COMING ATTRACTION: Q&A With Bert Jansch

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“As much of a great guitar player as Jimi [Hendrix] was, Bert Jansch is the same thing for acoustic guitar…and my favourite”  –  Neil Young

Legendary folk guitarist Bert Jansch opens for Neil Young at the Tower on Saturday and Sunday. We recently got him on the horn to discuss Nick Drake, skiffle, The Libertines, Pentangle, Anne Briggs, Devendra Banhart, heroin, Lead Belly and getting ripped off by Led Zeppelin. Look for it tomorrow on a Phawker near you.

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RELATED: Huddie Ledbetter was the world’s greatest cotton picker, railroad track liner, lover, and drinker as well as guitar player. This assertion came from no less an authority on the matter than Huddie himself. Since not everyone agreed with his opinion Huddie frequently found himself obliged to convince them. His convincing frequently landed him in jail. In 1916 Huddie was in jail in Texas on assault charges when he escaped. He spent the next two years under the alias of Walter Boyd. But then after he killed a man in a fight he was convicted of murder and sentenced to thirty years of hard labor at Huntsville, Texas’ Shaw State Prison Farm. After seven years he was released after begging pardon from the governor with a song […] Pat Neff was convinced by the song and by Huddie’s assurances that he’d seen the error of his ways. Huddie left Huntsville a free man. But in 1930 he was arrested, tried, and convicted of attempted homicide. It was in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in July 1933 that Huddie met folklorist John Lomax and his son Alan who were touring the south for the Library of Congress collecting unwritten ballads and folk songs using newly available recording technology. The Lomaxes had discovered that Southern prisons were among the best places to collect work songs, ballads, and spirituals but Leadbelly, as he now called himself, was a particular find. MORE

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