LEGENDARY SCOTTISH folksinger and fingerstylist Bert Jansch recorded three LPs for Tony Stratton Smith’s The Famous Charisma Label during the 1970s that have long been out of print and never previously released on CD.The albums were remastered under Jansch’s personal supervision, and he selected the bonus material for each title, which in the case of L.A. Turnaround includes four newly discovered audio tracks and a 13-minute film shot at Smith’s mansion featuring footage of the guitarist recording four songs with pedalsteel virtuoso Red Rhodes and rhythm guitarist/producer Michael Nesmith. Additional heavyweight players include bassist Klaus Voorman, fiddler and mandolinist Byron Berline, and slide guitarist Jesse Ed Davis.
Released in 1974, this album was intended as a break from Jansch’s earlier recordings— including his work alongside John Renbourn in the folk-fusion group Pentangle—and it definitely has a more “California” sound. The music features lots of gorgeous interplay between guitar and pedalsteel, such as on the opener “Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning,” as well as stunning solo guitar playing (“Chambertin” and “Lady Nothing”) that clearly illustrates why Jansch was such a huge influence on Jimmy Page, Johnny Marr, Pierre Bensusan, and countless other guitarists. But even more important than the magnificent musicianship, the songs are some of Jansch’s best ever, making this an excellent choice for longtime fans and the uninitiated alike. While the other two Charisma titles, Santa Barbara Honeymoon (1975) and A Rare Conundrum (1977), are also quite good, L.A. Turnaround stands apart as a genuine masterpiece. EMI/Virgin.