Bert Jansch records are always worth hearing, and this 1973 album is certainly no exception. Moonshine finds Jansch in a particularly traditional mode, and includes the likes of Ralph McTell as guests. This reissue is especially worth it for the amazing design of this release: the circular sleeve artwork has been transferred to the record itself as a picture disc!
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 13 October 2015A friend of mine was visiting his sister in London when she introduced him to a neighbour who was known locally as a musician. My friend liked the guy and listened intently to him play then on departure innocently wished him well with his music career. It was only later he was informed that the man was Bert Jansch. If this goes to show how unassuming Jansch was then the rich tapestry of music he left behind suggest he had no reason to be so modest. It might be unfair and lazy to call ‘Moonshine’ his best album but it’s the one I own and play most frequently and so I have many reasons to recommend it. The record is perfect misty early ’70’s folk with big chunky guitar chords backed by scattershot drums, Danny Thompson’s ever woody double bass and an orchestra of flutes. The compositions are a mixture of traditional songs and Jansch originals although the highlight the frost bitten ‘The January Man’ is a Dave Goulder composition. This is perfect winter folk, you can almost feel the dew dropping off bare branches. It’s taken a few years but I now finally hear the much vaunted influence of Jansch on Johnny Marr. The opening ‘Yarrow’ (another tremendous effort) is full of the type of chop and jangle complicated structures Marr invented for the early Smiths. The album holds a mood throughout - a dusky understated feel. It’s not as freewheeling as Fairport Convention nor as obviously folky as Pentangle or heart wrenchingly pretty as Nick Drake, instead it sits between. A must-own record from a golden era of folk.
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- Moonshine by Bert Jansch
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