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Live In Italy

by Bert Jansch

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Daybreak 02:48
Bittern 07:14
Kingfisher 03:39
Pretty Saro 03:50
Alimony 04:47
Avocet 09:59
Angie 02:27
Encore No. 1 06:57


It is the height of punk in the UK; things will change; heroes are zeroes and veterans are vanquished… the muse wears a leather jacket and worships a safety pin. History is re-written from ground zero. It happens overnight.

Meanwhile, guitar stylist, troubadour and former Pentangle Bert Jansch is in Italy for a show at Mestre at the Teatro Corso in Venice, accompanied by Martin Jenkins, Sam Mitchell and Leo Wijnkamp, Jr. It’s recorded but, post Pistols it gathers dust in a box, in an attic, somewhere. Lost.

Some 43 years later, senses have been regained; perspective restored, reputations re-valued, the world respects musicians from Son House to Shirley Collins, Jimmy Page to The Black Keys (some punks included). And archivists are in the attic. In the box. The tape is dusted off; one hour and eleven minutes of gorgeous folk music; it’s a group setting, playing the “hits”, the standards, jamming, improvising, feeding off each other, punctuated by Jansch’s Scottish lilt. They break into a jig, leave space for Bert’s guitar to hum and vibrate, to roll and tumble, to tingle the spine. It’s been a long, strange trip.

Throughout, Jansch and his ensemble weave everything into a masterful flow; there’s ‘Blues Run The Game’, a couple of songs from the gorgeous ‘Avocet’ album he would go on to record with Danny Thompson, ‘Pretty Saro’, ‘Angie’ and there’s still room for them to make it up as they go along. That’s what they did.

‘Live In Italy’ is a joyous experience, “a great night out”, a show for just under one thousand people, a moment in time when four performers spar and sway, swagger and soar; folk music as it should be heard from an era that nearly ended it all. What were we thinking?


released August 29, 2020


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Bert Jansch London, UK

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