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THE PENTANGLE

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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The Pentangle biography
PENTANGLE was formed in 1967 by John Renbourn and Bert Jansch two guitarists who had both already recorded as solo artists since 1965. Both musicians had recorded together 'Bert and John' in 1966 for 'Transatlantic'. Jacqui Mc Shee who joined the band on vocals had already worked with John Renbourn on his first solo record. The rhythm section was formed by Danny Thompson on double bass and Terry Cox on drums and percussion, both former sidemen of Alexis Korner in his band ALEXIS KORNER BLUES INCORPORATED.
PENTANGLE played a mixture of Jazz and Folk with Blues-elements, influences that the band integrated in their debut record 'The Pentangle' which was produced by Shel Talmy. The same year PENTANGLE released their second record 'Sweet child' a double LP consisting of live and studio tracks and containing among others two compositions by Charlie Mingus 'Haitian Fight Song' and 'Goodbye Pork Pie hat'. In 1969 they released their masterpiece 'Basket of Light' , a commercial success including the single 'Light Flight' which served as the theme song to the UK television series 'Take three girls'. PENTANGLE released three other records, 'Cruel sister' in 1970, 'Reflection' in 1971 and 'Solomon's seal' in 1972, before breaking up in 1973. While Bert Jansch and John Renbourn continued as solo artists, the latter with singer Jacqui Mc Shee in the JOHN RENBOURN BAND, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox returned to session work. The original line up reformed in 1982 for a European and Australian tour. John Renbourn left before the release of the 1985 record 'Open the door' and was replaced by Mike Piggott. For the next ten years the band continued to record with changing outfits, 'So Early in the Spring' (1988), 'Think of Tomorrow' (1991), 'One More Road' (1991) and a live record in 1994 'Pentangle Live 1994'. In 1995 Jacqui Mc Shee recorded together with Gerry Conway, Spencer Cozens and guest musicians 'About Thyne. This record was the starting point for JACQUI MC SHEE'S PENTANGLE a refreshed PENTANGLE that released 'Passe Avant' in 1989, the live record 'At the Little Theatre' in 2000 and 'Feoffee's Land' in 2005.

The PENTANGLE records recorded between 1968 and 1972 are highly recommended.

: : : Martin 'Alucard' Horst, FRANCE : : :

The Pentangle official website

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Buy THE PENTANGLE Music


Sweet ChildSweet Child
Import · Remastered
Castle Music UK 2001
Audio CD$7.30
$18.75 (used)
Basket Of LightBasket Of Light
Extra tracks
Sanctuary 2008
Audio CD$4.49
$3.59 (used)
Solomons SealSolomons Seal
Sanctuary 2008
Audio CD$5.79
$12.99 (used)
Cruel SisterCruel Sister
Import
Castle Music UK 2001
Audio CD$4.49
$3.22 (used)
PentanglePentangle
Import · Remastered
Sanctuary UK 2008
Audio CD$4.49
$3.21 (used)
ReflectionReflection
Sanctuary 2008
Audio CD$59.99
$11.99 (used)
Lost Broadcasts: 1968-1972Lost Broadcasts: 1968-1972
Hux Records 2004
Audio CD$18.66
$22.86 (used)
Early ClassicsEarly Classics
Shanachie 1992
Audio CD$11.31
$7.98 (used)
Light Flight: The AnthologyLight Flight: The Anthology
Import
Castle Music UK 2006
Audio CD$5.74
$12.71 (used)
On AirOn Air
Import
Strange Fruit UK 1997
Audio CD$26.95
$11.42 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
THE PENTANGLE, LP, SOLOMON'S SEAL ~ 1St PRESSING, REPRISE RECORDS USD $4.95 [0 bids]
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PENTANGLE Open The Door LP Original Varrick 1985 feat. Bert Jansch USD $5.00 Buy It Now 6h 2m
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6h 21m
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13h 39m
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The Pentangle Think Of Tomorrow 1991 Import Hypertension 831 697 HYLP 200 112 USD $149.90 Buy It Now 1 day
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PENTANGLE Cruel Sister UK Original LP 1st Transatlantic Label w/GF Cover 1U/1U ! USD $99.95 Buy It Now 2 days
MOJO The Quiet Revolution CD 2006 NEW FOLK KEVIN AYERS BERT JANSCH PENTANGLE USD $9.35 Buy It Now 2 days
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Pentangle Reflection LP Jansch/Renbourne USD $7.79 [1 bids]
2 days
John Renbourn - Sampler LP Folk Nick Drake Bert Jansch Pentangle USD $1.54 [0 bids]
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V/A " TRANSATLANTIC THE VINTAGE YEARS VOLUME 1 " VINYL LP EX/EX McTELL PENTANGLE USD $10.91 Buy It Now 3 days
John Renbourn - The Lady And The Unicorn (CD 2003) Pentangle USD $4.66 [0 bids]
3 days
Pentangle - Cruel Sister (Reprise RS 6430) ('70) (Bert Jansch, John Renbourn) USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Pentangle - In the Round (Varrick VR-026) ('86) (Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee) USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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The Pentangle - Basket Of Light LP UK 1989 EX+/VG+ reissue Folk Rock USD $23.40 Buy It Now 3 days
PENTANGLE Basket of Light '69 U.S. REPRISE LP edition Bert Jansch John Renbourn USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Solomon's Seal by Pentangle (CD, Nov-2008, Sanctuary) Bert Jansch USD $3.75 [0 bids]
USD $5.50 Buy It Now
3 days
Think of Tomorrow by Pentangle (CD, Oct-1991, Green Linnet) USD $2.25 [0 bids]
USD $3.75 Buy It Now
3 days
John Renbourn/Another Monday by John Renbourn (CD 1997, 2CD) Pentangle USD $17.25 [0 bids]
USD $25.75 Buy It Now
3 days
Lost Sessions by John Renbourn (CD, Jul-1996, Edsel (UK)) Pentangle USD $26.75 [0 bids]
USD $43.25 Buy It Now
3 days
Bert and John by John Renbourn/Bert Jansch (CD Sanctuary 2001) Pentangle RARE USD $32.75 [0 bids]
USD $65.25 Buy It Now
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It Don't Bother Me by Bert Jansch (CD, Jun-2001, Castle) Pentangle USD $4.25 [0 bids]
USD $5.75 Buy It Now
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Faro Anie by John Renbourn (CD, Jul-2002, Castle) REMASTER Pentangle USD $12.50 [0 bids]
USD $18.25 Buy It Now
3 days
Sweet Child [Remaster] by Pentangle (CD, May-2001, Castle) Jansch Renbourn USD $5.00 [0 bids]
USD $7.50 Buy It Now
3 days
Moonshine by Bert Jansch (CD, Mar-2001, Sanctuary) Pentangle Remaster USD $19.75 [0 bids]
USD $26.25 Buy It Now
3 days
Sketches by Bert Jansch (CD, 1995, Temple (UK)) Pentangle USD $14.75 [0 bids]
USD $20.25 Buy It Now
3 days
Edge of a Dream by Bert Jansch (CD, Oct-2002, Sanctuary) Pentangle USD $7.25 [0 bids]
USD $10.75 Buy It Now
3 days
Crimson Moon by Bert Jansch (CD, Aug-2000, 2 Discs, Castle Music) Pentangle USD $11.75 [0 bids]
USD $16.50 Buy It Now
3 days
John Renbourn's Ship of Fools by John Renbourn (Castle CD) Pentangle REMASTER USD $19.25 [0 bids]
USD $27.75 Buy It Now
3 days
So Early in Spring by John Renbourn (Pentangle) CD Remaster USD $12.75 [0 bids]
USD $17.25 Buy It Now
3 days
One More Road by Pentangle (CD, May-1997, Spv) Bert Jansch John Renbourn USD $7.25 [0 bids]
USD $10.75 Buy It Now
3 days
So Early in the Spring by Pentangle (CD, Jul-1990, Green Linnet) USD $5.25 [0 bids]
USD $7.50 Buy It Now
3 days
From the Outside by Bert Jansch (CD, Sep-2002, Castle Music Ltd.) Pentangle USD $8.00 [0 bids]
USD $14.75 Buy It Now
3 days
In the Round by Pentangle (CD, Dec-1988, Varrick) USD $2.00 [0 bids]
USD $3.50 Buy It Now
3 days
Nicola by Bert Jansch (CD, Mar-2002 Sanctuary) Pentangle USD $5.25 [0 bids]
USD $8.75 Buy It Now
3 days
Various Artists - Old Grey Whistle Test Folk (CD 2011) Paxton; Pentangle; Ochs USD $3.88 [0 bids]
3 days
Pentangle - History Book - Rock LP - U.K. NM Pressing- USD $8.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Bert Jansch Downunder Live In Australia LIKE NEW CD Sanctuary Folk Pentangle USD $13.93 Buy It Now 3 days
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3 days
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The Pentangle - Basket Of Light NEW CD USD $7.66 Buy It Now 3 days
The Pentangle - Cruel Sister NEW CD USD $7.66 Buy It Now 3 days
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Pentangle - Solomon's Seal USD $2.00 [0 bids]
4 days
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THE PENTANGLE shows & tickets


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THE PENTANGLE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE PENTANGLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 40 ratings
The Pentangle
1968
3.64 | 36 ratings
Sweet Child
1968
4.11 | 90 ratings
Basket Of Light
1969
3.40 | 45 ratings
Cruel Sister
1970
3.43 | 23 ratings
Reflection
1971
3.00 | 22 ratings
Solomon's Seal
1972
3.90 | 14 ratings
Open The Door
1984
3.54 | 10 ratings
In The Round
1986
2.68 | 9 ratings
So Early In The Spring
1990
2.71 | 9 ratings
Think Of Tomorrow
1991
3.30 | 7 ratings
One More Road
1993

THE PENTANGLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Live At The BBC (aka On Air)
1995
2.38 | 4 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts 1968-1972
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
One More Road & Live 1994
2006

THE PENTANGLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Captured Live
2003

THE PENTANGLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 6 ratings
Pentangling
1973
3.05 | 5 ratings
A Maid Deep In Love
1974
3.05 | 3 ratings
The Collection
1988
4.03 | 8 ratings
The Time Has Come: 1967-1973
2007

THE PENTANGLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE PENTANGLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Open The Door by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.90 | 14 ratings

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Open The Door
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Fifteen years is a long time for a follow up album, but Pentangle's 1984 reunion album Open The Door, while not a direct follow up to the group's 1969 pinnacle Basket Of Light, is just that.

Basket Of Light was immediately followed by three disappointing Pentangle studio albums, Cruel Sister, Reflection and Solomon's Seal, that went away from the group's original folk/blues/jazz fusion songs and concentrated instead on traditional folk tunes or originals that were in the same vain.

Reasons for this are speculative, but it's safe to assume that Bert Jansch's displeasure with the treatment the band received by both it's record label and it's then manager that was in sharp contrast to that of fellow Pentangle guitarist John Renbourn was a key factor. Further differences in the two guitarists playing styles and changing musical preferences led to the Open The Door reunion album being recorded without Renbourn (who decided to pursue a music degree), with Mike Piggott drafted in to replace him. Piggot is also an accomplished electric guitarist as well as an excellent fiddle player.

The result is that Open The Door, while still lacking in overt jazz references, is extremely fresh sounding, as if the reconfigured group was shot with a much needed dose of enthusiasm. The album is, ironically, nearly bracketed by two traditional folk songs with much of the newer material placed in between.

Standout tracks include the trad songs Open The Door and Yarrow, with originals like Dragonfly, Child Of Winter, Lost Love, Sad Lady and Taste Of Love revealing once again solid songwriting and execution from this once venerated group. These songs are again in the folk vain, but still feature a bluesy, and sometimes occasional jazzy undercurrent, while closing track Street Song lets double bass great Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox cut loose to do their jazz thing one last time, as this would be the great rhythm duo's last album together. Long time original members Jacqui McShee, Thompson, Cox and Jansch are all in fine voice or playing ability and this album features the welcome return of Jansch's familiar string snapping playing style that was such a fixture and trademark on the band's first three classic albums. Piggott adds tasty low volume country style electric guitar licks at times, and his fiddle playing is meant to invoke mood and atmosphere and never strays into a Fairport Convention foot stomping "hoe down" style.

Open The Door is a refreshing reminder that Pentangle were a world class band and deserved their formally exalted reputation, and the pastoral album cover sets up this material quite well. 3.5 stars.

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 In The Round by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.54 | 10 ratings

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In The Round
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars And now for something completely different.

Well, perhaps just a bit different. This reconfigured version of the British band Pentangle sees the departure of stand up bassist Danny Thompson replaced by guitarist Bert Jansch's friend Nigel Portman-Smith on electric bass, as the group exercises their penchant for American Country and Western music by creating some great country songs of their own.

What Pentangle only hinted to in the past on covers of such songs as Cold Mountain and Will The Circle Be Unbroken, comes to full fruition on bluesy country tinged originals like this album's opening track Play The Game, Sunday Morning (which has lyrical echoes of the Johnny Cash classic Sunday Morning Coming Down) and the sublime Chase That Devil Away.

Bert Jansch, strangely, as he was by his own account deeply in trouble with alcohol abuse around this time, is in extremely fine voice and penned three his finest and most introspective songs The Open Sea, The Saturday Movie and the fantastic Let Me Be. Jansch's tunes go away from the country vibe of this album and add an air of disunity, but also a welcome respite.

Vocalist Jacqui McShee absolutely shines in singing this material and is still a revelation. Drummer Terry Cox forgoes his more percussion based playing style for that of a straight up but effective rock drummer and meshes perfectly with Portman-Smiths fretless burping bass style.

The only down side that I can find with In The Round is two pedestrian covers of the traditional folk songs She Moved Trough The Fair and Suil Agrar, which I feel were done to keep their hard core folk fans happy.

Perhaps this album is a bit of a guilty pleasure for the Prog-Folk fan, but it's irresistible ear candy and quite a refreshing return to quality from a band that had been plagued with personal, as well as professional, problems up until this point in their on again, off again career. 4 stars.

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 The Lost Broadcasts 1968-1972 by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Live, 2005
2.38 | 4 ratings

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The Lost Broadcasts 1968-1972
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

1 stars I believe that this is the first time I have ever rated an album with a lowly one star. However, I have some very good reasons for doing so.

This collection of BBC sessions from The Pentangle are "from off the air" private recordings, as no BBC archival recordings of The Pentangle are known to exist. Shame on the BBC.

Well, not really. The BBC didn't have all of the session recordings that made up the impressive Fairport Convention BBC sessions compilation album titled Hey Day, which featured never recorded cover versions of American folk songs from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen on through to Joni Mitchell, along with many other notable American folk artists. Original Fairport bassist and co-founder Ashley Hutchings at least had 1/4 inch tape "safety copies" made for his private collection that were of decent sound quality and were used to make the album. And what if they were not? Those rare Fairport recordings would still have warranted a listen regardless of the sound quality, as does the rare but dodgy sounding mark 1 Renaissance recordings titled Past Orbits Of Dust 1969/70. The early John Hawken led version of the now familiar Annie Haslam era mark ll lineup is precious because the group was only together for one year and were indeed rarely recorded live except for two or three songs that were occasionally recorded for "one off" radio broadcasts.

This is not the case with The Pentangle: The Lost Broadcasts 1968-1972. There is nothing super rare on this collection except a group arrangement of the inane song Moondog, which was a filler piece for drummer Terry Cox on the group's second album titled Sweet Child, in much the same way that Ringo Starr's songs were filler on many Beatles albums. Rubbish.

The sound quality of The Pentangle: The Lost Broadcasts ranges from poor (mostly) to passable (on rare occasions). As I've stated, there are no historical performances featured on this BBC sessions compilation, and I can not think of any viable reason why it exists. Pass this one up unless you are a diehard fan that must have everything recorded by this once revered British folk/blues/jazz rock fusion ensemble.

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 Cruel Sister by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.40 | 45 ratings

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Cruel Sister
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Left turn, Clyde.

No early Pentangle album split fans as much as 1970's studio offering titled Cruel Sister. After the relative success of 1969's Basket Of Light that featured the British chart hit Light Flight, several member's of the group were actually disturbed by their relative success, as if Basket Of Light with it's stunning interplay of jazz rhythms, guitar pyrotechnics and exquisite singing was no more than a bubblegum pop album. As silly as that sounds and owing to the rival success of Fairport Convention's 1969 hit album Liege and Leif, The Pentangle decided to go in FC's pure English folk rock direction and jettisoned their jazz influences and dynamic acoustic guitar interplay, which had been a staple of the group up until that time. Indeed, this is the first studio album to feature John Renbourn on electric guitar, albeit in a very toned down delivery.

This resulted in the quick departure of uber producer Shel Talmy, who was critically influential to the band's recorded sound, as well as helping in editing and arranging the band's songs. Talmy saw no future in the band's new direction and decided to call working with The Pentangle a day.

The result is this self produced album. While critics bemoan the fact that a lot of the traditional songs on this album reek of doom and gloom, with murder, deceit, and mistreatment being the main themes, it's more of the restrained musical and vocal delivery that really lets the album down.

Jacqui McsShee does a good turn on the unaccompanied traditional song (all of the album's 5 songs are traditional English folk songs) When I was In My Prime. However, It's far from a riveting "is it live or Memorex?" moment. In other words, don't expect any of your glassware to break on this or any of the album's songs.

Lord Franklin is a pleasant song sung by Renbourn in a pleasant monotone, but it easily displays his vocal limitations as does the album's one true progressive rock song, the 20 minute long Jack Orion, of which a majority of the vocal duties is handled by the almost equally limited Burt Jansch. The song meanders into many different themes and is actually quite interesting the first time around. But I'm afraid that's were the interest, time wise, ends.

Cruel Sister is by no means a bad album, it just happens to follow three of the best folk rock albums ever produced by a British band, which just happens to be themselves, and for better or worse, it shows. 3 stars.

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 Basket Of Light by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.11 | 90 ratings

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Basket Of Light
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars The Pentangle's Basket of Light album from 1969 is adorned by great PA reviews and that's for many good reasons.

First off, it's leadoff track Light Flight is a prog lover's dream with it's incredible time changes (7/8, 5/8 and 6/4) with electrifying playing from all involved, which includes incendiary acoustic guitar playing from the vaunted duo of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. What is often overlooked in reviews is the incredible range of lead vocalist Jacqui McShee, that was only hinted at in The Pentangle's two subsequent albums . Indeed, Basket of Light contains some of McShee's best vocal work be it in counter vocals, jazz like scat accompaniment or atmospheric vocalize that seems to predate Annie Haslam's many vocalise stylings on both Renaissance live and recorded songs.

Light Flight was indeed even a minor hit in the UK and propelled the group to commercial stardom with some ugly results, such as some members of the group questioning their musical authenticity, and would result in the band going into a more straight forward folk rock sound devoid of jazz elements on future albums. But that's a story for the next album review.

After the stunning Light Flight, the band present the traditional English folk song Once I Had A Sweetheart that's enchantingly melodic, before lauching in to one of the album's highlights Springtome Promises, that features Jansch doing one of his best recorded vocals on this group penned tune.

Lyke-Wake Dirge is just what the name implys and is a true medieval English Dirge song by all except double bass player Danny Thmpson and features some trick overdubbing by McShee in a layered sound that predates Enya's new age recordings by decades.

The album's second highlight Train Song is up next and again showcases McShee doing ultra melodic scat vocals to accompany Jansch's second lead vocal on the record. This song also features a wonderful mid song time change that sees McShee doing an ethereal vocalise while Jansch and Renbourn trade guitar licks and Thompson add great bass runs.

Producer Shel Talmy (Kinks, Who, Roy Harper) has to be given credit for not only his clear spacious recording of all instruments but also for his great skills as a music editor and arranger. It's hard to imagine anyone else making this album sound as good.

The haunting English traditional The Hunting Song is next, again featuring impressive guitar work and is followed by a cover of a sixties' girl group song Sally Go Round the Roses that was originally recorded by the Jaynettes. Renbourn does some wonderful call and response type vocals with McShee as she is the glue that hold this newly transformed into a bluesy sounding rocker together. The song again features some incendiary guitar playing primarily by Jansch as his signature percussive string pops are quite evident. There are also two alternate takes on the 2001 Castle CD reissue of this album that showcases some different but equally good leads by Jansch. It must have been difficult for the band and producer to pick the best take as they're all stellar. The original album ends with the traditional tunes The Cookoo Bird and House Carpenter. House Carpenter features a duet with Jansch and McShee and bogs the album down a bit. However, the Castle reissue also includes two wonderful tracks that were easily good enough to make the album and I'm surprised that the second song I Saw An Angel, which features a fantastic siren call from McShee in the song's chorus, was not.

Five stars for this truly progressive folk rock milestone, as it's an album that simply should be every prog fan's collection

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 Sweet Child by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.64 | 36 ratings

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Sweet Child
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The Pentangle's follow up album to their self titled debut, titled Sweet Child, does not suffer from the usual "sophomore jinx" that plague many other followers of a debut album. Perhaps except that the shock of the group's musical formula may have worn off on some listeners along with some surprise that the double album follow up contains a new live material recorded at the London Festival Hall, with the second disc comprised totally of new studio songs.

I can only surmise that the band's touring schedule may have cut into their studio time. However, the first disc is excellently recorded in front of a rapt and extremely quiet audience. At least during the performances that is.

The group once again mine material from traditional English folk, Charles Mingus penned jazz classics, original folk/blues compositions as well as Elizabethan era dances played on a glockenspiel from drummer Terry Cox.

John Renbourn plays electric guitar as was he's want during live performamces and this steals a little bit of thunder from the usual guitar interplay between himself and Bert Jansch. Howerever, fear not, as the two resume their acoustic guitar dueling on several tracks of the studio disc along with some brilliant outtakes that have been added as bonus tracks to the 2 CD Castle Records reissue.

Aside from making marginal vocalists like Renbourn and Jansch actually sound good, producer Shel Talmy deftly recorded both guitarists in wide separation stereo which really shows off their breathtaking improvisational playing. As one guitarist starts a lead section on one channel, the phrase is telekinetically answered by the guitarist on the other and when both play intricate leads together, it simply sounds like one guitarist has filled the sound stage and is a testament of the extraordinary playing skills of both.This is extremely prevalent on the instrumentals In Time and Hole In The Coal, as well as their alternate versions.

Double bass great Danny Thompson struts his stuff on the above mentioned Mingus songs while the incredible Jacqui McShee again shows her vocal prowess both traditional songs like So Early In the Spring (sung unaccompanied ) on the first live disc, as well as soulful jazzy originals like the stellar I've Got A Feeling from the second studio album.

I've felt a need to review this album again in light of the current Indie folk rock (Nu folk?) resurgence as well the current trend of modern rockers like Mark Knoplfler to produce albums exploring American Roots and Folk music.

The Pentangle still defy classification almost fifty years after releasing their debut album and their collective musical skills have still not been equaled to this day. Four stars for another of The Pentangle's landmark albums. The Castle CD re-master has fantastic sound quality as well as the wonderful bonus tracks that also include live versions all of material that was released on groups' self titled debut and is featured on the first live disc.

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 The Pentangle by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.88 | 40 ratings

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The Pentangle
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars Time Stand Still.

While my appreciation of Prog-folk came much later than my baptism into Prog-rock proper, it's artistic merits always seem to be more profound. Perhaps that's is because the artists are doing considerably more with less. More notes, less volume. More style fusions, less instruments . All acoustics, no electrics.

And so it is with Pentangle's 1968 self titled debut. Eschewing the Dylan or Guthrie songbook, the incredible Jacqui McShee, already famous acoustic folk guitar heroes John Renbourn and Bert Jansch together with double bass jazz great Danny Thompson and precision drummer Terry Cox launch into a traditional arrangement of the familiar English folk song Let No Man Steal Your Time. With the song's double entendre still as relevant as ever, you are seduced into thinking this is going to be a museum trip into the folk world of merry old England until the next song Bells appears, an a bluesy instumental with rhythmic circling acoustic guitars that appear separately from the left and right speakers and seem as if they are dueling with each other as the bass and drums are involved in their own separate conversation while keeping astride of the the two guitars.

Wait, maybe this not old folk after all? You think to yourself as Thompson's jazzy descending bass notes introduce the third song, Hear My Call, and McShee's launches into a yearning sultry vocal that will never make you guess in a million years that this sexy siren song is a contemporary spiritual written by the Staple Singers.We are into full blown jazz/folk/blues fusion here and the part is that it's only just started. This will come to a full climax with the following song, the 7 minute long (an eternity for a folk rock song in 1968!) Pentangling, with it's improvisational middle section showing off both Thompsons and Cox's chops to great dramatic effect due again to the excellent use of stereo panning. Sung jointly by McShee and Jansch, the song shift gears near the end from a slow trot to brisk gallop with Renbourn conluding the piece with an electifying flourish. The group then swing into Behind the Sun, a slow paced sultry bluesy number that features McShee crooning about finding a man for some rough bed time fun while Renbourn and Jansch throw smoldering hot guitar notes back forth at one another from speaker to speaker. Then is on to the brief song Mirarge were all members trade licks back and forth again. To give their jazz chops a break and a chance to let their hands cool down, the band revert back to a traditional folk song, Bruton Town, before ending with another clinic to Jansch and Renbourn's acoustics called The Waltz, a song no inspired by Jansch's facination with circular guitar chord rhythms and agan it features his percussive finger pulls and any other sounds he get from his strings without actually braking them.

Classified as Folk Rock, this is one of those truly rare albums that is both genre defining as well as being genre breaking and so ahead of it's time that it sounds like something created yesterday let alone 45 years ago. An absolute essential staple for any Prog collection. While the modern rock world is busy putting the petal to the metal, these acoustic giants remain like lost stone monuments just waiting fo new civilizations to rediscover them.

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 Sweet Child by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.64 | 36 ratings

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Sweet Child
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pentangle's second album of 1968 is perhaps my favourite of the albums I've heard by the band to date. Double albums are usually tricky to justify, but here Pentangle avoid that issue by not making this a double *studio* album. Whilst the second disc consists of new studio tracks, the first disc is a release of a warm, intimate performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Ably teasing out the electric folk, traditional folk, and jazz influences on their sound both in the live performance and in the studio. the Pentangle treat the listener to a true tour de force here.

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 The Time Has Come: 1967-1973  by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.03 | 8 ratings

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The Time Has Come: 1967-1973
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'd say Pentangle is one of the rarest of british folk-groups. Not in the sense their albums are rare to find but rare meaning outstanding. Their blend of progressive, folk and rock sensibilities are unmatched, as far as I'm concerned. The first six albums they made are all worth having, containing utterly beautifl, haunting and engaging music.

If you're looking for simply a compilation I'd recommend Light flight, a great collection of some of their best material. But if you're alreadya serious fan like me this box set is mandatory. It walks the thin line between the greatest hits and rarer stuff, like live recordings and music from the screen. Now, I'm not sure about devoting one entire disc to one single concert. I'd rather have seen more live stuff from their entire career but there you go. Is that any reason to complain? No, not really. The box is easily worth 4,5 stars. Besides, the box is visually stunning and really gives me goose bumps just looking at it. Wondrous stuff!

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 Basket Of Light by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.11 | 90 ratings

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Basket Of Light
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Easily the bestalbum they made, though I feel all albums from the 70's are worth at least a listen, lest you're like me obsessed with british folk and Pentangle in particular, wanting to own them all. "Basket of light" is THE album where everething merged together. The traditional folk meets rock and prog like never before. My particular favorites being "Hunting song", "House carpenter" and well... The entire album is my favorite songs. It's a masterpiece of utter beauty, grimness and haunting tales, instrumentation to die for and vocals of un-earthly qualities. If you want one single folk album from the early 70's, this is the one.

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