Friday, 15 October 2010

BERT JANSCH - "L. A. Turnaround" and "Moonshine" (1974 and 1972)

The song you hear as you open my main blog "Countess Vanessa's Castle, is "Fresh as a sweet Sunday morning", by Bert Jansch, from this fabulous album:

It's the album where BJ somehow "betrayed" all us fans of him, he merged his splendid and personal  exquisite folk vein with some elements of country... the result was anyway superlative.
What a shame that so many CD reissues don't reproduce more than the 30% of the original covers and inserts and inner artworks...
Above: the insert sheet with lyrics, and the label
Also strongly recommended:
"MOONSHINE" (Reprise, 1972)
"Moonshine" is a real milestone, not only in the discography of BJ, but also for the general development of British Folk Music.  For some people this is even the highest point of his artistical production.  Speaking for myself, I never could get decided, I always loved "LA turnaround" too much, but also, how can you leave out things like "Birthday blues" and "Rosemary lane", and "It don't bother me"...??   As you know, some LPs of BJ were issued in the USA on various labels with different covers and/or titles  (IE: "Strolling down the highway", "Jack Orion" on Vanguard, etc etc), but for this album it's something you wouldn't expect: the USA edition sleeve was gatefold while the UK wasn't, as you can see in the following pictures, and included a short Curriculum Vitae of BJ (not present inside the UK edition) probably meant as a further divulgative push to conquer the American public... The LP was produced by Danny Thompson
above: the UK edition with label, not gatefold cover.
Above: the back cover of the UK edition

above: the UK edition includes a gatefold insert with the lyrics.

above: the spread outer gatefold sleeve of the USA edition, where front and back coincide with the UK issue.

above: the USA edition's innere sleeve, where the lyrics are reproduced.
above: the two album covers and the biography sheet, in an unusual A4 format, included only in the USA edition.

As usual, I won't post these album, as I'm sure you can find them all on some other blogs.

BELOW: The six Bert Jansch albums favourite of mine [fronts and backs]


Saturday, 9 October 2010

JOHN LENNON - Self Portrait

John turns 70 today. Difficult to find words for or about him that yet haven't be said or written, so I'll let his pinsel expresss something visual for himself in my place.

This is the particular of a self portrait that he made in 1971.

I always wondered - "What among his records would he choose to represent himself, if he was here now to decide?" -  And I often thought that the early years with Yoko must have been the most happy and creative for him, if her closeness allowed him to conceive masterpieces like "JL & Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine". And the three "impossible " records full of alternative sonor material which he published in 1968 and 1969, give a precise characterization of his mood and inspiration, something complementary that can't be separated from his exquisitely musical albums, they should be considered part of the same artistic "construction". Therefore, in a way, I consider them representative of those years, important in the same measure of "Imagine".
For these reasons, I also feel like saying a big 'Thankyou' to Yoko, a Lady I always admired.

Above: the famous CAKE present in the box of "Wedding album": it was just a photograph, but the album wasn't too easy to find - not even in those early 70s - and I remember of certain people who just read a description on some magazines, but never saw a copy of it, nor ever heard it from other owners, who were asking me: - "But rrrreally there was a REAL piece of REAL cake inside the box?!?!?!".....

above and below: the giant poster, front and back
below: one of the many pages of a booklet named "The Press"

Impossible to take pictures of all the gadgets and books present inside "Wedding album" ;-) ...

Above: the big poster included in "Imagine".
Below: the postcard inside "Imagine", meant as an unspoken but direct attack to Paul McCartney (specifically: a parody of his cover of the album "Ram", released five months earlier), as if the text of "How do you sleep?" wasn't enough.