Nicola/Birthday Blues

Bert Jansch

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Nicola/Birthday Blues Review

by Richie Unterberger

Jansch's third solo album is perhaps too lightly dismissed by both folk critics and the artist himself. Bowing slightly to commercial pressures, he allowed orchestration to be used on five of the twelve tracks. Actually, the orchestrated cuts aren't that bad at all, and the remainder are pretty much in keeping with the character and high standard of his other '60s work. On this reissue, its combined with Birthday Blues, which sounds like a modified version of The Pentangle. Jansch was a member of the great British folk-rock group at the time of this album's release, which was produced by Shel Talmy (who also worked with The Pentangle). And he's backed by the Pentangle's sterling rhythm section of Danny Thompson (bass) and Terry Cox (drums), with occasional touches of harmonica (played by British blues singer Duffy Power), alto sax, and flute. It's a pleasant effort, but not his best work, either as a solo performer or within a group context.