Scottish born Herbert Jansch taught himself to play guitar as a young teen, listening to the records of Woody Guthrie and Blues masters like Big Bill Broonzy and Brownie McGhee. By the time he was proficient, his music was a fairly unique blend of British folk, Celtic, blues, jazz and classical. He played the local clubs in Edinburgh for a while before making his way to London.
Jansch quickly followed with "It Don't Bother Me" and, in 1966, "Jack Orion", the latter album containing "Blackwaterside", which Jimmy Page was to turn into "Black Mountain Side" for the first Led Zeppelin album.
Along the way, Jansch met up with and began playing with John Renbourn and, together, the two would found the UK's seminal Folk Rock band Pentangle--a staple of FM radio playlists throughout the 70s and 80s. Pentangle's fusion of rock, folk, jazz and classical elements was unique and innovative in its time and its like had only ever been seen then in Jansch's own solo work and that of Davey Graham, one of Jansch's influences.
Bert's seasonal output, surprisingly, includes only a few tracks scattered among his extensive catalog. There are Bert's recordings of "In The Bleak Midwinter", one of which was released as a single in 1974. You'll find versions included on several of his albums, including "LA Turnaround" and "The River Sessions". And Bert's own composition, "Mary And Joseph" from "Santa Barbara Honeymoon", is an interesting piece transporting the nativity scene to the space age. Pentangle, on the other hand, recorded several carols and winter themed folk songs, most notably "The Cherry Tree Carol" and (a personal favorite) "Watch The Stars".
Marvelous Marv Tarplin, an original member of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and the co-author of such hits as "The Tracks Of My Tears" and "Going To A Go-Go" as well as Robinson solo records "Cruisin'" and "Being With You", passed away September 30 at the age of 70. Cause of death was not immediately determined.
Tarplin was born in Atlanta and raised in Detroit where he picked up the guitar. Two members of The Primettes (later The Supremes), Mary Wilson and Flo Ballard, had attended high school with Tarplin and persuaded him to play guitar for them at their Motown audition. Tarplin hooked up with Smokey Robinson at Motown and became an original member of The Miracles. As the guitar player for the group, Tarplin was frequently out of the spotlight and was only included in pictures of the group on some of their early albums. But Tarplin was known around Motown as The Miracles "Secret Weapon". Tarplin stayed with the group until 1973 when he left to work with departed front man Smokey Robinson on his solo career. Tarplin remained with Smokey and toured with him until 2008 when he retired from the road.
Needless to say, Tarplin appeared on the Miracles 1963 Christmas album "Christmas With The Miracles" as well as 1970's "The Season For Miracles".