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Fricke’s Picks: Three by Bert Jansch

Of British folk singer-guitarist Bert Jansch’s three mid-Seventies albums, reissued by Drag City, 1975’s Santa Barbara Honeymoon was fine writing overdressed in L.A.-pop rhinestones, and 1977’s A Rare Conundrum featured Jansch’s burred voice and fluid picking with a backing that recalled the concentrated intricacies of his earlier band Pentangle. L.A. Turnaround, from 1974, is the best of this trio: a deft stirring of the English folk revival (Jansch revisits his dark Sixties diamond “Needle of Death”) and true-grit country rock, produced with spare empathy by Mike Nesmith. The album was not the commercial breakthrough Jansch hoped for, but its earthy beauty remains intact.

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