Bert Jansch – Avocet
First issued over 25 years ago, and now remastered from original tapes, Avocet is a concept piece that is often cited by fans as a favourite.
Avocet begins with 18-minute-long title track, inspired by traditional song ‘The Cuckoo’. The five following compositions, also named after birds, are rich instrumental tapestries rooted in traditional folk and folk rock.
Recorded in February 1978 at Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark, it was released the following year via Charisma and features ex-Pentangle bandmate Danny Thompson alongside the late Martin Jenkins. Whether it’s the blues and rock tones on ‘Bittern’ which speaks of Arthur Russell’s more experimental pieces or the dirge-like waltz of ‘Lapwing’ that wouldn’t be out of place on a Nils Frahm album, Avocet sees Bert writing with a sense of freedom, moving between guitar and piano, and feels particularly personal.
The subject of birds is one that Bert held close to his heart. Prior to this album was a split 7” single with Shirley Collins ‘Black Birds Of Brittany’, proceeds of which went to the RSPB. The sleeve notes come from Jansch aficionado Colin Harper the author of ‘Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues revival’.