Celtic Connections

Bert Inspired

Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

four stars

THE ambiguity in the simple two-word title for these concerts staged by the Bert Jansch Foundation is entirely deliberate. Of course the artists who make up the varied bill acknowledge the influence of Jansch on their own music, but equally they explore the music that he drew upon. The opening portion of Sunday's concert was as much about his debt to Anne Briggs as his own compositions, with Karine Polwart (joining Martin Simpson), Archie Fisher, Robert Plant and Jacqui McShee all performing songs she had brought to the party back in the day.

Crucially, however, there was little "back in the day" about the evening, which was all about inventive cross-pollination, and the parts any member of the capacity audience enjoyed most would be entirely a matter of taste. Simpson's bottleneck slide Heartbreak Hotel and Briggs singing Jansch's lyrics to Miles Davis's All Blues, with Mike Piggott supplying a slick solo version of the riff, were two early examples of that "mixing it up", as Plant put it. Graham Coxon's choice of Jansch tune - One for Joe - was a winner for me, particularly as followed by his own Latte, which he confessed he only realised drew heavily on Jansch's legacy long after he had written it.

Bernard Butler and Ben Watt's chiming semi-acoustics and the awed presence of Chicago's Ryley Walker, who will have made a few fans, were other highlights but so, of course, were the two sets by Plant which included some dynamic acoustic Zeppliniana alongside fine distinctive arrangements of Briggs's Go Your Way My Love and Jansch's Poison. When le tout ensemble gathered on stage at the end, there were an unfeasible number of guitars, but a glorious vocal frontline of McShee, Plant, Fisher and Polwart.