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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 30 June 2001
This dates from 1965, and what a stir it caused then! Jnasch went on to work famously with John Renbourn and Pentangle, but this solo work is wonderful stuff. His guitar style is unique and accomplished, his songs,with exception of the 2 "protest" songs, which are a bit bum-clenching in retrospect, are romantic and poignant. The album contains one or two of his most famous songs - Needle of death, Strollin' down the highway, and Ramblings gonna be the death of me", interspersed with dazzling little instrumentals like "Finches". It's bluesy, jazzy, and brilliant! A little walk down Memory Lane for those who spent their formative years in 1960s folk clubs, and a real treat for everyone.
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on 6 May 2007
Dylan is revered. Robert Johnson, Skip James are re-discovered. But, this album by Bert Jansch is a milesone in folk blues. Vastly underated, his lyrics have am impact today and his guitar technique as displayed on this CD leave his songwriter acoustic contemporaries standing. He has produced many things since but this is his seminal work, as fresh now as it was when it left a crack in the ground. Listen.
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on 8 February 2007
Now in his 60s, the excellent Bert Jansch has had an impressive and extensive career, having won such awards as the lifetime achievment award at the 2001 BBC Folk Awards. And this is where it started. This is his debut album and one of my favourites. There are many great tracks on 'Bert Jansch' and listening to it, it is no surprise that it was heavily responsible for the elevation of his career and the beginning of his success. The tracks are tuneful, with a fluency throughout the album which is more than can be said for some of his later albums (though he has done about 25). As a previous reviewer has already said, there is a lot of his most famous tracks on this album and his influence on people like Neil Young, Jimmy page and various artists is plain to see. If you're interested in getting into folk music and Bert Jansch, or you're already an experienced folk listener, this is an ideal album to buy.
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on 22 October 2011
My first exposure to Bert Jansch was through a friend who used to go to Les Cousins in the mid-60s. I was about 15-16 at the time, and although I lived in Bromley, Kent I never got around to going with Simon to experience the folk scene live at the time. But Simon bought the records - Bert Jansch, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, John Renbourn, Incredible String Band, Simon & Garfunkel and Donovan - and a little later Roy Harper, and Al Stewart.

It took my ear some considerable adjustment to get used to the finger-picking style of these folk musicians. Like most of my generation, I'd been brought up on a musical diet of the Shadows, the Beatles, the Stones and the many other glorious groups of the early 60s. But once I learned to appreciate the skill, the musicality, and the genuine emotions expressed by the upcoming wave of folk artists there was no turning back.

And I bought some of the records too, and we'd listen to them, as moody teenagers, often stoned, until late into the night. They stayed with us, although, in my case, most of them (with the exception of the ISB) moved somewhat to the back burner during the later stages of the 60s when the psychedelic explosion occurred.

And then, a few years ago someone sent me a CDR of People on the Highway: A Bert Jansch Encomium to check out. I liked this tribute CD so much that I bought my own copy - which record companies please note, is often the way it works with me. The CD brought those early folk music memories right back to the front of my consciousness.

And then, a week or so ago, Bert Jansch died. He wasn't old - though some might say he lasted a lot longer than might have been predicted at one time. Bert's death made we want to re-experience those early records of his which were so important to the formation of my adult musical taste. This CD, Bert's first album, is a beaut. His guitar playing is immaculate - with warmth and feeling, and with bags of the technical virtuosity which he was rightly acclaimed for. The songs are amongst his best and his voice is strong and emotive. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes folk music (though most folkies will, I'm sure, already know it).

The only criticism I have with this release is the addition of the two bonus live tracks. These are poorly recorded, and sound harsh and incongruous after what has gone before. They don't add anything, but rather detract from the overall qualities of what was a gem of a first album. It would have been much better if the album had finished with the first version of Angie, and left me savouring those sweet notes as they resonated in my mind after the music had ended. I might copy this CD without the last two tracks - so I can enjoy the album as it was originally intended to sound.
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on 3 March 2009
Babbler & Crow
For depth of songwriting and passion, & subtlety and strength of performance and lyrical content this album rivals almost any folk LP from the 1960s, including Dylan. Though Jansch's voice might not be everyone's cup of tea, his astonishing guitar playing is mesmerizing.
In the time you spent reading this review you could have pressed "buy now", I strongly suggest you do so now.
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on 1 April 2015
Almost everything that Bert Jansch touches becomes a classic in my ears. This one is his first, and includes the important "Needle of Death", and the song "Angi", a cover that was about to be covered again, by Paul Simon. His fingerpicking has had a great influence to many, not the least Jimmy Page, who must have listened a lot to this record in his formative years as recording engineer and guitarist.
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The Folk revival of the 1950s and 60s is a really interesting period in music history. Folk music had been on a decline in popularity. But with the traditionalists such as Ewan Mcall and the modern folk song writers such as Dylan, Folk music was healthier than ever thanks to recorded music.
There are many famous names in the folk song revival that have had rightful recognition and the American influence was very strong with the likes of Dylan. But then there were other wonderful artists that deserve at least equal credit. These people are maybe familiar within the folk world but not so well known outside. Like America, Britain produced quality performers and this CD respresents one of the greats.

Bert Jansch, a singer songwriter from Edinburgh, has his debut album here on this excellent CD version of a beautiful folk album. It was recorded in 1965 and features songs written by Jansch except for the tune Angie, written by Jazz blues guitarist Davy Graham of whom both Bert Jansch and his friend John Renbourn were big fans.
The songs cover all sorts of issues. There are songs with great passion and sensitivity. There are songs of death and life, hope and despair. And there are protest songs. The performance is on acoustic guitar with unique vocal style by Jansch. There is a magical quality to the whole sound and this album deserves a place in a folk music collection. Within the folk world Bert's most famous song appears here. Needle of Death deals with drug use and death. It was inspired by the death of a folk singer friend. Hardly a jolly song. But it is a most poiniant piece performed with great senstitvity. Such examples have sadness yes, but they also have a beauty. Some pieces are instrumental such as Anji,
The album was recorded by engineer Bill Leader in his house on a reel to reel tape recorder. After trying various record companies he eventually sold the recording to Transatlantic records for £100. It went on to make a lot of money for Transatlantic records and it became a classic folk album.
This is a great release all round. The sound is fine. The album is brilliant and the CD design with a good booklet and photos as well as a few bonus tracks that are good to have all make an outstanding release.
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on 1 July 2013
I can't believe I lived so long without this album... It is brilliant. I brought this album in response to the pre-existing reviews - many thanks to all who had done so, without you all I would never have found Bert Jansch.. I'd add - if you love the likes of Nick Drake and Donovan - buy this... you will not be disappointed... :)
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on 27 February 2014
A good friend of mine once said that, whereas Bob Dylan gives you a whole book to go at, with Bert Jansch you get only a page. It's certainly true that Jansch seemed almost to exhaust his songwriting talent with this album; but if only a page, it's a page of vividly, glowingly illuminated manuscript (while Dylan can sometimes be as drab as the phone book). In fact, I rate this the greatest 'folk' guitar album ever.

It's the vision of a young man who, like a folktale hero, has set out to seek his fortune and finds love, death, unintended paternity, fear of Armageddon. He misses home, would like to put down roots with some girl; but the road leads on and the urge to follow is quiet but insistent. As resonant as anything Dylan produced, musically it's far superior; the instrumentals, which set a standard no-one else has matched, seem to embody the restless theme even more graphically than the songs.

It boggles the mind that someone here thinks he has nothing to say: in a sense there *is* no more to say than this. None of that bloody harmonica, either.
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on 13 February 2014
Whether you're into folk or just into music, this is a jaw dropping album. It inspired Jimmy Page, Neil Young and many others. There is no questioning the virtuous talent of Bert and the feeling he delivers. I keep this album close to my heart and I recommend you buy it too, if you like his music this is the first album to buy.
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