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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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The Pentangle -  PentangleThe Pentangle - Pentangle
Import · Remastered
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$4.49
$14.00 (used)
Basket Of LightBasket Of Light
Extra tracks
Sanctuary 2008
Audio CD$4.49
$16.21 (used)
Sweet Child -  PentangleSweet Child - Pentangle
Import · Remastered
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$4.97
$9.92 (used)
Solomons SealSolomons Seal
Sanctuary 2008
Audio CD$5.26
$14.99 (used)
Cruel Sister -  PentangleCruel Sister - Pentangle
Import
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$4.49
$12.20 (used)
Light Flight - The Anthology -  PentangleLight Flight - The Anthology - Pentangle
Import
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$4.97
$6.73 (used)
Early ClassicsEarly Classics
Shanachie 1992
Audio CD$9.00
$3.95 (used)
Maid That's Deep in LoveMaid That's Deep in Love
Shanachie 1989
Audio CD$5.40
$3.95 (used)
One More Road & Live 1994One More Road & Live 1994
Hux Records 2007
Audio CD$11.85
$56.69 (used)
Lost Broadcasts: 1968-1972Lost Broadcasts: 1968-1972
Hux Records 2004
Audio CD$29.41
$23.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Pentangle History Book UK vinyl LP album record TRASAM23 TRANSATLANTIC 1972 USD $31.74 Buy It Now 1h 44m
Pentangle Cruel Sister - EX UK vinyl LP album record TRA228 USD $41.86 Buy It Now 2h 52m
Once I Had A Sweetheart Pentangle UK 7" vinyl single record BIG124 BIG T 1969 USD $18.72 Buy It Now 2h 58m
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5h 56m
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BERT JANSCH / JAPAN Mini LP CD x 8 titles + PROMO BOX Set!! - Pentangle - USD $498.00 Buy It Now 6h 42m
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One More Road by Pentangle (CD, May-1997, Spv) Bert Jansch John Renbourn USD $10.75 Buy It Now 7h 27m
John Renbourn Group The Enchanted Garden 1990 Shanachie CD Pentangle McShee USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 28m
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Pentangle Cruel Sister 2000 Castle Issue Jansch Renbourn USD $10.39 Buy It Now 8h 51m
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PENTANGLE 6 MINI LP CD JAPAN NOT FAKE PLUS BOX. FREE SHIPPING USD $250.00 [0 bids]
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THE BEST OF TRANSATLANTIC STEREO LP (1972 Folk Vinyl NM+) Pentangle/Humblebums USD $11.18 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Pentangle Bert Jansch Encyclopedia article USD $10.84 Buy It Now 16h 48m
Light Fight - Solid Pentangle UK 7" vinyl single record BIG128 BIG T 1969 USD $18.72 Buy It Now 17h 14m
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Light Flight - 4Pr Pentangle 7" vinyl single record UK BIG128 BIG T 1969 USD $18.72 Buy It Now 23h 7m
Reflection Pentangle vinyl LP album record UK TRA240 TRANSATLANTIC 1971 USD $56.32 Buy It Now 23h 16m
UK '60s Psych Folk *9 CD Lot* NICK DRAKE, PENTANGLE, BERT JANSCH, STEELEYE SPAN USD $25.00 [1 bids]
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Pentangle History Book Album USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
John Renbourn Self Titled 2x LP Reprise 2 RS 6482 1973 Pentangle Very Good++ USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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USD $12.99 Buy It Now
1 day
^ PENTANGLE solomon's seal UICY-94646 JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD USD $37.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Pentangle 7" Light Flight Rare NZ original Parlophone Jansch Psych Folk USD $14.17 [0 bids]
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PENTANGLE SWEET CHILD 11 EXTRA TRACKS REMASTERED 2 CD NEW USD $19.84 Buy It Now 1 day
VA Stereo Introduction To Transatlantic UK LP Pentangle Bert Jansch 1972 EX/EX+ USD $7.21 Buy It Now 1 day
The Pentangle Basket Of Light UK Transatlantic LP A1 B1 1st Pressing Gatefold USD $6.51 [0 bids]
1 day
Pentangle UK Interview Article + Status Quo advert 1970 USD $10.84 Buy It Now 1 day
Passe Avant, Jacqui McShee's Pentangle, Acceptable USD $2.07 Buy It Now 1 day
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Pentangle LP Basket of Light UK Transatlantic A1/B1 Pressing 1969 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
PENTANGLE 'Cruel Sister' Folk Psych 1970 TRANSATLANTIC LTD UK TRA 228 A-1U MINT USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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John Renbourn Faro Annie Pentangle LP advert Time Out cutting 1972 USD $14.46 Buy It Now 1 day
John Renbourn Pentangle LP advert Time Out clipping 1971 USD $10.84 Buy It Now 1 day
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THE PENTANGLE-BASKET OF LIGHT 1969 1ST PRESS TRANSATLANTIC LP EX VINYL AND PLAY USD $14.46 [1 bids]
2 days
THE PENTANGLE-SOLOMON'S SEAL 1972 1ST PRESS REPRISE LP + INSERT MEGA RARE USD $57.83 [0 bids]
2 days
PENTANGLE History Book LP 10 Track Original Textured Sleeve Design UK Transatla USD $10.61 Buy It Now 2 days
PENTANGLE Pentangling LP 8 Track Original Purple Label Design With Original Pric USD $15.17 Buy It Now 2 days
PENTANGLE Reflection LP 8 Track Gatefold With Inner Matrix 1g/1g Sleeve Has Edge USD $28.83 Buy It Now 2 days
PENTANGLE Reflection JAPAN '04 OBI Orig Ltd Mini LP CD Gtfd BVCM-47020 NEW! USD $79.99 Buy It Now 2 days
PENTANGLE (THE) The Pentangle JAPAN '04 OBI Orig Ltd Mini LP CD Bonus BVCM-47015 USD $69.99 Buy It Now 2 days
PENTANGLE Sweet Child JAPAN '04 OBI Orig Ltd 2-Mini LP CD's Bonus BVCM-47016/7 USD $79.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Pentangle One More Road German Permanent SPV original 1993 Rare Jansch USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Danny Thompson Whatever's Best 1995 What Disc Pentangle Bassist Solo Austria USD $11.99 Buy It Now 2 days
CONTEMPORARY GUITAR SAMPLER Various LP 15 Track Compilation Featuring Pentangle, USD $18.20 Buy It Now 2 days
THE PENTANGLE LP U.S. REPRISE VG TRICOLOR REPRISE RSC-8001 Rb13 USD $26.99 Buy It Now 2 days
The Pentangle: Basket Of Light +4 (mini LP) [SHM-CD] [Ltd] (Japan) USD $65.21 Buy It Now 2 days
The Pentangle Sweet Child VG+ 1968 Rare 2 LP Reprise Bert Jansch John Renbourn USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Pentangle 1970 The Dome, Brighton ticket stub USD $13.01 Buy It Now 2 days
LOT OF 2 PENTANGLE UK PROG FOLK CD'S GERMAN PRESSINGS LOOK@ USD $8.00 [1 bids]
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THE PENTANGLE s/t CD Germany 8 tracks Transatlantic TACD 9.00549 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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PENTANGLE | "One More Road" CD | 1993 on Permanent Records USD $4.32 [1 bids]
2 days
LP (12-inch) Pentangle Reflection USD $4.34 [0 bids]
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Reflection Pentangle Vinyl Record USD $30.29 Buy It Now 2 days
Pentangle - Cruel Sister Gatefold Reprise RS 6430 W/ Inner Sleeve LP USD $14.98 Buy It Now 3 days
Basket of Light [Remaster] by The Pentangle Dual Disc CD/DVD UK folk psych Promo USD $13.49 Buy It Now 3 days
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John Renbourn - Faro Annie REPRISE MS-2082 Stereo PENTANGLE GUITARIST USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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THE PENTANGLE 1972 ALBUM "SOLOMONS SEAL" AND TOUR DATES ADVERT USD $18.72 Buy It Now 3 days
CRUEL SISTER "PENTANGLE" VINYL LP 1971 REPRISE RECORDS STEREO EX USD $16.99 Buy It Now 3 days
THE PENTANGLE - SOLOMON'S SEAL 1972 MS 2100 BRIT FOLK PYSCH LP USD $24.99 Buy It Now 3 days
THE PENTANGLE Self Titled Debut LP 1968 US Orig REPRISE 6315 Stereo 2-Tone Label USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3 days
GALLEY BEGGAR Silence & Tears + 2 JAPAN CD Pentangle Steeleye Span Evenoire USD $24.30 Buy It Now 3 days
The Pentangle-Sweet Child 2-CD Japan USD $34.99 [0 bids]
3 days
PENTANGLE . BASKET OF LIGHT LP USD $14.44 Buy It Now 3 days
PENTANGLE - IN THE ROUND (NEW SEALED) CD Folk Bert Jansch USD $7.21 Buy It Now 3 days
Pentangle - Reflection (Limited Edition) / Japan CD / mini-LP / OBI / 2007 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Pentangle - End Of The Group - Melody Maker Article - 1973 USD $8.68 Buy It Now 3 days
Pentangle-Basket of Light UK folk psych cd 4 bonus USD $16.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Lp Pentangle Basket Of Light Jansch Renbourn Gatefold Reprise Steamboat Label USD $14.95 Buy It Now 3 days
SOURDELINE Jeanne d'Ayme LP/1977 Rare French Folk Rock/Pentangle USD $38.99 Buy It Now 3 days
SOURDELINE La Reine Blanche LP/1976 French Folk Rock/Pentangle USD $38.99 Buy It Now 3 days
THE PENTANGLE -- Transatlantic -- ITALY IMPORT ORL-8540 -- Orizzonte USD $12.18 Buy It Now 3 days
"The Contemporary Guitar Sampler" LP - Jansch, Pentangle, Renbourne, McTell etc) USD $1.43 Buy It Now 4 days
In The Round (Germany 1986 - Lyric Inner) by Pentangle USD $14.46 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle - Open The Door LP USD $4.99 [0 bids]
4 days
PENTANGLE / FAIRPORT CONVENTION CASSETTE TAPE 1988 PAPER LABEL ISLAND DEAGOSTINI USD $15.89 Buy It Now 4 days
PENTANGLE LP PENTANGLING pickwick stereo 924 USD $12.29 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle Bert Jansch 1968 Programme USD $36.05 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle 70s FOLK DJ LP Cruel Sister GATEFOLD 1970 USA ISSUE USD $29.98 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle Bert Jansch Royal Albert Hall, London 4/10/69 Ticket USD $11.55 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle Royal Albert Hall, London 5/11/68 Ticket USD $10.09 Buy It Now 4 days
DIZRHYTHMIA Self-Titled 1988 PROMO LP World Jazz PENTANGLE Danny Thompson DMM USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
2Lp PENTANGLE AT THEIR BEST Cambra CR 054 1982 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Pentangle 'Reflection' uk 1s/t press USD $8.51 [0 bids]
4 days


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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)

3.87 | 42 ratings
The Pentangle
1968
3.65 | 38 ratings
Sweet Child
1968
4.11 | 95 ratings
Basket Of Light
1969
3.40 | 47 ratings
Cruel Sister
1970
3.43 | 25 ratings
Reflection
1971
3.14 | 25 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
2.75 | 10 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
3.00 | 1 ratings
One More Road & Live 1994
2006

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

4.00 | 6 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
 Solomon's Seal by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.14 | 25 ratings

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Solomon's Seal
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars continues to expose the world to the extraordinary talents of jazz-oriented bass player Danny THOMPSON and his friend Victoria (the name he gave to the Gand stand up double bass that he has used almost exclusively throughout his much lauded career). In fact the presence of that bass playing alone renders this album unique in my listening experience (it is only my second Pentangle album)--I can think of no other folk or prog albums up to this time (1972) that use the double bass in this fashion. Then throw in the wonderful lead vocal work of Bert Jansch and Jacqui McShee and the delicate and selective interplay of the other strings (acoustic guitars, banjo, and sitar) and you have a full band of virtuosi weaving their weaves in quite a masterful way. And I did not even mention the amazing work of percussionist Terry Cox. I do not know of many bands even in the jazz fusion sub-genre who weave together their songs so intricately. How this album goes so poorly rated I do not know. It is a masterpiece by my standards--one that never ceases to make my jaw drop with every listen. The musicians are so accomplished in their instrumental play and Jacqui McShee is at her very, very finest. I find it mystifying. This album was apparently the last of the original "classic" Pentangle lineup. I see a bit of a parallel to the course of the band RENAISSANCE during a phase of their career in which one of their final "prog" albums (Novella) feels "tired" to many listeners. Well, I don't hear it. They sound like they're at the top of their games (except the weak male vocals on "Snow" and "People on the Highway." And I know that these amazing musicians all went on to continue producing top-notch music for years after this album.

Favorite songs: 1. "Sally Free and Easy" (3:56) (10/10); 7. "No Love Is Sorrow" (2:47) (10/10); "The Cherry Tree Carol" (3:04) (9/10); 4. "High Germany" (3:19) (9/10); 6. "Willy O' Winsbury" (5:56) (9/10), and even; 5. "People on the Highway" (4:45) (8/10).

A solid four star album of prog folk: an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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 Think Of Tomorrow by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.75 | 10 ratings

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Think Of Tomorrow
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Six of one, or a half dozen of the other.

Think Of Tomorrow, a 1991 offering from the reconstituted Pentangle, was recorded for the German Hypertension label in, literally, a rush due some bizarre disturbances with airline booking due the quickly escalating Gulf War and the fact that band was caught off guard by the Hypertension's sudden offer to record the group, which resulted in the group not having quite a full album's worth of material to record.

Lead guitar duties were taken up by Bert Jansch's friend Peter Kirtley, a finger style electric blues guitarist, with Nigel Portman Smith and Gerry Conway returning on bass and drums respectively.

What gives most of this material a kick is that Jansch, having fully recovered from alcoholism, was writing some of the best songs of his storied career was combining themes of ecological demise along feeling relationships and combining them with music that sported brilliant melodies.

Standouts include the album's first four songs which display vintage Jansch songwriting such as O'er The Lonely Mountain, Baby It's Over, Share A Dream, and The Storyteller (Paddy's Song). Jaqui Mcshee sings beautifully in a more 'breathy' vocal style and still has great vocal range to match her penchant infuse this material with emotion without sounding cloying.

Kirtley supplies the gritty blues number Meat On The Bone, which would not sound out of place on a Chris Rea album, and the band follows with a composition Ever Yes, Ever Know, which sounds like one the better tracks on Renaissance's Asure D'or album from 1979. Good Stuff.

Unfortunately, the group resort to traditional material such as The Lark In The Clear Air and The Bonny Boy (a Jansch reworking of the trad. song The Trees They Do Grow High), as well a trite pop rock original titled Color My Paint Book, in order to fill up album space which unfortunately puts a damper to the album's last five tracks.

However, when the music on Think Of Tomorrow is good, it's very good. 3 stars.

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 One More Road & Live 1994 by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Live, 2006
3.00 | 1 ratings

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One More Road & Live 1994
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
3 stars Bert leaves the Pentangle on a high note.

Before relinquishing control of the Pentangle name to co-founder Jacqui McShee, Bert Jancsh and the reformed Pentangle recorded a studio album, that was released in 1993, and a live album, released in 1994, for the small but dedicated following of fans that the band still enjoyed in Germany in the nineties and is the basis for this double CD compilation.

The studio material displays the most overt of the band's slightly harder but more conventional, for the times, folk rock sound that would not be out of place with contemporary Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span material. Long gone all the band's trademark jazz flourishes, which seemed to disappear years earlier when double bass great Danny Thompson left the group.

The Pentangle, at this juncture, are still world class musicians and McShee is as brilliant a vocalist as ever.

The key to the success of this material is that Jansch is still a great songwriter, both musically and lyrically, as is displayed on the One More Road studio disc while the band as a whole effortlessly show off their live wares on the live disc titled Live In 1994. Put together by UK's Hux label, both albums are excellently remastered and make a good match. Especially since many of the studio disc's songs sound like they were cut live in the studio, so there's a sonic continuity between the two recordings.

Is this double offering a necessary addition for a Pentangle collector? Probably not. But it is extremely enjoyable to listen to. 3.5 stars.

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 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. 4 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 | 47 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 | 95 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
3.65 | 38 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
3.87 | 42 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 string snaps 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. 5 stars.

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