Herbert "Bert" Jansch (3 November 1943—5 October 2011) was a Scottish singer-songwriter regarded as one of Britain's great folk guitarists. He was born in Glasgow, but his parents were German. After his father left the family they moved to Edinburgh. Jansch made his own guitar by the age of 12. After leaving school he began playing guitar, mainly blues, at various music clubs in Scotland and England.
His first album, Bert Jansch, was made in 1965 and quickly became successful. The song "Needle of Death" about drug addiction, created a lot of interest as this was a subject that was not talked about very much at that time. His second album, It Don't Bother Me, featured his friend John Renbourn, another great guitar player. The two players became very popular as a duo, and made the very successful album, Jack Orion, in 1966. This album had some traditional folk songs, including a version of "Blackwaterside", played in a jazz style. The rock band Led Zepplin later recorded his arrangement of the song.
Jansch and Renbourn made another duo recording in 1966 called Bert and John. They started playing with other musicians they met in London, and finally formed a band, Pentangle, with bass player Danny Thompson, drummer Terry Cox, and vocalist Jacqui McShee. Pentangle was instantly successful. Jansch did not enjoy fame, and left the band in 1973. He continued to play and make albums.
Jansch often played on other people's recordings, including the Babyshambles album Shotter's Nation (2007). In 2010, despite being ill with lung cancer, he went on tour in the USA with American musician, Neil Young.
Jansch has made many albums including:
- Bert Jansch (1965)
- It Don't Bother Me (1965)
- Jack Orion (1966) with John Renbourn
- Bert and John (1966) with John Renbourn
- Nicola (1967)
- The Pentangle (1968) with Pentangle
- Sweet Child (1968) with Pentangle
- Birthday Blues (1969)
- Basket of Light (1969) with Pentangle
- Cruel Sister (1970) with Pentangle
- Reflection (1971) with Pentangle
- Rosemary Lane (1971)
- Solomon's Seal (1972) with Pentangle
- Moonshine (1973)
- LA Turnaround (1974)
- Santa Barbara Honeymoon (1975)
- A Rare Conundrum (1977)
- Avocet (1979)
- Thirteen Down (1980)
- Heartbreak (1982)
- From The Outside (1985)
- Leather Launderette (1989)
- Sketches (1990)
- The Ornament Tree (1990)
- Live At The 12 Bar (1996)
- When the Circus Comes to Town (1995)
- Toy Ballon (1998)
- Crimson Moon (2000)
- Downunder: Live In Australia (2001)
- Dazzling Stranger: The Bert Jansch Anthology (2000)
- Edge Of A Dream (2002)
- The Black Swan (2006)
- "Bert Jansch". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). 5 October 2011. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/music-obituaries/8809432/Bert-Jansch.html. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Bert Jansch". bertjansch.com. 2008. http://www.bertjansch.com/. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
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