Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bert’s Blues (R.I.P.)

This clip, recorded for an instructional folk guitar video, is a nice mid-1970s rendition of one of Jansch’s mid 1960s folk masterpieces, “Black Water Side,” later reinterpreted by Jimmy Page as “Black Mountainside” on the first Led Zeppelin album.

Saddened today to hear news of the passing of acoustic guitar genius Bert Jansch. A spiky plunker of a fingerpicker with the most magical fluid fretting touch. So glad I got to see him in person a few times, between the early 1990s (at a high school gymnasium in Waltham, Mass., of all places, accompanied by his with Pentangle pals Jacqui and John) and as recently as last year, opening for Neil Young’s “Twisted Road” solo tour.

Bert was a magical guitar player, who Jimmy Page (whose acoustic style borrowed liberally from Bert) called him “a real dreamweaver” and Neil Young referred to him as the “Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar.” My wife, who I fairly sure has harbored a thing for ol’ Bert for many years, sadly noted the loss of his lovely poetic singing voice, too.

He will surely be missed, but remembered with reverence and appreciation.

• NPR’s music blog, The Record, has a nice concise write up highlighting his influence.

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