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The Black Swan, Bert Jansch, 2006
The Black Swan is folk guitarist Bert Jansch's 23rd album. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of Jansch and folk music as a genre should look no further than this spectacular return to form from the former Pentangle founder. Jansch is a Scottish folk guitarist and is seen as one of this country's pioneers of the instrument. He has recorded 25 albums and has heavily influenced the guitar style of artists such as Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Graham Coxon, Donovan and Neil Young. It's a shame then that he is still a lot more obscure than those afore mentioned musicians.
Black Swan sees Jansch seamlessly blend folk, jazz and Eastern influences into a cohesive whole. It's an album that sees him return to form after a few years out of the spotlight. Joining Jansch on Black Swan is celebrated indie rocker and would be folk temptress Beth Orton.
Black Swan is an amazing piece of work. Its so refreshing to hear an album that is full of the most organic music from the master guitarist Jansch. Its not in the least bit mainstream and neither would it want to be really.
Jansch's voice takes a little getting used to as he has quite a broad Scottish accent. However, once you are over that then its pretty much plain sailing. Even the addition of Beth Orton is welcome. Her voice and the guitar of Jansch are a perfect combination and this is seen most notably on 'When the Sun Comes Up'.
My favourite track on the album was the haunting 'The Black Swan' as well as the bluesy 'My Pocket's Empty'.
I really like the minimalist album cover that accompanies the music. I ties in nicely with the whole album's ambience. Its a laid back piece of work that glides easily over the old ears and produces a real warm sensation.
Those of you who are looking for a great rock and roll record with drive and gritty determination won't find it here. Instead, you'll get a smooth and relaxing folk album with great emotion and atmosphere.
1. "The Black Swan" - 6:25
2. "High Days" - 3:47
3. "When the Sun Comes Up" - features Beth Orton - 3:54
4. "Katie Cruel" (traditional, Jansch) - featuresBeth Orton and Devendra Banhart - 2:59
5. "My Pocket's Empty" (traditional, Jansch) - 3:49
6. "Watch the Stars" (traditional, Jansch) - features Beth Orton and Kevin Barker - 2:54
7. "A Woman Like You" - 4:13
8. "The Old Triangle" (Brendan Behan) - 4:06
9. "Bring Your Religion" - 3:05
10. "Texas Cowboy Blues" - 3:07
11. "Magdalina's Dance" (Jansch, Paul Wassif) - 3:19
12. "Hey Pretty Girl" - 3:03
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Black Swan
2 High Days
3 When The Sun Comes Up - Bert Jansch, Beth Orton
4 Katie Cruel - Bert Jansch, Beth Orton
5 My Pockets Empty
6 Watch The Stars - Bert Jansch, Beth Orton
7 A Woman Like You
8 The Old Triangle
9 Bring Your Religion
10 Texas Cowboy Blues
11 Magdalina's Dance
12 Hey Pretty Girl