Bert Jansch died today after a battle with cancer. He was a giant of British music, not just folk music; I hope by the end of his life he appreciated the impact he had on so many, including me and, more significantly, other musical heroes of mine like Neil Young, Jonny Marr, Beth Orton and Bernard Butler.
Like many former indie kids increasingly bored with that genre’s output over the last decade, I found myself listening to more and more folk music, inter alia. (I’m also a former lawyer, so I say things like inter alia from time to time as if it’s normal). I fiddled around with Fairport Convention and so on – a culture shock initially for a Sex Pistols and Stooges fan – and eventually came to Bert Jansch and Pentangle, the band with whom he did some of his best work between 1968 and 1972. I was gripped. While hugely accomplished as a musician, he didn’t fall into the trap of putting his own abilities ahead of the music. Like Jonny Marr (see my earlier post), he served the music.
I won’t labour it, but here was a special musician.