Bert JanschBritish Folk-Rock Legend By Jim Allen
Godfather of U.K. folk and fingerstyle master.
Perhaps only fellow acoustic guitar virtuoso Davey Graham had as big an impact on the ‘60s U.K. folk scene as Scotland's Bert Jansch. When Jansch hit the London folk circuit centered on the club Les Cousins (along with everyone from Jackson C. Frank to a young Al Stewart), his undeniable musical gravitas quickly made him a major figure. After inaugurating his recording career with a pair of classic 1965 albums, he teamed with fellow traveler John Renbourn for a musical union that was a Britfolk fan's dream. That dream turned into an even more visceral reality when the two guitar giants started Pentangle, defining the U.K. branch of folk rock in the process. Jansch never abandoned his solo work, though, which continued for decades after Pentangle's initial breakup. The Glaswegian balladeer gained ever more acolytes as he went along, with everyone from Donovan and Paul Simon to Bernard Butler and Graham Coxon worshipping at Jansch's altar. By the time he made what would be his final recording, The Black Swan, in 2006, Jansch was revered as the godfather of U.K. folk and one of the greatest stylists ever to wield an acoustic guitar. After years of fighting cancer, Jansch passed away on October 5, 2011, leaving behind a music world immeasurably richer for his presence.
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