Pentangle – Sister Cruel (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgCruel Sister was an album recorded in 1970 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the most folk-based of the albums recorded by the band, with all the tracks being versions of traditional songs. Whereas their previous album had been produced by Shel Talmy, and featured quite a heavily produced, commercial sound, Cruel Sister was produced by Bill Leader, noted for his recordings of folk musicians.

“Lord Franklin” is a version of the traditional ballad, also known as “Lady Franklin’s Lament”, which describes Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. John Renbourn sings the lead vocal and plays both acoustic and electric guitar.

“Cruel sister”, the song which provides the title for the album, is a traditional ballad (known in some versions as The Twa Sisters), telling the story of the violent rivalry between two sisters for the love of a knight.

The whole of side two of the album is taken up with an extended version of the ballad “Jack Orion”, previously recorded by Jansch on his own Jack Orion album. “Jack Orion” is a version of the Child ballad “Glasgerion”. The arrangement on Cruel Sister develops through several sections with different rhythms and instrumentation.

The album cover features engravings by Albrecht Dürer. The front cover displays his “The Men’s Bath” (Das Männerbad) (date unknown). The picture on the back cover is his The Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder), dating from 1498. (by wikipedia)

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Originally released in 1970, this was the fourth release from the British folk-rock group Pentangle and may qualify as their swan song. With only five songs, Jacqui McShee, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Terry Cox, and Danny Thompson create a dense, layered sound that is woven within the fabric of each song like a tapestry. Although known for their eclectic approach and love of jazz, here the group concentrates on traditional material like “A Maid That’s Deep in Love” and the 18-minute “Jack Orion.” A Pentangle fan will immediately note that John Renbourn is playing an electric guitar on “A Maid That’s Deep in Love.” This departure from purely acoustic doesn’t create a bigger Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span sound but is imbedded quietly into the song.

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What really sets both this song and “When I Was in My Prime” apart is McShee’s clear, vibrant vocals. On “When I Was in My Prime,” she sings unaccompanied, proving that her talent runs as deep as the better-known Jansch and Renbourn. The seven-minute title cut also features McShee singing an absolutely lovely ballad with darker undertones. Renbourn sings the enjoyable though straightforward “Lord Franklin.” The crowning jewel of this masterpiece is the epic “Jack Orion,” though one has difficulty imagining what possessed Pentangle to record a folk song that took up an entire side of an album. Jansch shares vocals with McShee on this multiple part song, and generous time is left for Renbourn to turn in a bluesy, then jazzy, electric solo. Cruel Sister shows Pentangle at their artistic height, combining all of their skill and inspiration to create a vital and enduring album. (by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.)

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Personnel:
Terry Cox (drums, percussion, dulcitone, vocals)
Bert Jansch (guitar, dulcimer, concertina, recorder, vocals)
Jacqui McShee (vocals)
John Renbourn (guitar, sitar, recorder, vocals)
Danny Thompson – double bass (1, 4, 5)

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Tracklist:
01. A Maid That’s Deep In Love 5.27
02. When I Was In My Prime 2.53
03. Lord Franklin 3.28
04. Cruel Sister 7.00
05. Jack Orion 18.36

All songs: Traditionals

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German labels

Pentangle – So Early In The Spring (1989)

FrontCover1.jpgSo Early in the Spring is the ninth album by Pentangle.

Pentangle had become a bit like Steeleye Span by the 1990s, a legacy from which the key members, however high they might fly in their solo careers, would never entirely escape. Hence, Bert Jansch and Jacqui McShee cut this record with a new lineup featuring ex-Lindisfarne co-founder Rod Clements (electric guitar, mandolin), ex-Fairport Convention Gerry Conway (drums), and Nigel Portman-Smith (bass, keyboards). McShee’s voice has the purity, if not the power and range, that she displayed on the band’s classic sides, and Jansch and company can play as well as ever. And they still have an original approach to the folk repertory — “So Early In the Spring” is offered in a tempo that makes it lope along while McShee’s singing soars above it. The only drawback on the harder-rocking sides is Conway’s drumming, which is too prominent. McShee’s performance on “The Blacksmith” is laced with poignancy as well as virtuosity, and Jansch sings superbly on “Reynardine” — and when their voices join together on the last verse, the listener’s spine may tingle in pleasure.

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Clements takes a fine, rippling solo on “Bramble Briar”; the group shows off its acoustic side on the cautionary folk number “Lassie Gathering Nuts”; and “Gaea” presents a more modern, pop-jazz sound, which was very much a part of the original group’s orientation. It would be nice to report that the epic “The Baron of Brackley” ended the album well, but it lacks enough invention to sustain its eight-minute length. Tony Roberts guests on flute and whistle for several tracks, adding another sound to this welcome mix of folk-rock. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Rod Clements (mandolin, guitar)
Gerry Conway (drums, percussion)
Bert Jansch (guitar, vocals(
Jacqui McShee (vocals)
Nigel Portman Smith (keyboards, bass)

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Tracklist:
01. So Early In The Spring (Traditional) 5.40
02. The Blacksmith (Traditional) 3.23
03. Reynardine (Traditional) 4.21
04. Eminstra (Clements/Conway/Jansch/McShee/Portman-Smith) 3.58
05. Lucky Black Cat (Clements/Conway/Jansch/McShee/Portman-Smith) 3.17
06. Bramble Briar (Traditional) 5.54
07. Lassie Gathering Nuts (Traditional) 5.03
08. Gaea (Traditional) 4.47
09. The Baron O’ Brackley (Traditional) 7.45

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Pentangle – BBC In Concert (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgPentangle (or The Pentangle) are a British folk-jazz band with an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, blues and folk rock influences. The original band were active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a later version have been active since the early 1980s. The original line-up, which was unchanged throughout the band’s first incarnation (1967–1973), was: Jacqui McShee, vocals; John Renbourn, vocals and guitar; Bert Jansch, vocals and guitar; Danny Thompson, double bass; and Terry Cox, drums.

The name Pentangle was chosen to represent the five members of the band, and is also the device on Sir Gawain’s shield in the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which held a fascination for Renbourn.

Pentangle 01In 2007, the original members of the band were reunited to receive a Lifetime Achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and to record a short concert that was broadcast on BBC radio. In June 2008, the band, comprising all five original members, embarked on a twelve-date UK tour. (by wikipedia)

And here´s another item from my bootleg collection .. .and pretty good BBC concert … full of romantic tunes form the past !

Without any doubts, Pentangle was one of the finest britisch bands from the British Folk Scene in the early Seventies ..

Listen to the BBC concdert and you´ll know what I mean.

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Personnel:
Terry Cox (drums, percussion, vocals)
Bert Jansch (vocals, guitar)
Jacqui McShee (vocals)
John Renbourn (vocals, guitar)
Danny Thompson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Train Song (Traditional) 4.04
02. Hunting Song (Traditional) 7.37
03. Light Flight (Thompson/Jansch/Renbourn/Cox/McShee) 3.25
04. Blues In Time (Thompson/Jansch/Renbourn/Cox) 4.25
05. House Carpenter (Traditional) 6.02
06. I`ve Got A Feeling (Thompson/Jansch/Renbourn/Cox/McShee) 4.16

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