Expanded 40th anniversary edition, featuring newly discovered live tracks (download card) and notes from Pentangle bandmate (and Avocet collaborator) Danny Thompson.
Bert Jansch was often quoted as saying "I'm not playing for anyone, just myself" and this feels no more apparent than on 1979's Avocet, his beautifully meditative paean to British birds. This isn't to say that Jansch was throwing commercial success to the wind, or was unaware of his audience, more that this album feels like a uniquely personal reflection of him. (The subject of British birds is one that Jansch held close to his heart. Indeed, just preceding this album was his 1978 split 7" single with Shirley Collins -with proceeds in aid of the RSPB.)
For fans of Jansch this is often the album that is singled out as his best work. The freedoms of a post-Pentangle career are much in evidence; folk rock and even trad folk give way to an album that is not only without lyrical accompaniment but really quite orchestral, classical even, in its composition. There are surprises in particular in "Lapwing" (a dirge-like waltz that wouldn't be out of place on a Nils Frahm album) and "Bittern" (which speaks of Arthur Russell's more experimental pieces).
Featuring ex-bandmate Danny Thompson, alongside Martin Jenkins (Dando Shaft, amongst others) with sleeve notes by Jansch aficionado Colin Harper (author of Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival). This new edition also comprises three never-before heard tracks, recorded live in Italy in in 1977 ("Bittern"; "Kingfisher"; "Avocet"), as well as Danny Thompson's recollections of the making of Avocet, recorded by Dave Thompson (Mojo Magazine) in typical style. Remastered by Brian Pyle from original tapes.
Jansch's signature amalgam of traditional English folk and American blues and jazz has never sounded more fluid. As the all-instrumental set's long-legged wetlands bird-inspired title would suggest, Avocet's avian theme looms large over the proceedings. The nearly 20-minute title opener/title track, which uses the oft-covered English folk song 'The Cuckoo' as its base of operations, serves as the centerpiece, and what an impressive piece it is; skillfully weaving in and out of folk and jazz motifs like waterstriders on a placid country pond, with occasional bursts of free-form riffing that erupt like the violent leap of a hungry fish. Like his wizardly six-string contemporary John Renbourn, Jansch was a mercurial figure who was often at odds with both himself and the world around him. However, Avocet presents an entirely different picture. It's knotty, beguiling, playful, and occasionally brazen, but ultimately light as a feather.
- 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
- Limited Edition White Vinyl - 500 Copies Worldwide
- Newly expanded audio
- Remastered by Bryan Pyle from original tapes
- New liner notes from Pentangle bandmate and collaborator Danny Thompson
- Limited time download card with 3 Bonus Tracks recorded live in Italy, 1977: "Bittern", "Kingfisher" & "Avocet"