Posts Tagged ‘Earth Recordings’

One of Bert Jansch’s later recordings, ‘Crimson Moon’ is some of his finest work and sees the musician at the top of his game, with appearances from Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and many more. Earth Recordings revisits the album on its 20th Anniversary with its first standalone cut to vinyl.

Originally released in 2000, there is a brooding resonance in ‘Crimson Moon’ centred around his accomplished guitar style that brings his contemplative song writing to the fore. Traditional ballads have touches of jazz and blues adorned by contributions from guitarists Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and Johnny “Guitar” Hodge along with guest vocals from Bert’s wife Loren Auerbach (‘My Donald’).

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The addition of electric guitar subtly compliments Bert’s percussive fingerpicking bringing new depth to his compositions.
Title track ‘Crimson Moon’ is a take on traditional song ‘Omie Wise’ and was written about his wife Loren, ‘Caledonia’ conjures pastoral images of Scotland alongside covers of The Incredible String Band’s ‘October Song’, Guy Mitchell’s ‘Singing The Blues’ and Owen Hand’s ‘My Donald’. Otherworldly tale ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ sees a mermaid-like creature recount the death of her relatives from a poison in the sea. Passionate about nature, the song carries an underlying ecological message.

Released in his 60s, ‘Crimson Moon’ proves Bert Jansch to still be an innovator and a unique talent.

Releases October 9th, 2020

First of a diptych of albums recorded in and influenced by Bert’s time in America. As the title suggests, this album was something of a contrast to Jansch’s usual style – taking in swathes of Nashville-infused pedal steel to sparkling effect. Produced in part by the Monkees’ Mike Nesmith, whose guidance is much in evidence on this perfectly measured slice of British country-rock. Includes 4 additional non-album tracks as a download.

A slice of the 70s is found in this video done while recording L.A. Turnaround in 1974. Produced by Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, it also features pedal steel guitar player Red Rhodes. Filmed in a house and garden in Sussex, the relaxed nature includes long-haired flower children, discussions of Nixon and Watergate and even a meditator on the lawn. Songs include “Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning”, “Travelin’ Man” and “One for Jo”.

Limited edition blue vinyl. 1000 copies worldwide.

Bert Jansch

A Man I’d Rather Be (Part I) is the latest Bert Jansch boxset release from Earth Recordings (26th January). Having purchased two myself (On the Edge of a Dream and Living in the Shadows) I can testify that they’re really something special, even if you own an old vinyl copy somewhere. For the latest they focus on Bert’s seminal 1960s output (alongside his only album as a duet with Pentangle bandmate John Renbourn) this four-disc set covers an era that forged creative paths for everyone from Neil Young to Johnny Marr. New listening notes from Bill Leader, as well as unseen photographs from Brian Shuel complete this special collection. It’s available in CD and LP format and covers the albums Bert Jansch, It Don’t Bother Me, Jack Orion and Bert and John.

“I particularly like his second record. The album before it [1965’s Bert Jansch] is more revered and held up by most journalists as being the seminal one, but I think the songs are better on It Don’t Bother Me, particularly the title track. The fact that they were both recorded in a kitchen at his mate’s house is another reason why it has never dated.” – Johnny Marr

Where to start with a career as prolific as that of Bert Jansch? Why, the beginning of course. Bert’s first studio (though as Bill Leader rightly points out, that’s a bit of a stretch) albums capture a man whose star is truly on the rise. It also marks his most prolific period – these four LPs were written, recorded and issued in just two years; a testament to not only Bert’s abundant musicality but to a time for music that was changing – excitedly – from minute to minute. From Bert’s masterclass in elegant, melodic, one-man-and-his-guitar fingerpicking on his self-titled LP, to the beginnings of something altogether more exotic on ‘Bert and John’, these records are nothing if not a remarkable insight into the changing face of folk music at the time.

For those unfamiliar with Jansch’s oeuvre, this is a real treat; you won’t find a more comprehensively produced collection. ‘A Man I’d Rather Be’ includes all the original liner notes (from both Keith De Groot and Bert himself) as well as new ruminations from Bill Leader (who recorded much of Jansch’s nascent work) as well as never-before seen photographs by the illustrious Brian Shuel. For those in the know, this is a chance to revisit these extraordinary albums, revel in new insights and add some – perhaps more listenable LPs – to sit alongside their love-worn originals.

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“Simply, I think Bert was a truly unique musician. Somehow he could elegantly bridge differing musical and singing traditions to sing and play in a way that sounded only like Bert Jansch.” –Anne Briggs

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July 2015 saw Shirley Collins celebrate her 80th year – an age that would seem frankly ridiculous for a woman as spritely as her, had it not been for all she’s achieved. From her seminal field-recording trip to America with Alan Lomax to her lauded musical career, to her role as historian and protector of the folk tradition – all of these things are testament to the breadth of her influence.

And so we arrive at ‘Shirley Inspired’. It would be almost lazy to the talk about the resurgence of folk music or the ‘new folk’ sound – the recordings issued here by Earth Recordings are so much more than that. This is the very essence of folk – songs handed down from person to person, interpreted by modern musicians – as a way of keeping these songs alive.

Make no mistake these are modern versions; we’ve the soulful dirge of Bitchin Bonnie Billy Bajas’ ‘Pretty Saro’; the rabble- rousing minimalism of Stewart Lee (yes him) and Stuart Estell’s ‘Polly On The Shore’; the prism-like vocals of Ela Stiles’ ‘Murder of Maria Marten even Graham Coxon’s traditional affair evokes something altogether more rebellious, his clawing, feral style is much in evidence here. This compilation was an inheritance of sorts: borne to us from the kickstarter appeal that funded ‘The Ballad of Shirley Collins’ – a film that is currently being made about the First Lady of Folk Music’s life. We here at Earth now have the privilege of giving these songs a tangible existence in the shape of this special recording.

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The woman herself had this to say: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the singers and musicians who responded to the invitation to be part of the Shirley Inspired collection. Their choice of songs is fascinating, the interpretations of them fresh and various, beautiful and sometimes challenging! Listening to these recreations shows me again that English folk music has timeless power and significance.”

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Proceeds of this album go directly towards the production of ‘The Ballad of Shirley Collins’, a film by Fifth Column. Tracks kindly donated by the musicians involved.

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