You got to take the opportunities when they are available, otherwise, you’ll regret it. It’s a simple concept I sometimes forget. Couple of years ago I decided to purchase all of Bert Jansch’s records on vinyls. I managed to get my hands on some of them but there were always those 3-4 records that I was lazy enough to pay the 3-4Usd in eBay. One of them was his beautiful 1982 Heartbreak album, and I guess the prices now will increase, with a new reissue out couple of days ago.
Heartbreak was released in a Jansch’s black/lost/forgotten decade (He later ‘returned’ with his magnificent 1995 When The Circus Comes To Town). The eighties were not a good decade for him, he drank more then he should have and faced health problems. Musically, the 60-70’s folk was brutally killed by the punk wave, and then came synthesizers and pushed the acoustic guitar aside. Just couple of years earlier, Jansch was in his prime. The series of albums he released – LA Turnaround (1974)-Santa Barbara Honeymoon-Rare Conundrum-Avocet (1979) were all amazing albums, but the 80’s meant bad news for Bert who had to reinvent himself in order to stay relevant.
But meanwhile he did what he does best – produced wonderful albums. Heartbreak marked Jansch’s return to the singer/songwriter frame of work, after his jazz experiments in Avocet and his collaborations with Martin Jenkins. He plays wonderfully in the album, the arrangements of guitars, bass and drums are modest and far less produced then his mid 70’s albums. It’s kinda return to his Birthday Blues vibe, 11 years later, maturer and a far better singer. This album contains a surprisingly rockin’ version of Heartbreak Hotel (with wonderful guitars by Albert Lee who plays in other pieces in the album), a beautiful quite version of Tim Hardin’s If I Were a Carpenter. It also features a beautiful version he sings in duet with Jennifer Warnes, of the traditional Wild Mountain Tyme.
This is actually one of his best album in my humble opinion though most people never heard it (hence the price on the vinyl version was $3-$5).
The Omnivore label had released it couple of days ago in a fabulous reissue on both clear vinyl and a double cd that contains a rare live set Bert gave in the McCabe guitar shop in 1981. Please note that another live at McCabe bootleg is available from 1979, via the excellent Delta Slider blog . It’s a shame the reissue has messed the original order of the songs in the record, but it’s a Shuffle generation I’m living it, so I guess it doesn’t matter.