- First of a diptych of albums recorded in and influenced by Bert''s time in America, and the first of three for American label, Charisma. Tony Stratton Smith himself brought Bert to the label, claiming proudly that ''if ever a man is due his place among the ''superstars'', it''s Bert Jansch.''
Of the era, Bert mused: ''I don''t think the rest of the label understood me, I was a complete mystery to them but Tony really got behind me. He was certainly a character. If you had lunch with Tony, you certainly knew you''d had lunch...usually till long into the afternoon.'' As the title suggests, this album was something of a contrast to Jansch''s usual style - taking in swathes of Nashville-infused pedal steel - courtesy of the legendary Red Rhodes - to sparkling effect. Bert himself seemed surprised by just how well the record turned out, influenced by the assembled company''s alternative approach to recording: ''Red Rhodes was delightful, both he and Mike [Nesmith] who played rhythm guitar were extraordinary musicians. I had the songs when we came to record but Mike and Red didn''t know them. There were no demos or anything. We''d run through them and I''d teach them the songs but Red especially was used to jamming, playing to the song.'' The group even returned to ''Needle Of Death'' from Bert''s eponymous 1965 debut. ''That was done at the request of Tony though I never did like the original version. I find the tune too sweet and sickly but Tony asked if I would do it and, since he was the head of the company, I thought I''d better. It''s one of my songs that has simply stuck with people down the years but this version with Red is a little different, more earthy.''
Often cited by fans as some of Bert''s best work, this 1974 album was produced in part by the Monkees'' Mike Nesmith, whose guidance is much in evidence on this perfectly measured slice of British country-rock. Also Includes 4 additional non-album tracks.
- 01: Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning, 02: Chambertin, 03: One For Jo, 04: Travelling Man, 05: Open Up The Watergate (Let The Sunshine In), 06: Stone Monkey, 07: Of Love And Lullaby, 08: Needle Of Death, 09: Lady Nothing, 10: There Comes A Time, 11: Cluck Old Hen, 12: The Blacksmith, 13: Open Up The Watergate (Let The Sunshine In) (Alternate Version). 14: One For Jo (Alternate Version). 15: The Blacksmith (Alternate Version). 16: In The Bleak Midwinter