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4.6 out of 5 stars
L.A. Turnaround
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It comes as an amazement to me that I haven't got into the music of Bert Jansch until recently. I am a huge fan of the folk rock movement (from both sides of the Atlantic) of the late sixties from which he emerged promethean like, I really should have heard his solo music sooner. I really regret not having the chance to see him performing live. His skill with guitar and the beautiful music he made put him head and shoulders above the likes of Dylan, Paul Simon or Fairport Convention.

Anyway, enough rambling, down to the album in hand. This is the 2009 Virgin reissue of a 1974 album recorded for the `Famous Charisma Label' (to quote the label on the disc). It was his ninth solo album, and released in the year following the break up of Pentangle. Produced by ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith, it sounds like a very personal album, somewhat removed from the material he was making a year previously with Renbourne, McShee and co in Pentangle.

It is, to put it simply, beautiful. Melodies and tunes ripple and flow from Jansch's guitar like water in a stream. You get washed along in the eddies and currents of the music, and as soon as the CD ends you feel washed up on the shore and have no option but to press play again and dive right back in.

Rooted in British folk, there is a flavour of West Coast Americana in this album, introduced no doubt by Nesmith, who as well as producing also play on a few tracks. There are distinctly Hippie flower power overtones and rhythms, along with some Country stylings. These are blended by Jansch with consummate ease to make a record of gentle beauty. It's gentle, with a slight jaunty air, and perfect music for relaxing to.

Jansch wasn't the greatest of singers, but always seems to have chosen or written material suited to his voice. Here we have classics such as `Open Up The Watergate' and `Needle of Death', two contrasting pieces of very different tone but both delivered with an expressive vocal that conveys the meaning clearly.

This 2009 reissue is a decent affair. The original album is presented along with 4 bonus tracks in a nice and clear remastered sound that just springs out of my speakers full of life and colour. There is a short film (playable on PC) filmed at the time of recording, and shows 5 of the tracks featured on the album. There are liner notes discussing the genesis and recording of the album and full lyrics.

It's an excellent release of a simply beautiful album. 5 stars.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2010
I won't comment critically on the album - if you like Bert then you will love it, and be thankful that it has finally seen the light of (the digital) day.

However, as is unfortunately the case with most remasters and reissues nowadays, the original source work has been altered for its second coming. The opening track (unarguably one of the best on the album, and one of Bert's all-time greats) 'Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning' has been edited. On this remaster you are not able to sample what music biographer Colin Harper describes [in his book DAZZLING STRANGER: BERT JANSCH AND THE BRITISH FOLK AND BLUES REVIVAL] as 'pastoral ambience exquisitely captured' since the opening 10 seconds (!) have been deleted. So gone is the remote chirping of birds as Bert recorded this track out in the country garden that morning.

'Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning' in its orginal form is a special track and a significant part of this is the that special scene-setting introduction made by nature itself; when you throw in the story behind its recording - for this do check out Harper's great book - it becomes all the more significant and hence all the more disappointing to hear that it has been axed for this remastered reissue.

However, I am not going to bother to surmise here why this has happend, on whether it was a technical or authorial decision - this of course would be pointless.

But if you do want to hear the original version on CD then I can point you to the Jansch anthology DAZZLING STRANGER, as it is the opening track on the 2nd disc of that excellent compilation. Ironically this was curated well before the recent re-issues, and done so well by Mr Harper again.

It shouldn't really be that you have to reference another work to hear something in its original format - and when I say reference I also mean spend again. I am not keen to perversely reward this edit/hack job by encouraging another purchase but I will say it is worth it - and while you are at it, make sure you buy Mr Harper's book Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival for as a companion piece alone it will add another level of listening enjoyment to Bert's songs. Colin's work across this text, the aforementioned compilation CD, countless articles in the music press as well as his presence in the DREAMWEAVER documentary without a doubt played a significant part in the Jansch comeback so one can only say - hats off to Colin Harper. And one can also only wonder if those 10 seconds would still be there if he had been also involved with this release...

To conclude - it is undeniably brilliant that L.A. TURNAROUND is out again and overall this is a lot better than most other remastered re-issues out there, both in terms of quality and real justification for going through with the whole exercise in the first place. So do purchase it as one of the greatest works by one of the greatest guitarists. And then buy the DAZZLING STRANGER combination I have already mentioned.

The fact that its key opening song is cut before it even starts is probably best described by the phrase Bert himself later employed at the start of his environmentally-concerned song 'Lost And Gone', as found on his subsequent album SANTA BARBARA HONEYMOON - 'what a bloody shame' indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2009
It was worth the wait for this DVD. I bought it as a gift for my husband having bought the vinyl when it was first issued. I had forgotten how hypnotic and spellbinding Bert Jansch's work is. I appreciated having the words included as I still can only hum along,but the melodies are glorious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The ninth album by Bert Jansch was L.A. Turnaround. This 1974 album is most definitely a great folk album with great originality.
The album was produced by Michael Nesmith who had been a member of the Monkees. He had recorded with a country rock sound and brought this West Coast influence with him to the recording.
There is an impressive line up of musicians on the recording. We get Michael Nesmith on Guitar, Bert on Guitar, piano and vocals, Rod Rhodes on steel guitar, Byron Berline on fiddle and mandolin, Jesse Ed Davis on guitar, Klaus voorman on bass, Jay Lucy on guitar and Michael Cohen on electric piano.

There are some great new songs. I love One for Jo and There comes a time. There is also one Traditional song Cluck old Hen.

The CD version has some bonus tracks as well. A good alternative version of One for Jo and In the bleak mid winter are great additions.
This is a great album in a long line of albums by Bert Jansch/
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
One of those artists whose name has often cropped up when I ,ve been reading about music I must confess to knowing absolutely zilch about Bert Jansch prior to buying this CD copy of his 1974 album L.A.Turnaround which was recorded soon after the final demise of his band Pentangle in 1973.Recorded in both Paris and Los Angeles though many of the tracks were "Laid Down " in amongst the English countryside at the home of Tony Stratton Smith whose "Famous Charisma " label he had signed for the album was produced by former Monkee Michael Nesmith,along with Danny Thompson.
The influence of Nesbitt ,considered by many to be the godfather of country rock is evident in the music's embracing of American influences. The steel guitar of Red Rhodes , the fiddle and mandolin of Byron Berline and the guitar work of the late Jesse Ed Davis all makes this especially palpable. Beatle cohort Klaus Voorman plays bass ,Danny Lane drums and there is some flashy electric piano from Michael Cohen.
Considered to be a classic folk album L.A.Turnaround has long been unavailable on CD and comes with four bonus tracks and a thirteen minute ECD shot in cinema verite style and showcasing Bert recording four songs from the albums sessions.
Yet to be honest I found the album a little dull and one dimensional on first listen .However this is often the case with truly great albums and further forays into it's delights with ears fully attentive proved there here is an album full of bucolic charms, breezy but brilliant musicianship and a series of seamlessly arranged laid back songs that take sudden and delightful little forays into jazz ( the piano on "The Blacksmith " , especially the alternate version ) ."Stone Monkey "even adds a touch of funk into the bass line and percussion .
Highlights includes the lovely lilting "Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning " which is apt as this would be considered by many as ideal Sunday morning music, the reflective "There Comes A Time " the gossamer coated chords of "One For Joan the undulating low level funk of "Travelling Man ". The bonus track "In The Bleak Midwinter " was a Christmas single in 1974 but was bit too dark for the jollified Xmas market so it bombed.It,s a wonderful song though , which the insert notes tell us was produced by Ralph McTell who after the session recorded the single "Streets Of London " with the same personnel and went on to have a sizable hit with that. Such are the vagaries of the music business.
L.A. Turnaround was so hard to come by that Bert Jansch had to buy a vinyl copy off eBay ,something I wouldn't wish on anyone. It's not difficult to see why he would cherish it so . Now the album that Melody Maker called at the time "Not far off being the perfect album " is freely available on C.D. We should all lap it up. To quote those notes again this is "An album to feel for , an album to love ".
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2009
I have nursed my copy of this wonderful album on cassette for the last 35 years, so you can imagine my relief at finally being able to retire it for this newly released CD.

This was the first album Bert Jansch released as a solo artist after breaking from Pentangle in the early 70s and to my mind it has always marked the high point of his career.

This release is remarkable not only for its content (some of the most enduring and critically aclaimed songs on Jansch's career) but also its production. Produced by Mike Nesmith (yes, the ex-Monkee), Nesmith also brought with him his long time buddy and pedal steel guitarist, Red Rhodes. The extraordinary combination of Jansch's inspiring guitar playing with Rhodes' inspired pedal steel is in turns both amazing and ethereal. An unlikely marriage on paper, on record it creates a marvellous ambiance to Jansch's searching songs. Bear in mind that Jansch is often regarded as one of the best british guitarists of his generation and that Rhodes dominated ped steel playing in his era, as well. Marvellous!

Another marvellous aspect is the addition of a 15 minutes documentary of the making of L A Turnaround. Very revealing and a fantastic visual record of Jansch at the top of his game.

All in all, for any Jansch fan an absolute gem.

And for new fans, perhaps directed here by Jansch's recent collaboration with younger artists, I have no hesitation for once in recommending a back catalogue item as a starting point. Essential.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2009
Well, there is not to much to say that's not been said in the other reviews. I just need to express my admiration. There is not one weak cut on the album and the interplay between Bert and Red Rhodes is absolutely fantastic. I have surley missed this record for a long time and I'm glad it's finally avalible for a new generation. Enjoy!!
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on 11 July 2014
This is widely held to be Bert's best album . I am not convinced and could well argue the merits of Moonshine , Jack Orion , Birthday Blues and Rosemary Lane . Partly recorded in Sussex and partly in California ( and with two instumental tracks in Paris ) , you will hear Red Rhodes on pedal steel and Mike Nesmith on rhythm guitar . Great songs ( including a remake of Needle Of Death ) and fine playing make up a very good album . It seems incredible now that this was unavailable for twenty five years and when Bert wanted to get hold of a vinyl copy , he had to go on eBay .
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on 12 September 2014
As a Michael Nesmith fan I was amazed to discover that this CD came with a 14min film clip of Nesmith (who produced and play on it) and his peddle steel player O.J. ‘Red’ Rhodes recording parts of this album with Jansch in an old Tudor mansion. Its an extraordinary piece of footage, catching Nesmith at his creative peak and it was fascinating to see — a real window into 1974. The album itself is quite beautiful in parts, almost Nick Drake-like — particularly the parts recorded during the making of the film
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on 8 December 2011
I really like this album. A few reworked favourites (in a rather gentler style than the original I feel) as well as some newer songs. (at least they were newer at the time of recording). A lovely bonus is the 'home grown' video footage which was shot at teh time of recording.
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