FolkWorld #44 03/2011
© David Hintz

Fantastic Notes

Bert Jansch |

Jammin Java, Vienna, VA - December 13, 2010.

If I am willing to fly to London to see Bert Jansch in his reunited Pentangle, then I am certainly up for a road trip to Vienna to see him tonight (although the traffic out of DC even at 3:30pm had me questioning this). It was nice to see so many people joined me as the room was full which really is not surprising due to the quality of tonight's lineup.

Bert is doing his straight up solo show with just himself, a mic and an acoustic guitar. He has always been one of the finest writers of all the great UK based finger style guitarists in the folk-blues circuit beginning in the early sixties. His distinctive voice and eclectic guitar style also contribute greatly to his excellent reputation.

Even with his great original songs, he always plays favorite traditional tunes and a few from other writers. He did two Jackson C. Frank songs tonight, the classic "Blues Run the Game" and the brilliant "My Name is Carnival". He asked if we knew Frank and about four of us answered yes (unlike when he asked about Pete Dockery was it? No one said a word). I saw Frank about six months before he died in 1999 and he certainly showed the decline he had in life. His one album is worth getting, so do look into that.

Jansch did his usual great job with the Frank songs as well as Dominic Behan's "Old Triangle" (also done by the Pogues) and "Rosemary Lane". He did well with some of his classics like "It Don't Bother Me" and "A Woman Like You", although the latter did show the natural signs of an aging voice.

An instrumental tune went over well with the crowd and was the favorite of at least one member of the audience. He still has the great touch on guitar and can really pull out fantastic notes with deceptive ease. Thankfully, he has gotten by some challenging health issues of his own and is able to put on a nice display of his talents. The crowd was very thankful of that tonight.

First published @

Photo Credits: (1) Bert Jansch (by Wikipedia).

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