John Renbourn is dead

by Harry on March 27, 2015

I was at a conference with CB when Bert Jansch died, and neither of us recorded the death here. Now Renbourn is gone too. Both gone too early. Guardian obit for Renbourn here. Jansch here. I have a lovely memory of seeing them both, with Jaqui McShee, at the late lamented Palms, in Davis CA, just after I married; and being simply in awe of them. Just listen.


Renbourn alone:

Jansch alone:



Chris Bertram 03.27.15 at 3:05 pm

I got to see Renbourn once, three years ago. I didn’t even know he was on, but John Weymark of Vanderbilt University was visiting Bristol and wanted to go, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I’ve lived with Sir John Alot of Merrie Englandes Musyk Thyng and ye Grene Knyghte since some time in the 1970s when I bought a s/h copy. (Re Jansch, I did learn to play the Needle of Death as a teenager, but my guitaring skills have atrophied completely).


Stephen 03.27.15 at 5:44 pm

I am very sorry to hear this. I hope Robin Williamson hasn’t gone yet.


Dave Maier 03.27.15 at 10:08 pm

I saw Renbourn solo about twenty years ago, never Jansch or Pentangle though. I have to admit I like the latter two better, as some of Renbourn’s solo work is a bit dodgy by my lights (Sir John Alot of is a good one). But he was certainly great, both with Pentangle and the solo show I saw.


David J. Littleboy 03.28.15 at 6:14 am

I started out trying to play like John Renbourn, and I’m still trying…


bad Jim 03.28.15 at 6:49 am

70’s a bit young for death.
I was enough of a fan that I have a CD of his, as well as a stack of phonographs.


maidhc 03.29.15 at 1:13 am

I saw John Renbourn live a few times. Very enjoyable concerts all.

All the guitarists started talking about him back when you had to buy his Transatlantic albums as imports. I remember some were marked with prices in shillings and pence (12/6, I think).

It’s sad to see that generation of musicians leave us one by one.


chris y 03.29.15 at 11:00 am

Very sad. I only ever saw Renbourn with Pentangle, where his interaction with Jansch appeared to be telepathic. Certainly a genius, and far too young.


nick s 03.31.15 at 3:50 am

Here’s a Danish programme from 1967 showing Jansch and Renbourn very early on in their collaboration (with I think Anne Briggs, sitting on a sofa doing a crossword.) Also Swarbrick and Martin Carthy to top and tail it.


nick s 03.31.15 at 3:56 am

(Ah, Peter Paphides corrects me: it was Renbourn’s then-wife Judy doing the crossword.)


chris y 03.31.15 at 11:41 am

That’s a fascinating clip and some fine music. Pity about the interviewer.

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