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Review: 'JANSCH, BERT'
'Downunder: Live In Australia'   

-  Label: 'Earth Recordings'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '24th February 2017'

Our Rating:
To my mind live albums are only essential if they add something significant to the studio recordings or include material not previously available.

Under these parameters, the only reason to buy this record is to hear premiers of two tunes Downunder (an instrumental) and My Donald, the story of a whale hunter ("Oh my Donald he works on the sea where the waves they blow wild and free").

The main body of the set is pleasant but superfluous to all but diehard fans.

The album was recorded live at the Continental Cafe, Melbourne in March 1988 and consists of efficient renditions of tunes like She Moved Through The Fair and Strolling Down The Highway with discreet backing from Pete Howell on bass and Ian Clarke on percussion. It is a tribute to Jansch's professionalism that none of these sound radically different from the recorded versions.

It is released on vinyl although if you purchase the CD you'll get three extra tracks Blues Run The Game, Come Back Baby and The Lily Of The West. None of these are great losses if you prefer the non digital format.

Jansch was a modest man who never played to the gallery so it's no surprise that there is no grandstanding in this collection. The most obvious crowd pleaser is the inclusion of his much loved instrumental, Angi.

The overriding impression that he held his virtuoso finger picking skills in reserve and made no great effort to win over new admirers. This album is therefore destined be appreciated by those already converted to the Janschian cause.

Bert Jansch's official website
  author: Martin Raybould

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JANSCH, BERT - Downunder: Live In Australia
JANSCH, BERT - Downunder: Live In Australia