Highly influential Scottish singer–songwriter Bert Jansch died in 2011, leaving behind a huge canon of music.

His unique guitar technique and innovative style, which blended folk, jazz and blues, brought Jansch critical acclaim following his move from Edinburgh to London in the early 1960s. Jansch said of that time, ‘I was a gypsy, with no home or possessions, not even a guitar. I borrowed one at each gig.’

Despite this, Jansch came to the attention of leading musicians of the time, such as Paul Simon, who Jansch said used to follow him about, and Bob Dylan, whom he squired around London’s folk clubs at the musician’s request.

In 1965, he released the self-titled iconic album Bert Jansch, which was recorded on a reel-to-reel tape deck, with Jansch playing various borrowed guitars. It is still considered to be amongst his best work, influencing musicians ranging from Nick Drake, Jimmy Page, Bernard Butler and Eric Clapton to Devendra Banhart, Beth Orton, My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star.

In 1967, Jansch formed acoustic experimental group Pentangle with John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox. He toured extensively with the band and returned to a solo career after Pentangle split up in 1973 (although they reformed in 1982, disbanding again in 1995, after various changes in lineup). Jansch continued to perform and record, collaborating with many established and new talents. He received a lifetime achievement award at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, in 2001, and an honorary doctorate from Napier University, Edinburgh, in 2007.

Sadly, in 2009, Jansch was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died two years later, followed shortly by his beloved wife, Loren. They are both buried in Highgate Cemetery, London.

This song, ‘Dreams of Love’, is track 14 on Bert Jansch and it’s one of my all-time favourites – I even named a short story after it.  It’s just beautiful.