Scottish singer-guitarist Bert Jansch dies at 67

by Randy Lewis

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

6 October 2011

 

LOS ANGELES — Influential Scottish guitarist, singer and songwriter Bert Jansch, who has been lauded as a Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar, died of lung cancer Wednesday at a London hospital. He was 67.

Jansch was a member of the folk group Pentangle, which in the 1960s, along with the likes of Fairport Convention, helped revive public interest in traditional British folk music the way many British rockers had done for American blues.

His guitar work had a strong impact on a broad swath of musicians, from Jimmy Page, Paul Simon, Pete Townshend, Donovan and the Smiths’ Johnny Marr on through successive generations of players such as Devendra Banhart, Pete Doherty and Beth Orton.

He had toured the States in recent years with Neil Young and in tandem with solo performances by Young’s wife, Pegi.

“That first record of his is epic,” Neil Young said in 1992 of Jansch’s 1965 debut album, “Bert Jansch.” “I was especially taken by ‘Needle of Death,’ such a beautiful and angry song.”

Fellow British guitarist-songwriter Richard Thompson said of his peer, “He could take the blues and jazz and traditional British folk music and blend those together into a style. I think that was the main influence of his playing. He was also a great songwriter.”


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