’s often forgotten ’90s and 2000s sides for richly deserved reappraisal. This four~disc set circles back to the mid~’60s recordings that established Jansch’s reputation as a guitarist and songwriter. His influence resonates in everyone from Jimmy Page and Johnny Marr to Steve Gunn and Cian Nugent.
•≡•      These recordings were done between 1965~1966. The first two, 1965’s Bert Jansch and It Don’t Bother Me, were literally recorded in Bill Leader’s bedroom studio. Longtime fans will be intimately familiar with these, as well as 1966’s Jack Orion and Bert & John (Renbourn), the latter the only full~length duet recording between the two brilliant guitarists of Pentangle. Bert Jansch’s opener „Strolling Down the Dusty Road“ reveals just how accomplished a folk~bluesman the guitarist — a student of Davy Graham’s — already was at 22. That impression is borne out in the spooky extrapolation of Big Bill Broonzy’s style in a minor~key adaptation of Jimmy Giuffre’s „Smokey River,“ the haunted folk storytelling in „Needle of Death,“ the Charles Mingus nod in „Alice’s Wonderland,“ or set~closer „Angie,“ a tune Jansch learned from Graham. (Paul Simon covered it on Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence, but there’s no comparison in quality.) It Don’t Bother Me offers the mutant Celtic blues of „Oh My Babe,“ the wry humor and startling fingerpicking of the set’s title track, and the rare political track „Anti Apartheid,“ and it’s all a~dazzle with accomplished technique and abundant emotion. Jack Orion is arguably Jansch’s most famous recording as it bears his version „Black Water Side“ (learned from Anne Briggs and swiped by Jimmy Page for Led Zeppelin I as „Black Water Slide“). But the driving guitar and banjo interplay on set~opener „The Waggoner’s Lad,“ a languid solo guitar read of Ewan MacColl’s „The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,“ and the title track are easily its equals. The final disc, Bert & John offers early evidence of the magical interplay the pair would later display in Pentangle. There is the open modal folk study in „East Wind,“ an innovative folk~jazz read of Mingus’ „Good~Bye Pork Pie Hat,“ the co~written revisioning of Elizabethan folk in „Orlando,“ and the brilliant cover of Briggs’ classic „The Time Has Come.“

Bert Jansch
A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1)


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