Bert Jansch & Friends

Acoustic Routes

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The so-called folk revival (or folk scare, as some have called it) of the 1960s manifested itself a little differently in the U.K. than it did in the U.S. Drawing more on the blues and modal elements of traditional music, British folk guitarists tossed in a healthy dose of jazz sensibility, as well, and in essence developed what amounted to a British school of acoustic guitar playing. Players like Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Davy Graham, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, and Duck Baker all exhibit a similar approach and style, full of snapped strings, intricate picking, and jazzy fills, patterns that can also be heard in the playing of Paul Simon, Donovan, and even Jimmy Page. Of these guitarists, none has had a greater impact or influence than Jansch, whose playing has maintained an impressively high level throughout his long career, and coupled with his laconic Scottish drawl and sturdy songwriting talents, Jansch has managed to survive artistically in his own comfortable niche far from the centers of the pop music industry. Acoustic Routes is the soundtrack to a BBC Scotland documentary that uses Jansch as the centerpiece in telling the story of the British folk scene, and the selections here (14 of the 20 are by Jansch) are all live performances done specifically for the project. Jansch sounds a bit tired and weary on what must be the umpteenth versions he's recorded of "Running From Home" and "Needle of Death," but two duets here (one with Brownie McGhee on the heartbreaking "Don't Pity Me" and the other with Billy Connolly on the disc closer, a banjo and guitar version of Dock Boggs' "Country Blues") more than make up for that. Graham's raga-tinged "Sitar Ram" is another highlight, while Jones turns in a haunting rendition of "The First Girl I Loved." Truthfully, everyone here played a little faster, better, and more spirited 30 years ago, but this is still an interesting document of an amazing confederation of musicians.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Bert Jansch
2:33
2
feat: Bert Jansch
1:58
3 3:20
4
feat: Bert Jansch
3:05
5 3:25
6
feat: Davy Graham
2:37
7
feat: Davy Graham
2:43
8
feat: Wizz Jones
4:43
9
feat: Wizz Jones
3:22
10 3:51
11
feat: Duck Baker
5:47
12 2:55
13 3:23
14
feat: Ralph McTell
2:48
15
feat: Bert Jansch
2:56
16 1:42
17 3:05
18 3:39
19 3:04
20 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick