The Pentangle

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Somehow their music's more on my mind than ever at the moment. Something to do with how much there is *going on* in their best work (especially pretty much everything on Basket of Light), so many details that reveal themselves more on repeated listens, such utter confidence and zest for life.

So: classic or dud? Search and destroy?

Robin Carmody, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like them, fiddles are good... this post might actually get me to buying some of their albms like I've planned to for the past year.

Lee, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Classic. The only Pentangle album I have is "Cruel Sister" and I really like it. I don't know why I don't own more of their records. The music is very delicate and atmospheric. Jacqui McShee's vocals are wonderful.

Mark Dixon, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

See, I really like what I've heard, instrumentally, but I have a strong and admittedly irrational aversion to that sort of pure, full- throated folkie singing. I would like to like the Pentangle, but I cannot.

lee g, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
So, Basket of Light is good, then? Do tell...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The first three albums are gorgeous.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

How so? Basket of Light is sitting in a local used records store for $7...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

They're like a slightly poppyier Fairport Convention. Gorgeous harmonies and instrumentation. That's definitely the best of the three albums btw.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Ok, if it's still there, I'll do it. Bert has always beckoned...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I still haven't gotten Basket of Light. It is very lush and pretty British folk music. You should buy it, and if you don't like it, you can always pawn it off on me.

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Anyone heard "Solomon's Seal"?

Bumfluff, Wednesday, 17 November 2004 22:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Basket of Light

Yeah, go ahead buy the LP. I've got the CD reissue which is somewhat spoiled by the bonus tracks, mostly two unreleased takes of "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," which is already on the album. Makes my head to spin.

I like the Bert Jansch album I have a lot, I don't remember the title, maybe it's self-titled, but it's got Needle of Death on it. And the CD bonus tracks are good too.

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 23:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i've only ever heard one Pentangle song but by the second note i thought they were basically the framework for every American Analog Set song. really nice, and i gotta look into more of their stuff.

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 23:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Basket is definitely the best one I've heard, but I still haven't got round to getting Solomon's Seal. Pentangle have their moments, but I've never been a big fan of Jacqui McShee's voice. It's okay some songs, but God it sounds dire when she's trying to sing any blues for instance - it's just all too staid and inflexible. Which is a shame, cos Bert and Danny are especially deft at flicking between styles.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 18 November 2004 14:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

OTM. Maybe it's not a fair comparison but Jacqui McShee is no Sandy Denny. Bert's singing I like, especially on the S/T thing I mentioned.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 18 November 2004 15:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I too prefer that songs that Bert sings over those of Jacqui, but it's Danny Thompson's bass playing that makes Pentangle worthwile, I think: he gives them that jazz side that sets them apart from Fairport Convention etc. See also his playing for Nick Drake, John Martyn, Talk Talk etc

bham, Thursday, 18 November 2004 15:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Classic! I've got three of their first four and like 'em all, with "Basket Of Light" maybe getting the edge. "Days Of The New" and those other worthless "unplugged" bands had no hope of being that good. It was indeed the jazzy rhythm section that made the difference.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 18 November 2004 18:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

And I'll step up for "Solomon's Seal." Maybe not as compelling all the way through as earlier Pentagle, but worth owning for "Sally Free and Easy" and "Willie O'Winsbury." I could listen to this stuff for hours on end, and often to my wife's dismay, I do.

king_oliver (king_oliver), Thursday, 18 November 2004 20:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
sometimes i think they are like "can" + "pairport convention" with lots of space and silent inside the songs.
great stuff,if you are in the right atmosphere.

signed d.c., Monday, 27 February 2006 11:01 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Train Song" is one of my favourites.

Masked Gazza, Monday, 27 February 2006 11:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

i think the first pentangle album is amazing; that's the only one i own.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:14 (twelve years ago) Permalink

da, dap ba doo dah da, dap ba doo dah dah.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Thanks Scatman! Nice seeing footage of these people on Folk Britannia a couple of weeks back, not to mention Fairport, ISB, Davy Graham etc.

NickB (NickB), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

the first three are all good, if you like this sort of thing. they can get a bit to "nice" sounding for my taste.

bb (bbrz), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I have to agree with the poster upthread - Solomon's Seal is my favorite.

TRG (TRG), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Dipping my toe in the water with a copy of 'Basket Of Light' after having their first 4 albums recommended to me by a very enthusiastic guy on Monday night.

krakow, Thursday, 26 November 2009 00:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

How are they holding up live, these days? They're playing the RFH on Monday and there are tonnes of tickets still available. Think i might have to go.

HIS BODY IS FAT BECAUSE HE HAVE BIG HEART (ShariVari), Saturday, 30 July 2011 20:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

I'd love to see them. "Solomon's Seal" and "Cruel Sister" and the first album are all totally classic.

the tune is space, Saturday, 30 July 2011 21:26 (seven years ago) Permalink

would love to see them. listening recently i was struck by how cool the rhythm section is, total jazz dudes mixing it up with british folk. seems unlikely but they make it work.

tylerw, Sunday, 31 July 2011 03:40 (seven years ago) Permalink

They were absolutely wonderful last night. If you ever get the chance to see them, grab it with both hands.

HIS BODY IS FAT BECAUSE HE HAVE BIG HEART (ShariVari), Tuesday, 2 August 2011 07:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

was great yes

conrad, Tuesday, 2 August 2011 09:49 (seven years ago) Permalink

don't suppose there's a US tour in the works...

tylerw, Tuesday, 2 August 2011 14:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

Wow, I didn't even realize they had reformed. I've seen Jansch and I've seen Renbourn and McShee together but I'd love to see them all reunited.

lizard tails, a self-regenerating food source for survival (wk), Tuesday, 2 August 2011 16:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

pentangle is the best band

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 18:49 (five years ago) Permalink

they'd have to be up there in terms of position-by-position most talented bands ever

"If you like the Byrds, try Depeche Mode" (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 1 July 2013 18:52 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah! and maybe it was because they all had other things going (solo or session kinda gigs), but it all seems ego-less. every point of the star shines. (there was probably plenty of ego in the band, but it just doesn't come across that much in the music).

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 19:16 (five years ago) Permalink

Someone MUST have sampled the drums from the start of this!

Gouty_Ted, Monday, 1 July 2013 21:05 (five years ago) Permalink

Don't really get the singer being seated, but good song

i don't even have an internet (Hurting 2), Monday, 1 July 2013 21:55 (five years ago) Permalink

that was her thing -- i think she just said she sang better sitting down?

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 21:56 (five years ago) Permalink

pentangle is a sit-down kinda band

"If you like the Byrds, try Depeche Mode" (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 1 July 2013 22:01 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah I guess, although it's weird, because most singing teachers would tell you no one sings better sitting down.

i don't even have an internet (Hurting 2), Monday, 1 July 2013 22:11 (five years ago) Permalink

Don't usually like to see musos sitting, but Jaqui always sounded so coool--if that's what it took, right on. Speaking of the rhythm section, m check Danny Thompson's work with Richard T (no relation). And don't forget Omnivore's reissue of Bert Jansch's Heartbreak.Vinyl's sold out, but CD incl, prev unreleased Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop, recorded between Heartbreak sessions, which were commissioned by two Cali brothers---well, read on:

dow, Monday, 1 July 2013 22:23 (five years ago) Permalink

Pentangle is one of my most revered (and liked) bands of all time.

I went through a weird phase few years back where I would see Jacqui and Bert in my dreams and other strange things.

So yeah, you could say I was obsessed. Maybe a smidgen.

Also, Danny Thompson has played with them, John Martyn, Kate Bush and David Sylvian. That's a fuckin' resume.

Austin, Tuesday, 2 July 2013 00:27 (five years ago) Permalink

Only recently noticed Terry Cox is on Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ album, makes sense

Gouty_Ted, Tuesday, 2 July 2013 08:15 (five years ago) Permalink

"That's a fuckin' resume" - you left out Nick Drake. And his most recent appearance was on Viv Albertine's album.

mahb, Tuesday, 2 July 2013 12:11 (five years ago) Permalink

He played on with Tim Buckley live too, as per the Dream Letter album.

Filk Hollins (NickB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 12:22 (five years ago) Permalink

Oh, he was on a couple of Talk Talk albums as well including Spirit of Eden of course.

Filk Hollins (NickB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 12:24 (five years ago) Permalink

Anyway, was listening to Sweet Child again the other day, think I could definitely live without Terry's glockenspiel medley. The crowd sound like they're going apeshit after that though, so maybe it's just me.

Filk Hollins (NickB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 12:27 (five years ago) Permalink

ha yeah it must've been visually entertaining.
anyone have any good pentangle live stuff? i've just got that berkeley 1970 show (which is awesome, though I think my copy is sort of flawed?)

tylerw, Tuesday, 2 July 2013 13:45 (five years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

this is COOL

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:12 (two years ago) Permalink

good find!

adam, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:33 (two years ago) Permalink

I went into a lot of detail about Renbourn's roving, ever-intriguing The Attic Tapes---Davy Graham had been to many of those living rooms before him, current occupants would play what they could of what DG had played; JR continued the griot round (later Graham himself turns up, ditto Beverly Martin)(Renbourn was finishing the annotations when he died, but the comments he left us are excellent)---and live adventures with Wizz Jones, Joint Control, the first legit posthumous release, far as I know---in a couple of posts here, last year and this 'un:

ILX Gonna Shine in My Backdoor Someday (new post-Fahey folk for ppl posting in Takoma/Tompkins Square threads Pt II)

dow, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 21:39 (two years ago) Permalink

Found out recently that Jacqui McShee did a Pentangle that didn't have guitars in it. There was a torrent of a live set somewhere i think last week.
It was recorded in Tokyo in July apparently.
just found it.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 22:08 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...


For the first time ever, these PENTANGLE albums are available as a deluxe 7CD box set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation. Each record has been remastered from the best available sources, referencing original tapes and vinyl where relevant. Each album has been expanded with a wealth of bonus material, including choice selections from contemporaneous solo LPs by Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, out-takes and live tracks. Across the package, there are an impressive 22 recordings which are previously unreleased.

Just picked this up. Lovely

Duke, Saturday, 10 March 2018 19:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

That looks like an amazing set; even for someone like who already has all of the proper albums.

It's essentially like "The Complete Pentangle", isn't it? At least for their initial run with the original lineup, anyway.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Saturday, 10 March 2018 20:43 (nine months ago) Permalink

That box is great - I bought it last year when it was first announced. The remastering is fantastic.

grawlix (unperson), Saturday, 10 March 2018 21:44 (nine months ago) Permalink


sleeve, Saturday, 10 March 2018 21:47 (nine months ago) Permalink

It's pretty exhaustive. Often more bonus tracks than album cuts

Duke, Saturday, 10 March 2018 21:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

And £40 is a fair price

Duke, Saturday, 10 March 2018 21:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

I was thinking I had most of the contents cos I had the individual cds anr the old box set. Now looking more essential so should have grabbed it when it came out and appeared in the then open alternative record shop which closed in the new year.
Think I need a new Basket of Light anyway.
Shame they didn't scoop up the video footage at the same time. There's some good stuff around. A couple of near half hour sets in colour and a few shorter bits in b+w.

Stevolende, Saturday, 10 March 2018 22:06 (nine months ago) Permalink

Colin Harper's Dazzling Stranger biography of Bert jansch covers the band quite well from what I can remember. been a few years from when i read it. Not sure where else they're covered in depth.
Looks like there are several new essays etc in the new box so I assume that must include something of a band history. Are the linernotes good?

Harper book mentions taht the guy who promoted the later solo San francisco dates by jansch was teh dad of Flipper's Bruce Loose btw.
I think loose started using Bert's name as a slang term for extreme inebriation or something.

Stevolende, Sunday, 11 March 2018 15:58 (nine months ago) Permalink

I haven't read all of the liner notes. The book has for each album the recording details etc. Then a three page (CD sized pages) essay on each album. Also several pages of interview excerpts ("Pentangle in their own words"); lots of photos and press clippings; and a band chronology - listing all gigs, recording sessions etc

Duke, Sunday, 11 March 2018 16:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Open The Door is SUCH a great album. seriously. and i feel like its an album that even a lot of people who like Pentangle might not own. I don't know if its because its a post-reformation album or because its from the 80s or what. but it deserves more love. it wasn't even an option on the Pentangle albums poll someone did on ILM! i love it from beginning to end.

scott seward, Wednesday, 25 April 2018 18:11 (seven months ago) Permalink

never heard it (renbourn's not on it, right?). but i'll definitely check it out ... i feel like i need to dig into more 80s britfolk leftovers albums, I was just listening to a pretty great 80s June Tabor record.

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 April 2018 18:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

"child of the winter" has spidery guitar / flute duet magick

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 25 April 2018 20:13 (seven months ago) Permalink

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