California Stars

“This is a song, which I haven’t sung for many, many years,”

said Scottish born folk singer and guitarist Bert Jansch before launching into the opening notes of one of his most celebrated songs, “Needle of Death”. We were somewhere in Northern CA, in the late spring of 2010.  That song, which acutely reflected the struggles of heroin addiction was released years before Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” swept the nation, and that night Young was also in the audience. He’s called Bert “the best acoustic guitarist”, saying, “he’s my favorite anyway. That first record of his [1965] is epic. It came from England, and I was especially taken by Needle of Death, such a beautiful and angry song…”