The British blues boom was arguably one of the most important movements in musical history. Not only did it launch the careers of various guitar heroes – players much loved for decades afterwards – but the guitar driven sounds also paved the way for a whole universe of rock music. With that in mind, it’s interesting how few compilations have celebrated the British blues scene. Aside from Grapefruit Records’ excellent ‘Crawling Up A Hill’ box set, any other releases have been label specific, leaving a huge gap in the market for a set to explore some of the more niche sounds from the era.
‘Shake That Thing: The Blues In Britain 1963-1973’ is perfect in that regard. This three CD set from Grapefruit casts a much wider net than their earlier box set, but never loses site of its core objective. Bluesy sounds are out there, front and centre, at all times, but it also looks beyond the usual suspects to celebrate blues laden tunes shared by other singer songwriters, folkies and rock bands during a hugely transitional period.
For fans of folk music, the works of Bert Jansch have long held a fascination. A “musician’s musician”, his approach to the acoustic guitar provided beautiful sounds and, like fellow English folkie Nick Drake, his best works remain ones people look up to and aspire to emulate.
Jimmy Page is a huge fan and, indeed, took inspiration from several cuts from Jansch’s 1966 LP ‘Jack Orion’ when recording acoustic works between 1969 and 1970. In recent years, parts of Jansch’s catalogue of work has been reissued on CD in both individual album formats and three expansive box sets, but until now, there has never been a compilation that allows fans and new listeners the opportunity to explore his back catalogue in a well-curated set.