Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Bert Jansch "Black Waterside"
Nothing about funerals, humanists, mortality - except in one specific sense:
I want to mark the death of Bert Jansch, and mourn for him.
People like to trace influences, estimate lineages, show off their knowledge of a genre.
All I can say is that when we first heard his first album in 1965, all of us who were trying to sing songs and play the guitar were open-mouthed. No-one we'd ever heard wove together voice and guitar like that. No-one dared sing with such a harsh, take-it-or-leave it voice. He sounded totally authentic, just his own man, and if he took a song (like this one, heard probably first by him from Annie Briggs) it became something of his own.
If you want to hear a tough song, a lament about love, lust and betrayal delivered in a totally uncompromising manner, have a watch and listen.
If you want to fancy yourself as a guitar player, approach with caution.
Don't tell me his voice is "an acquired taste." He was a phenomenon. Take him or leave him.
If you want to know more about his life, your book is "Dazzling Stranger."
Nothing else to say but goodbye, and thank you.