Considering the level of reverence Bert Jansch elicits from Boomer Rock icons like Neil Young (currently touring with Jansch as his opening act) and Jimmy Page, it’s surprising to learn that the 67-year-old Scottish guitarist/singer/songwriter is their contemporary rather than their elder. But by 1965, when Young, Page (and Donovan, another Jansch acolyte) were still searching for their musical direction, Jansch had already made one of his greatest albums, as important as any to ever come out of the British Folk revival.
The debut also revealed Jansch’s strengths as a songwriter and singer with a melancholy yet calming sensibility. “Needle of Death,” a song about heroin that influenced Young, and the classic protest song “Do You Hear Me Now” both were on it, along with a cover of a Charles Mingus composition. Because of his strong interest in so many kinds of music, Jansch was a restless spirit among the British Folk set, too contemporary to solely be a traditionalist.
Bert Jansch plays the Aronoff Center Tuesday with Neil Young. Go here fore Steve Rosen's full Sound Advice.