The Bert Jansch estate has worked with Earth Recordings to bring us A Man I'd Rather Be (Part 1). The collection arrives as a 4-LP set in case-bound book or 4-CD set in book-back packaging. With music culled from the highly prolific Jansch's '60s years, namely: 'Bert Jansch'; 'It Don't Bother Me'; 'Jack Orion' and 'Bert & John' -- so Part 1 starts, logically enough, at the very beginning. These four records were recorded in the space of just 2 years, and amazingly enough were of the highest quality.
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Is it time to tell my Bert Jansch story? Actually I'd better get back to actual work such as checking emails or whatever but very quickly it involves a friend who meets a guy called Bert who is always playing his guitar in his local neighbourhood. One day he tells Bert that not to worry, one day your music will be discovered. He later finds out the unassuming man was none other than Bert Jansch.
And that story sort of sums up the music of Bert Jansch. It's quiet, understated and totally unshowy. His guitar playing influenced all kind of players including the early finger picked style of Johnny Marr. His first four solo records (following a stint in Pentangle) were all recorded in a two year period but are meticulously played and produced using mainly just guitar and vocals. Like that of Nick Drake, Jansch's style is so full and busy that you forget there are no other instruments present. His voice is thin and reedy but perfectly suits his rather bleak compositions. The best track on the sampler I have of this 4LP set is 'Oh My Babe' taken from 'It Don't Bother Me' - a lovely broken melody with acoustic guitar twining through Bert's devastated vocal. Great stuff and there's loads more like this here and on the next set of his work due later ion the month.
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- A Man I’d Rather Be (Part I) by Bert Jansch
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