This 1966 album is the third from Scottish folk maestro Bert Jansch. As an added bonus it also features John Renbourn. It's an album very much of it's time. It shows a young Jansch already a master of the guitar and with a love of folk, yet at the same time still learning and growing. In many respects it has the feel of an early Bob Dylan album, though Jansch is clearly a better musician and singer.
It's a straightforward album of traditional folk songs, played in a seemingly simple fashion. But listen more closely, and you can hear how Jansch cleverly uses the guitar to evoke his trademark feeling of darkness and gloom. The atmosphere is thick with doom as he leads us through tales of love, betrayal and death. Underpinning it is always his gifted guitar abilities. The sound is raw, lacking the polish and richness that marked Jansch's later work, but it is totally suited to the material, a more polished finish would have been totally wrong for the album.
This album is famous for being the controversially uncredited source of Led Zeppelin's Black Mountain Side, Jimmy Page seems to have lifted it wholesale from Jansch's innovative rendering of Black water side. Even if it weren't for the rest of the great music here it would be an interesting album just to hear the genesis of this rock classic.
This 2008 Sanctuary release boasts a good clear remastering, and some interesting liner notes. No extra material from the vaults though, which would have been nice. All in all a decent release for an excellent album. 5 stars.