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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
L.A. Turnaround
Format: Audio CD|Change
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After eight years with Transatlantic (1965 to 1971) and a brief flit with Reprise Records for "Moonshine" in 1972 - Pentangle's gifted Guitar Player and perennial folky BERT JANSCH recorded three albums with Tony Stratton Smith's Charisma Records - all beloved, revered and absent from CD for decades - 1974's "L.A. Turnaround", 1975's "Santa Barbara Honeymoon" and 1977's "A Rare Conundrum".

All three of these rare and sought-after UK vinyl originals have been given a digital dust-up by Charisma (now part of EMI) and reissued/remastered with Bonus Tracks and Enhanced CD Video. And what a tasty job they've done too. In fact I'd argue you need the lot (never enough Bert in our house) - but if I was to zero in on just one for the house-is-burning-down arm pile - then you'd have to say that this melodic peach should be singled out. Here's one to let the sunshine in...

UK released June 2009 - "L.A. Turnaround" by BERT JANSCH on EMI/Charisma CASCDX 1090 (Barcode 5099996486306) is an 'Extended & Enhanced' CD Remaster with Four Bonus Tracks and an 'ECD Section' (three of the Bonus and the 13:12 minute movie are Previously Unreleased). It plays out as follows (49:28 minutes):

1. Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning
2. Chambertin
3. One For Jo
4. Travelling Man
5. Open Up The Watergate (Let The Sunshine In)
6. Stone Monkey
7. Of Love And Lullaby
8. Needle Of Death
9. Lady Nothing
10. There Comes A Time
11. Cluck Old Hen
12. The Blacksmith
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 9th studio album "L.A. Turnaround" - released September 1974 in the UK on Charisma CAS 1090 (no US release - didn't chart in the UK).

BONUS TRACKS (see Notes for 13, 14 and 15):
13. Open Up The Watergate (Alternate Version)
14. One For Jo (Alternate Version)
15. The Blacksmith (Alternate Version)
16. In The Bleak Midwinter - non-album A-side to a December 1974 UK 7" single on Charisma CB 240 (the album cut "One For Jo" was the B-side). Produced by Ralph McTell

L.A. Turnaround...The Movie (13:12 minutes)
Contains: There Comes A Time, Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning, Travelling Man and One For Jo.
Filmed during the making of "L.A. Turnaround" at Tony Stratton-Smith's home, Luxford House in Sussex.
Features Bert Jansch, Mike Nesmith, Red Rhodes and others

NOTES: Tracks 13, 14, 15 and the ECD Section are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

The 8-page booklet shows the lyric insert that came with original British LPs (centre pages) and is complimented by superb and informational liner notes from noted music writer and lover - MICK HOUGHTON. There's even a footnote from the man who signed him and ran Charisma - Tony Stratton Smith. There's a 'mad hatter' Famous Charisma Records repro label on the CD, a shot of Jansch and acoustic guitar during recording beneath the see-through CD tray and stills from the 'boys in the country' film that's part of the ECD Section. But the big news is a gorgeous CD Remaster by BERT JANSCH and PETER MEW at Abbey Road Studios - the whole album (and its previously unreleased outtakes) sounding sublime...

Very Folk orientated with a dash of Acoustic Rock thrown in here and there – surrounded by Yes, ELP, Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Roxy Music - "L.A. Turnaround" was decidedly downbeat and maybe even 'too simple' for late 1974. And yet it’s beautiful because of that. Produced by Pentangle's John Renbourn in Paris in 1972 - the four-minute "Chambertin" with just Jansch on Acoustic Guitar is a good example – the kind of swirling, rolling, finger-picking work-out that gives Instrumentals a good name (beautiful audio on this highlight). Equally tasty is his cover of John Renbourn's "Lady Nothing" – another pretty melody that feels almost spiritual in its 'just the music' warmth. As some of have already mentioned the 'bird chirping' that opens "Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning" is AWOL - and without explanation either (couldn't get copyright on nature). But in truth - the song is so lovely, so soothing and bathed in beautiful Pedal Steel Guitar work from Red Rhodes – that bluntly I’m not that bothered.

"One For Jo" feels like an ancient English folk song - but it's a modern-day tale of dreamer that Jo clearly loves despite Bert's worries that he's all mouth and even a bit 'slow'. Politics rears its ugly head in the decidedly upbeat "Open Up The Watergate (Let The Sunshine In)". With Jesse Ed Davies playing superb slide guitar - Klaus Voorman on Bass and Danny Lane on Drums - it sounds more like Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance than the Bert Jansch we know (it's one of my faves on the album). Mike Nesmith of The Monkees plays Guitar on "Stone Monkey" while Red Rhodes puts in Pedal Steel - it's the kind of song that took me a while to like.

No such problem with Side 2's opener - the beautiful "Of Love And Lullaby" - a gorgeous lilting folk ballad you can't help thinking that both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would have given up a gonad to pen. Drug abuses seeps off the dark "Needle Of Death" - while the ghosts of a 1970 Matthews Southern Comfort permeate the whole of "There Comes A Time" - again aided and abetted by Mike Nesmith and especially Red Rhodes on the Pedal Steel. Kansas man Byron Berline brings his ex Dillards fiddle and mandolin to "Cluck Old Hen" - a song that feels like a Fairport Convention/Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hybrid. Doc Watson's "The Blacksmith" ends the LP - a wickedly upbeat song dominated by Mike Cohen's beautifully complimentary 'electric' keyboards (Cohen wrote "Mary, Mary" for The Monkees and was part of Mike Nesmith's band).

After a nice album - I wasn't expecting much from the Bonus Tracks - but I agree with Mike Houghton's assessment that the Pedal Steel variant of "Open Up The Watergate" and Mike Cohen's use of Acoustic Piano rather than electric is just as fab as the released version - if not better. Crisply produced by Ralph McTell – Jansch’s 2:22 minute cover of the seasonal Traditional "In The Bleak Midwinter" keeps a beautiful melody simple – bolstering it up towards the end with male and female Christmas voices like a soft-spoken Colliery Choir. Sweet as...

PS: see also reviews for CD Remasters of "Rosemary Lane" (1971) and "Avocet" (1978)
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on 6 April 2017
All ok
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on 10 December 2016
part of the genre
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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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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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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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VINE VOICEon 25 June 2009
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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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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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 22 July 2014
Interesting rather than Bert at his best. Not sure it has the best version of Needle of Death I've ever heard but there are one or two nice tracks which do work so worth a punt at this price
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