Bert Jansch – Blackwaterside

Various Artists - The Story of British Folk: ...

Various Artists – The Story of British Folk: …

This week, on the 5th October to be precise, both Bert Jansch and Steve Jobs died. Understandably, the media was full articles assessing the impact of Steve Jobs but, surprisingly to me, there was also an enormous number telling the story of Bert Jansch and the influence he had on the music and the lives of his listeners from the early sixties onwards.

I never saw Bert Jansch play a solo gig, I only saw him in the setting of Pentangle, but I loved his music – especially his guitar playing. There are so many stories of how Bert Jansch’s guitar playing inspired people to learn to play the instrument and I experienced this at first hand. On leaving school, I worked for a year before going on to college and shared a flat with three young teachers. I can remember to this day coming back to the flat at various times and finding one or other of my flatmates trying to master Anjie, picking it up from a Bert Jansch LP. An Anjie playing contest was mooted for the end of the year we spent together in the flat but I don’t believe this happened in the end.

The track posted to celebrate the life and music of Bert Jansch is, along with Anjie, probably his most famous solo recording, Blackwaterside. It was originally on his album Jack Orion but I have it on the compilation album Various Artists – The Story of British Folk: From Fairport Convention to Johnny Flynn.

Bert Jansch – Blackwaterside

One thought on “Bert Jansch – Blackwaterside

  1. Dill

    Good on ya, mate, for playing this. There have been some good tributes, as you say, to Bert during the week – my favourite was on R6 at

    – the night of the news, four days left to listen.

    I saw him mainly with Pentangle, too – did we ever see them together? – but he came to my local college in 2003 or 2004, which was about 300 yards from our house. Solo gig, on a night the Fairports also played the town, so about 100/150 of us had him all to ourselves. He played for two+ hours, barely said a word, though what he did say was fascinating, and I remember it like it was last night. He played ‘October Song’, brilliantly, and several songs by Jackson Frank (‘The Blues Run the Game’, especially), and several anti-war songs (invasion of Iraq, etc). ‘Blackwaterside’, of course.

    Coincidentally, I’ve been reading about all that back then – Bert, Anne Briggs, John Renbourn, and some of the others who were ‘more influential than famous’ (as they say) among the musicians I listened to. No books, just online – Renbourn’s piece at

    being especially interesting.

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