British Folk’s Own Hendrix Enjoys New Friends, Old Excellence


From this side of the Atlantic, Bert Jansch’s latest appears to be a comeback, but the Brit folk master has steadfastly released records of fine mettle all the while. The Black Swan is much like his 1965 self-titled debut (recorded at his kitchen table) or his subsequent four-decade/ two-generation legacy, in that it too was recorded at home with friends, and with results as profound as anything in his oeuvre. The difference is the star power of those youngsters surrounding: Devendra, Beth Orton, Otto Hauser, Mazzy Star’s Dave Roback, and Bert’s own son Adam all pitch in to pay their respects. The man Neil Young called the “Hendrix of the acoustic,” that Dylan and Page borrowed from, has scarcely lost a move: “Hey Pretty Girl” and “High Days” are cagey and deft. And when he glides with the cello on “The Black Swan,” he gracefully evokes keened lines about being “caught between time and space.”