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The Pentangle - Cruel Sister CD (album) cover


The Pentangle


Prog Folk

3.41 | 57 ratings

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3 stars "Cruel Sister" finds PENTANGLE succumbing to the trends of the dawn of the 1970s by including electric guitar and a side long epic - after all, nearly everyone else was doing it. On the whole, it's handled well technically but lacking somewhat emotionally.

Needless to say, the highlight for die-hard proggies is the 18 minute + "Jack Orion", even if it is really an extended trad styled folk song with a few jams and some lead guitar thrown in. It's really not much more than an extension of some of the themes first presented on their debut, although they've thankfully had their fill of Celtified Motown by now. For me the real highlight is the lovely title tune: granted this has as much to do with the haunting beauty of the melody and lyrics than the interpretation. In fact I first heard it interpreted by JEAN REDPATH under a different title and was smitten.

Elsewhere, it's more of a mixed bag. McShee and Jansch overdo it with understatement and sing with all the feeling of subjects under a hypnotist's spell. "A Maid that's Deep in Love" shows where the embryonic CLANNAD would get its material and stylistic start, but that Irish family struck at the heart of the subject matter and carried it as much with emotion as with their own jazzy flair. "Lord Franklin" finds a credible lead from Jansch ably backed by McShee, again a bit tightly wound and controlled for my tastes.

PENTANGLE was certainly a pioneering group, but "Cruel Sister" demonstrates their limitations and why they would eventually be surpassed by younger and more invested siblings.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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