Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bert Jansch - Pegi Young & the Survivors -- Jammin Java - Dec 13 2010

Pegi Young & the Survivors - A really nice pairing tonight which makes sense as Bert Jansch is fresh off an arena opening stint for Pegi's husband, Neil. Pegi has been Neil's backup singer over the years and has an interesting biography (in the link above) that is worth a read as it shows her present rise into focusing on her songs and her music. This set was excellent. She plays acoustic guitar and keyboards on one track. Her band has guitar, bass, drums and the legendary Spooner Oldham on keyboards. Another guy jumps in on sax and harmonica for the last couple of songs. The set began as kind of a California country rock set which was decent, but not my strongest area of interest. What turned it around for me that (not unlike her husband) her songs began to move into a few different genres such as heavier rock, Americana and even smoky lounge jazz. I really liked the double keyboards song. But the whole set rose to nice heights with her nice direct singing and strong supporting musicians. This was a nice treat and was worth the price of admission itself.

Bert Jansch - If I am willing to fly to London to see Bert in his reunited Pentangle, then I am certainly up for a road trip to Vienna to see him tonight (although the traffic out of DC even at 3:30pm had me questioning this). It was nice to see so many people joined me as the room was full which really is not surprising due to the quality of tonight's lineup. Bert is doing his straight up solo show with just himself a mic and an acoustic guitar. He has always been one of the finest writers of all the great UK based finger style guitarists in the folk-blues circuit beginning in the early sixties. His distinctive voice and eclectic guitar style also contribute greatly to his excellent reputation. Even with his great original songs, he always plays favorite traditional tunes and other a few from other writers. He did two Jackson C. Frank songs tonight, the classic "Blues Run the Game" and the brilliant "My Name is Carnival". He asked if we knew Frank and about four of us answered yes (unlike when he asked about Pete Dockery was it? No one said a word). I saw Frank about six months before he died in 1999 and he certainly showed the decline he had in life. His one album is worth getting, so do look into that. Jansch did his usual great job with the Frank songs as well as Dominic Behan's "Old Triangle" (also done by the Pogues) and "Rosemary Lane". He did well with some of his classics like "It Don't Bother Me" and "A Woman Like You", although the latter did show the natural signs of an aging voice. An instrumental tune went over well with the crowd and was the favorite of at least one member of the audience. He still has the great touch on guitar and can really pull out fantastic notes with deceptive ease. Thankfully, he has gotten by some challenging health issues of his own and is able to put on a nice display of his talents. The crowd was very thankful of that tonight.

Quote of the Night: "Oh but that was my favorite..." from the audience after Bert called an audible after a couple of measures of his closing number by saying "Let's change this, it's my prerogative."

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