Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Fantasy Bob was saddened last week by the death on the same day of Graham Dilley and Bert Jansch.

While he has a strong memory of Dilley - his support for Botham at Headingley in 1981 in particular, the poetry of his long curving run and the dragging right foot in the delivery stride - Bert Jansch may have been a more important influence.  Not on his cricket, obviously, since that is beyond influence and Jansch was not noted as a bowling coach.

However it was from Bert Jansch that FB learned to fingerpick.  This has nothing to do with disturbing the seam on a cricket ball.  Nor has it anything to do with Colonel Sanders.
Many years ago, FB was an occasional listener to folk music and a Bert Jansch album came into his collection in 1968 or 69 at a vital point in his mastery of the guitar.  Imitating the basic finger picking patterns in Jansch's song Needle of Death were all he needed to master the alternating bass.  When FB says master in this context he means in the sense equivalent to how he has mastered batting against leg spin bowling ie not at all.  This is still FB's basic picking pattern.

This song was itself exceptional - during a period when most songs with drug references were celebrations of getting high or similar, this was the chilling anti-drug song to top them all.   It should be more widely known. 

FB never saw Dilley live; he only saw Jansch once in a concert with Pentangle.  Test Match Quality. 

They both live on.

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