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The Pentangle - Reflection CD (album) cover

REFLECTION

The Pentangle

 

Prog Folk

3.44 | 34 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Will the Pentangle be unbroken?

By 1971, the strain of working together and of working in the music business in general, was starting to take its toll on members of Pentangle. The atmosphere between the band and their record label was souring rapidly and alcohol was playing an ever increasing part in the creative process. On the plus side, this album was recorded on state of the art 16 track equipment, improving the sound quality of the finished product enormously. After the entirely traditional "Cruel sister", here the band revert to a mixture of band compositions and traditional material, the 11 minute feature (title) track being one of those written by the band.

The opening "Wedding dress" has a real bluegrass feel, Jackie McShee sounding a little like Emmylou Harris (the song is similar to Harris' "Deeper well"). "Omie Wise" returns us to the Atlantic's eastern shores, John Renbourn delivering this traditional folk song without great embellishment. "Will the circle be unbroken" is undoubtedly the best known of the traditional numbers here. The song was first made famous by the Carter Family, but has since been covered by almost as many artists as "Yesterday"! McShee's pure voice is perfect for this pleasantly mournful piece which inevitably invites audience participation on the infectious chorus.

"When I get home" is the first of the band compositions. The song has the feel of one of Fairport Convention's early Bob Dylan covers, but to these ears sounds decidedly ordinary among its peers. On the other hand, "Rain and snow" is a personal favourite, this light traditional air offering McShee an opportunity to do her best Joni Mitchell impersonation.

The second side (of the original LP) is altogether more reflective. "Helping hand" is a drifting, downbeat affair with a west coat feel. "So clear" continues in a similar vein, perhaps with hints of Simon and Garfunkel. The lengthy title track takes us towards prog folk territories, the sparse violin and acoustic guitar conversation which opens the track eventually giving way to a fine multi-tracked vocal performance by McShee. The track however gradually settles down into a more orthodox soft folk number.

In all, an enjoyable if rather understated album from this fine band. Those who enjoyed their previous works are sure to find this to their liking too.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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