16 March 2009

Needle of Death

There's a song I'd like to share this evening by a Scottish fellow named Bert Jansch. He's had quite a prolific career, putting out dozens of albums on a myriad of labels as a solo artist as well as a fair few albums with Pentangle. "Needle of Death" was one of his most popular songs, released off his first album in 1965 before he took to playing with a group. The album also contains a song called "Alice's Wonderland," written by Charles Mingus. As is pretty evident when you listen to his recordings, Jansch influenced many important songwriters, including the recently-deceased John Martyn and the long-ago-deceased Nick Drake. Jansch is still alive and well.

Bert Jansch - Needle of Death

Yo La Tengo recorded it for their Today is the Day EP, released a few months after Summer Sun in 2003. Georgia Hubley takes the vocal duties and treats the song with the somber loving care it deserves. I think Yo La Tengo are generally better off when they're doing their own material, but in this instance, they do the song justice and then some. The entire EP is a little gem, one side smoking hot indie rock, the other a handful of more subdued and acoustic numbers.

I don't really feel like putting in the links to the usual informative sites, and I suspect nobody will have a problem with it since nobody comments on this thing anyway.

Yo La Tengo - Needle of Death