Instead of Brit acolytes like Bernard Butler and Johnny Marr, for this latest album Bert Jansch collaborates with American nu-folk stars such as Devendra Banhart and Otto Hauser, the brilliant drummer of Espers and Vetiver. The injection of new talent works wonders, bringing a new freshness to the band tracks which prompts Jansch to be on his mettle on solo numbers like "Hey Pretty Girl"; and especially on "The Old Triangle", a version of the traditional "Banks Of The Royal Canal" that's as stately as a Royal Barge. Hauser is a towering presence on the band tracks, laying delicate, detailed rhythms behind Jansch's guitar and the lead lines of Kevin Barker, Paul Wassif and David Roback. Jansch's songwriting is at its best and its worst here, with "Texas Cowboy Blues" displaying too facile a contempt for Bush's oil baron chums; but the solicitous mea culpa of "High Days" is much more considered, as a Tim Hardin song triggers memories of happier times: "You played your guitar, but you never finished the song/It didn't matter then, and I guess it doesn't matter now".
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