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on 7 June 2012
First heard this on a cassette tape recording in 1992 although I believe the actual tape is from 1971.Had seen Bert Jansch live in the 70s in concert with John Renbourn who I believe had also played with Pentangle,the group Bert Jansch originally started.Saw Bert Jansch later with just one musician playing saxophone on some of the numbers he played.This concert was at the Twelve Bar Club in Charing Cross Rd in 1996 both concerts were excellent.When listening to this recording if I didn't know I would think I was listening to two guitarists playing together.Bert Jansch was a very special talent and I would recommend Rosemary Lane to anyone who appreciates good music.Even if the songs are not to your taste it is worth a listen just to hear the excellent guitar work.Rosemary Lane
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Given the predominately 'Rock and Prog' musical landscape of May 1971 when it was released (George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" in February, "The Yes Album" by Yes in March, "Sticky Fingers" by The Rolling Stones in April and Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" in May) - is it any wonder that no-one on either side of the pond paid any attention to a purely Folk-Acoustic album on Transatlantic Records by BERT JANSCH (resplendent in its stippled-effect sleeve or not).

"Rosemary Lane" was an LP out of time in Blighty's May 1971 and the Ex Pentangle guitarist saw his seventh studio album sink without a ripple or a lifeboat. Yet I'd argue it's a total gem in a sea of noise (great noise mind you) - a beautiful, romantic and peaceful thing that's ripe for rediscovery. And this dinky little CD remaster of it from Sanctuary Records of the UK (part of Castle Music) - is an overlooked gem. Here are the dulcimer details...

UK released December 2001 - "Rosemary Lane" by BERT JANSCH on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMRCD335 (Barcode 5050159133529) is a straightforward 13-track CD Remaster of the 1971 album and plays out as follows (37:28 minutes):

1. Tell Me What Is True Love?
2. Rosemary Lane
3. M'Lady Nancy
4. A Dream, A Dream, A Dream
5. Alman
6. Wayward Child
7. Nobody's Bar
8. Reynardine [Side 2]
9. Silly Women
10. Peregrinations
11. Sylvie
12. Sarabanda
13. Bird Song
Tracks 1 to 13 are his 7th studio album "Rosemary Lane" - released May 1971 in the UK on Transatlantic TRA 235 and in the USA on Reprise RS 6455. Produced by BILL LEADER - all songs written by Bert Jansch (a co-write with John Renbourn on "Peregrinations") except the English Traditional covers of "Rosemary Lane", "Reynardine" and "Sylvie" - with "Alman" by British 16th Century Lute player Robert Johnson and "Sarabanda" by Italian violinist Archangelo Corelli.

The 12-page booklet has warmly written and informative liner notes from COLIN HARPER - Author of "Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch And The British Folk And Blues Revival" on Bloomsbury in 2000. There are several black and white snaps of Bert in his flat making tea and tuning his guitar. Beneath the see-through CD tray is a photo of the battered Transatlantic Records Master Tape Box and we get a truly beautiful Remaster by SEAN COTTER and ANDY PEARCE done at Masterpiece Mastering. The album is entirely acoustic and requires the deftest of touches and that's what you get - clarity and warmth and air around the gentle strums and guitar plucks. It's a top job done...

Keeping it simple yet interesting is a hard thing to get right - but that's where "Rosemary Lane" wins. None of the songs feature anything more than Acoustic Guitar and Voice - so the songs have to be strong to hold your attention let alone stroke the old soft machine. It opens with a firm fan fave-rave - the lovely "Tell Me What Is True Love?" It's followed by another gorgeous melody sung in that minstrel twang by Jansch - "Rosemary Lane" - a tale of a service man who meets a sailor and the maid "Pretty Polly" and that's when his misery began (oh dear).

"M'Lady Nancy" is the first of three instrumentals on the album - another being "Peregrinations" - a co-write with that other great stalwart of English Folk - John Renbourn. The Italian Violinist Archangelo Corelli penned "Sarabanda" way back in 17-hundred-and-something and provides us with the third instrumental. Another of my poisons is the lovely Traditional "Reynardine" which is so simple - so beautiful - a rambler song. His own "Bird Song" finishes the album on a quietly magisterial note...

A deeply old-fashioned LP rooted in the oldest of Traditions - one man, his guitar, his voice and his interpretations of old and new songs. "Rosemary Lane" is as lovely as it sounds. And well done to those Remaster Engineers (Sean Cotter and Andy Pearce) for making it sparkle anew...
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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.

Rosemary Lane is a traditionalish folky album, released in 1971 just at the end of Jansch's time with the original Pentangle line up. While in some respects stylistically similar to what he was doing with the group at the time, it is very definitely a solo album and has his own distinctive persona running right through it. 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.

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. But at the same time he is singing, and the melding of voice and guitar, the balance between the two is just perfect. He delivers ballads and love songs with real grace and clarity. Contained herein is Reynardine, a classic from Fairport Convention's Leige and Leaf, but here Jansch does so much more with it, accentuating the lyric with his beautiful guitar work and delivering a version that I would suggest is even better than the sublime Sandy Denny rendition.

This is what music should be. It enters the soul and lodges there, driving feelings and emotions and evoking real passion. I just love this record and am looking forward to hearing more from Jansch's back catalogue.
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on 11 September 2007
For anyone who has never heard Bert Jansch solo, this would be an ideal place to start. His style encompasses folk, renaissance, blues and conveys an ethereal quality that marks his work from his contemporaries. This particular album displays in my view, that wistfullness of the mysterious bard the best. There isn't a bad track on here. Reminds me of winds playing over moor and heath just as the sun sets below the horizon.
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Rosemary Lane is a beautiful album by Bert Jansch. It was recorded in 1971 during a time when Bert was still a member of the group Pentangle. After four albums with the group and losing interest in what they were doing, Rosemary Lane was like returning to the more simpler arrangement and sound of his early solo albums.

The album was recorded with Bill Leader as producer on portable equipment in much the same way they had produced the debut album. The album was a throwback to happier times. For me this is one of the best albums by Bert. The album has simple acoustic sound of guitar and vocals with expert playing and wonderful songs.
The album has original songs by Jansch such as the opening Tell me what is true love, and M’Lady Nancy. But it also has a few songs from other people or Tradition. Traditional pieces like the title track Rosemary Lane gets a wonderful treatment from Bert. He sings with such meaning and passion.
Reynardine, is another Traditional piece that gets a great arrangement here. And another Traditional piece called Sylvie is a delight.
The Jansch written songs are some of the best of his work and they sit very comfortably with the other pieces to make a true folk album.

The CD version with re mastered sound is perfect. There is a good booklet with original art work for the original vinyl release. It sounds great and this album is one of the Bert Jansch albums that you really should have if you are going to collect his recordings.
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2003
Anyone already familiar to Bert Jansch will know exactly how important he was to the english folk scene of the early sixties - basically, he did for the acoustic guitar what Jimi did for the electric. Hearing his versatility with the old piece of wood is a wonder - noone had played like this before (it also made Dylan quite envious, which is no bad thing)! whereas other folksters treated their instrument with respect, Jansch abused his, strumming with fierce verocity and producing highly original interpretations of folk standards as a result.
Rosemary Lane is the first album in which the focus is not entirely placed on guitar. Whilst song was never sacrificed by Burt for lightning string picking, sometimes it was obscured a little as the listener sat back and gasped 'wow' at yet another incredibly inventive use of scaling or chord progression. On this album the songs shine just as brightly as the talent displayed with guitar. And what songs they are! 'Tell me what is true love' is a request from a child to his father, stunningly evocative and quite (sniff) touching. 'Silly woman' despite the rather unfortunate title is no misogynistic rant ala 'Stupid girl' but rather a remonition on the uselessness of words in a relationship that transcends understanding. 'Reynardine' is quite simply, a gorgeous interpretation of an old standard based on a medieval comedy of sorts. I could go on and on but I'll wind up with saying that this without doubt the most affecting (and argueably best) Jansch album you'll hear. Right, I'm off to fall in love with it all over again!
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on 14 July 2014
Just Bert and his guitar but none the worse for that . The celebrated title track is the all too familiar tale of a naive servant girl who finds herself up the duff . Reynardine is our old foxy friend who seems to crop up in my collection almost as often as the song that dare not speak it's name . A Dream , A Dream , A Dream is hopelessly catchy . We have all drunk in Nobody's Bar . Tell Me What Is True Love is the universal child /parent interrogation about the meaning of life . Silly Woman is a tender song in which the woman is addressed with fond exasperation rather than the misogynistic bullying which the likes of Jagger and Richards were indulging in around this time . I got this a few years ago on a twofer with Birthday Blues and , if you can find it , that is the one to go for .
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on 1 March 2013
Undoubtedly, one of Jansch's best albums: just voice and guitar, beautiful songs, non-intrusive production, sounds as if he is playing in your living room...
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on 11 April 2009
This is my favourite Bert Jansch recording.It's so beautifully performed and packaged. An absolute steal at this price.
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on 13 February 2010
Entering the orbit of Bert via the usual route (Pentangle) did me no harm. On his own he stretches out and really unleashes his talent. At times I am not even sure which century I am in, such does Bert manage to transport me away from my sofa and into another realm. I shall now buy all his albums. Thank you Bert.
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