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Rare Conundrum

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Jun. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B002F3BQRG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Product Description

Digitally re-mastered and expanded edition of this 1977 album from the British Folk legend. A Rare Conundrum was Jansch's third and final album for Charisma Records and was recorded in 1976. Jansch is an innovative and accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter. His solo work is extremely influential as is his recordings as a founding member of Pentangle. Includes three bonus tracks: 'Three Dreamers', 'Dragonfly' and 'Candyman'.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is perhaps surprising that I have only recently started listening to Bert Jansch's solo work. I have long been a devotee of Pentangle and John Renbourne, as well as artists such as Dylan, Fairport Convention and the like. But up until now I have never really dipped my toe into the world of Jansch. And now that I have I regret that I have spent so long without this sublime music in my life.

I recently listened to the great `Romsemary Lane', and decided to try this album next based on the highly scientific principle that I love the title and cover art. Anyone who uses one of my favourite Escher drawings as the basis for a cover is bound to get my attention. A Rare Conundrum is a traditionalish folky album, released in 1977 at the end of his tenure with the Charisma label. It is produced by Lindisfarne alumni Rod Clemens, who contributes some bass and guitar. The drummer is Pick Withers, who a year later would shoot to fame as the drummer with Dire Straits. Stylistically it is rooted in folk, but as with so many of the artists of the time Jansch uses a much wider musical palette, introducing elements of jazz, blues and a tinge of rock. There are also large elements of country to be found here with some delicious banjo work. It has moved on quite a way from the bluesier albums of his earlyier career, and the more folky material of the Rosemary Lane years, though it still retains huge elements of both. It shows an artist growing, assimilating new styles, but not changing direction or forgetting his past.

Jansch is lauded as a master technician on the guitar, and he really shows why here. Playing with a depth of skill that is breathtaking, he delivers vivid emotional imagery just with a few plucks of a guitar string.
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Format: Audio CD
Back in the late seventies I had the Danish variation of this album called "Poor Mouth". After I sold my LP's ten years later i expected a reissue on CD, but to no avail. Now after more than 30 years, Bert's Charisma albums are finally being reissued. I could not wait to get hold on "LA Turnaround", an album I sincerely missed. I bought the other two Charisma albums of course, and to my supprise I found "A Rare Conundrum" on par with "LA Turnaround". It is a very stripped down affair and reminds me a lot of Berts albums from the sixties. Rod Clements from Lindisfarne is the producer and he also contributes fine bass playing all over the album. The sound is crisp and Berts voice and playing is relaxed and brilliant. There is no need to select the best tunes, since they're all very good. This was the last masterpiece before the release of "When the Circus Comes To Town" some eighteen years later!
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Format: Audio CD
Where do I start with an album like this, a classic yes, good songs yes, great instrumental playing most definitely and a lovely relaxed feel throughout, these words would sum up the album A Rare Conundrum from Bert Jansch. When I first bought the vinyl version on it's original release in 1977, I was immediately struck by the good production values, which provded good clear sound and separation of all the instruments and vocals found here, this new remasterd CD improves all this and still maintains a warm feel to the music. The musical arrangements are simple and Bert is in fine form, whether he is playing guitar or banjo, as on the song Doctor, Doctor. There is also some lovely violin playing on Daybreak and other songs from Mike Piggott with Rod Clements(ex-Lindisfarne), playing bass, guitar or mandolin,while Ralph Mctell (harmonica) appears on 2 tracks. The subject matter of songs varies from death in 1 to a 100, folk clubs as in Daybreak and 3 Chord Trick, American folk song in Pretty Saro and Doctor, Doctor, Irish folk song in The Curragh of Kildare and Poor Mouth and instrumentals like Instrumentaly Irish and St.Fiacre. This CD also includes 3 bonus tracks, of which 3 Dreamers is a great song, while Bert offers an interesting reggae version of the old Gay Davis blues number Candyman. Throughout this album Bert's playing is fluent and smooth and his vocals are as good as they get, there does seem to a joy about the music that suggests how much he must have enjoyed making it. As for favourite songs, too many really, so my advise is take the album as a whole. If you want to hear Bert Jansch's songs, folk song interpretations or simply his lovely guitar playing at it's best, then this is a really good album to start with.
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Format: Audio CD
Bert sounds unusually happy on this reissue of a 1977 record, his third and last for the Charisma label (which begs the question of why any label would let such a rare find go at all).
These songs are mostly Jansch originals and remind me, in their melodic generosity and variety, of a later and favourite album of mine, When The Circus Comes To Town.
He`s joined on some tracks by bassist Rod Clements, percussionist Pick Withers, Mike Piggott on violin, and even, on the Flann O`Brien-inspired Poor Mouth, folk veteran Ralph McTell on harmonica.
This reissue, in excellent sound, comes with an eight-page booklet, with notes and full track listings.
Bert Jansch shouldn`t be dead, it just doesn`t seem right. That bitter-sweet voice, both world-weary and wry, capable of warmth and humour, and his immaculate guitar playing... Thankfully we now have his life`s work on disc, and it`s a surprise to me to realise just how many albums he made in his career. There`s a lot, and I`m enjoying collecting them. I haven`t been disappointed with any of them either, even his late collaborations with younger talents.
This has three very welcome extra tracks, the first of which is a typically fine, memorable song by Bert called Three Dreamers. There was ever something dreamy and almost ethereal about his voice. Soulful too.
The whole thing ends with a `tropical` version of the trad song Candyman, and very tasty it is.
This is Bert Jansch - unlikely national treasure - at his most open-hearted, in a collection of songs as enjoyable and eclectic as anything he recorded.
Wonderful.
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