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The Pentangle - In The Round CD (album) cover

IN THE ROUND

The Pentangle

 

Prog Folk

3.55 | 13 ratings

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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 jazzy 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. None the less, 4 stars is in order.

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.

SteveG | 4/5 |

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