Robert Plant and Neil Young pay tribute to Bert Jansch
Robert Plant and Neil Young were among those who paid tribute to late folk-rock pioneer Bert Jansch at a memorial concert on Tuesday, marking what would have been his 70th birthday.
The Pentangle co-founder died in 2011 after a battle with lung cancer, leaving a musical legacy which inspired a wide range of musicians including Eric Clapton, Donovan, Elton John and Nick Drake.
Guest performers at London’s Royal Festival Hall included Led Zeppelin frontman Plant, Ralph McTell, Donovan, and Pentangle bandmates Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Danny Thompson.
Young recorded an exclusive video performance of Jansch’s Needle Of Death, which inspired his own classic track The Needle And The Damage Done. Plant sang Go Your Way My Love, later saying: “We all came to a similar place but we concentrated on different levels. Bert was a digger for us all.”
Long-time friend McTell, who performed Angie, said: “Americans had Dylan. We had Bert, who found the hidden music of these islands. He was sexy – he was cool. Women found him alluring and men admired him for that. I treasure the friendship I had with him for 40 years.”
Pentangle performed Poison and Donovan sang Oh Deed I Do, while Thompson delivered a cover of Charlie Mingus’s Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, a song he said Jansch loved.
The finale was a performance of Strolling Down The Highway featuring most of the night’s performers, which included Bernard Butler, Mara Carlyle, Martin Carthy, Gordon Giltrap, Wizz Jones, Lisa Knapp, Beverley Martyn, Martin Simpson and Paul Wassif.
Jansch’s first wife Heather has this week published two books about the musician, with £1 from each sale going to McMillan Cancer Support. Find out more.
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