I'm a huge Bert Jansch fan, and have just listened, open-mouthed, at the MP3 samplers on this again. It's horrendous.
If you're looking at this review, you'll already know of the man, and also that all of the albums from the debut in '65 to Rosemary Lane are solid gold. The 70s recordings need a bit more picking through - LA Turnaround is a recognised classic, and Avocet is an unusual, beautiful (instrumental) record, and Conundrum has many good moments. This however, is a failed recording in almost every sense. The first reviewer nails it so I won't repeat his comments, but the artist sounds uncomfortable, the production is bad, the extra music tinsel (steel drums and choir!!!?) and the relocation to the states for recording and possible career re-direction simply bizarre and ill-conceived. So, a stinker. What to do?
An option here is to look for the "River Recordings", actually a live show taped in Scotland in winter '73 I think. It has the stronger material from here and much of LA Turnaround played the proper Bert way - a voice and a guitar. The new ECDs largely give the best of both worlds, rather like having Nick Drake's 'Time of No Reply' as a companion piece to his first two albums ('The Blacksmith' from LA Turnaround has a fantastic, dark electric piano grinding away like later Led Zep, then once you hear the stripped-down version after it's distinctly British-rural and quite ethereal, giving us both the artist's vision and a consistent part of an album in terms of mood and texture). Fortunately I lack the completist gene so "River Recordings" stands in for this horror of an album, while "From the Outside" does hide in a drawer somewhere as a testament to the man's sheer will and gradual (musical) recovery.