Tag Archives: Bert Jansch

Moonflow/Needle of Death [demo]

On a flight back from Sydney recently, I found Bert Jansch’s first album – which I once knew very well but have never owned – on the music channel. I always rated his guitar playing, of course,and on listening to the album on the plane, was struck by how good some of the songs were. I may come back to this with a different arrangement, though.

The instrumental Moonflow is mine. And the snippet I played out on is taken from Running From Home, from the same album. I may get around to learning the words at some point.

David Harley


Crawdad is a first-take improvisation based (if I remember correctly!) on the first theme from Jimmy Guiffre’s ‘Crawdad Suite’, with a second guitar overdubbed (also the first take). There are some decidedly rough spots – rather like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn on an off-day – but I kind of like it as a preliminary sketch for something I may come back to in a while.

Actually, the Jansch/Renbourn reference is pretty apposite. Not only because I used some very Renbourn phrasing here and there on the overdub, but because Bert’s ‘Smokey River’ on his first album is similarly based on Guiffre’s ‘The Train and the River’. Not that I knew Bert well – I only met him once to talk to, in the 1980s – but we evidently shared a liking for Jim Hall’s guitar-playing as showcased on a couple of recordings with Guiffre’s groups.

‘Crawdad Suite’ was featured on a late 1950s Atlantic album called Jimmy Guiffre 3, with Guiffre (clarinet, baritone and tenor sax), Jim Hall (guitar)and Ralph Pena (bass).

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow