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Bert Jansch Comprehensive Best Of Collection

From his 1965 iconic debut album, Bert’s peerless musicality, songwriting and interpretation of traditional song has held generation after generation spellbound and inspired musicians in all genres. Just A Simple Soul – named after the closing track on his 1998 album Toy Balloon ­- is the first collection of Jansch’s entire solo career, with insightful liner notes by Bernard Butler (Suede) who compiled this selection with the Bert Jansch Estate. As a writer and player, Jansch has inspired countless other music icons including Jimmy Page, Paul Simon, Johnny Marr, Laura Marling, Graham Coxon, Fleet Foxes and Neil Young.

Presented chronologically the collection begins by drawing from his prolific 1960s period, during which he released six albums between 1965 and 1969. His self-titled debut, sometimes referred to as The Blue Album, is listed at #3 in NME’s Best Folk Albums Of All Time, and this collection plucks three tracks including the harrowing ‘Needle Of Death’; about the tragic passing of Bert’s friend, folk singer Buck Polly. The influence of young singer, Anne Briggs, began to show in this period, and the traditional folk songs she taught him, plus his bluesy, improvised guitar accompaniment which dominated his third solo album, Jack Orion (1966), featuring John Renbourn on guitar. That same year, the collaborative album Bert & John laid the foundations of the trad folk supergroup Pentangle. Jack Orion included ‘Blackwaterside’ (featured in this collection), a traditional song Jansch learned from Briggs. Elsewhere, eco-warning ‘Poison’ and ‘The Bright New Year’ are included from Bert’s fifth solo album Birthday Blues (1969), with Pentangle colleagues Danny Thompson and Terry Cox.

Jansch’s 21st century output is represented by ‘Crimson Moon’ (Crimson Moon, 2000) and ‘On The Edge Of A Dream’ (Edge Of A Dream, 2002), two records that bookend his 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Edge Of A Dream featured Bernard Butler on electric guitar, Bert’s son, Adam, on bass and vocals of Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. This collection is concluded with ‘High Days’, taken from Bert’s 23rd and, tragically, final studio album The Black Swan. Released through Sanctuary and Drag City, it featured prominent admirers including Beth Orton, Devendra Banhart and Helena Epsvall. It was dubbed an instant classic, described by Pitchfork as “immaculate but natural”, and named one of the best albums of 2006 by MOJO, who described it as “a beautiful, evocative piece of music… his strongest album in years.”

Just A Simple Soul reminds us of Bert Jansch’s enduring legacy and his influence across the musical spectrum. As Bernard Butler eloquently puts it; “Bert lived and breathed the sound of the guitar and its endless possibilities for communication, storytelling, conversation, emotional dialogue. We have a life’s work here, and what a life Bert Jansch has given us.”

Tracklist - LP

Side 1

1. Strolling Down The Highway

2. Angie

3. Needle Of Death

4. It Don't Bother Me

5. Black Water Side

6. Soho

7. The Time Has Come


Side 2

1. Go Your Way My Love

2. Come Back Baby

3. Poison

4. The Bright New Year

5. Rosemary Lane

6. Reynardine

7. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face


Side 3

1. Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning

2. Chambertin

3. Baby Blue

4. Daybreak

5. Kittiwake

6. Sweet Rose

7. Let Me Sing


Side 4

1. Morning Brings Peace of Mind

2. Carnival

3. Just A Simple Soul

4. Crimson Moon

5. On The Edge Of A Dream

6. High Days


Tracklist - CD


1. Strolling Down The Highway

2. Angie

3. Needle Of Death

4. It Don't Bother Me

5. A Man I’d Rather Be

6. The Waggoner’s Lad

7. Black Water Side

8. Soho

9. The Time Has Come

10. Go Your Way My Love

11. Come Back Baby

12. Poison

13. Promised Land

14. The Bright New Year

15. Rosemary Lane

16. Reynardine

17. M’Lady Nancy

18. Moonshine

19. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face



1. Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning

2. Chambertin

3. The Blacksmith

4. Baby Blue

5. Daybreak

6. Kittiwake

7. Up To The Stars

8. Sweet Rose

9. The Road Tae Dundee

10. Let Me Sing

11. When The Circus Comes To Town

12. Morning Brings Peace of Mind

13. Toy Balloon

14. Carnival

15. Just A Simple Soul

16. Crimson Moon

17. Omie Wise

18. On The Edge Of A Dream

19. The Black Swan

20. High Days




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