It starts inauspiciously: folk legend Bert Jansch picks out a plaintive melody on an acoustic guitar, then some mulleted goon with an electric comes and Knopflers all over it. But this 1992 doc develops into a warm, informative overview of the British folk scene. Using Jansch as the focus, director Jan Leman and presenter Billy Connolly (whose appearances are mercifully brief) track the journey of British acoustic music from the ’60s to the ’90s, looking at how influences from Arabia and America altered the sound, and how figures like Davey Graham melded folk, jazz and blues to forge their own playing style. Some of the musical interludes are truly beautiful – Anne Briggs delivers a gorgeous ‘Go Your Way My Love’, while footage of Jansch and John Renbourn jamming in the kitchen reminds us how home-made and unfashionable this music always was. Leman must have kicked himself over the film’s timing though: in one clip, Jansch bemoans the lack of new outsider folk artists. A few years later, there were thousands of them.
Friday March 1 2013