Folk review: Bert Jansch, Jazz Cafe, London

Jazz Cafe, London

As might be expected from Bert Jansch, this was not a predictable album launch, or rather relaunch. Ten songs into the concert, he announced: "This next one is from Santa Barbara Honeymoon ... or maybe it's from LA Turnaround ... It was one of those, and it came out about 10 years ago." He then played the delicate and drifting One for Jo, which appeared on LA Turnaround, an album Jansch recorded after the breakup of Pentangle; it was released 35 years ago and has been unobtainable for decades. Next week it's released on CD for the first time, along with Santa Barbara Honeymoon and A Rare Conundrum, two other albums Jansch recorded in the mid-70s for the Famous Charisma label. His hardcore fans will be delighted.

Jansch seemed unconcerned, as ever, but he went on to play four more songs from these albums, including a charming Fresh As a Sweet Sunday Morning and Jackson C Frank's Blues Run the Game, for both of which he was joined on second guitar by Bernard Butler.

Like all the best veterans, Jansch has survived because he sounds as distinctive as ever, but still takes chances. This lengthy performance started as a solo retrospective, with 60s favourites such as his own Strolling Down the Highway and the traditional Blackwaterside, which showed off his exquisite guitar work and gently mournful vocals. He ended with Ducking and Diving - "inspired by a night out with Pete Doherty" - and a duet with another guest, Beth Orton, on Watch the Stars, with the songs from the newly reissued albums fitting seamlessly into the mix.


Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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