Legendary British folk musician, the late, great Bert Jansch was keen on go. He used to play often with John Renbourn, a fellow member of British folk-rock band (The) Pentangle, whom he had befriended on the UK folk circuit.
In 1966, year before the formation of Pentangle, they recorded an album together, Bert and John (1966, Transatlantic, released in America with extra tracks 1969, by Vanguard, as Stepping Stones). The album’s cover picture shows the pair enjoying what looks to be a rather peaceful game of go.
The 1992 film of Bert Jansch’s career, Acoustic Routes, was re-released UK-wide and on DVD earlier this year. It is a documentary presented by top British comedian Billy Connolly, who was a good friend of both musicians and who performed on the circuit as a banjoist before breaking through as a comic. In a recent Jansch retrospective on BBC Radio2′s Folk Show, Connolly recounted in an interview with presenter Mark Radcliffe how Jansch and Renbourn played go continually between takes during the filming. Sadly, although a clip of the interview is still available, this anecdote was edited out.
Jansch and Renbourn feature in the British Go Association’s page of famous westerners who have played go too, where a link to more pictures of the two playing go can be found, taken from the booklet issued with the CD of Bert and John.
- Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal; album cover photo courtesy of blog of Portugese sixties music fan The Red Hippie Teenager