Sweet Child, released in 1968, at the peak of Pentangle's career, is probably the most representative of their work. A sprawling two-record set, half recorded in the studio and half live at the Royal Festival Hall, showcases just how versatile Pentangle was in their unique brand of English folk, jazz, Celtic, blues, and pop styles. Some of the live covers are easily their finest performances. Furry Lewis' "Turn Your Money Green," sung by the delightful Jacqui McShee, swings sweetly, buttressed of course by John Renbourn and Bert Jansch's guitar tapestry. Charlie Mingus' "Haitian Flight Song" features a great solo by bassist Danny Thompson, who was easily one of the finest musicians to grace the instrument. The studio tracks are uniformly excellent as well, especially "The Time Has Come," which turns waltz time inside out. McShee, Renbourn, and Jansch all turn in career performances on this track. But these examples merely scratch the surface of Pentangle's peak. In all, Sweet Child is an awesome and delightful collection, and probably their finest hour.
Solomon's Seal was an album recorded in 1972 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the last album recorded by the original line-up, before the band split in 1973. Jacqui McShee has stated that it is her favourite Pentangle album. The album title refers to the Seal of Solomon - a mythical signet ring with magical powers, sometimes associated with the pentagram symbol adopted by Pentangle.
Remastered reissue of the British folk-rock act's 1968 debut album. Divided between traditional and original material, highlights included their arrangement of 'Bruton Town' and the seven-minute instrumental laden 'Pentangling'. This CD also features 7 bonus tracks 'Koan' (alt. version), 'The Wheel' (alt. version), 'The Casbah' (alt. Version), 'Bruton Town' (edit 1/5/3), 'Hear My Call' (alt. Version), 'Way Behind The Sun' (alt version) & 'Way Behind The Sun' (Instrumental).
Sanctuary's mammoth triple-disc Pentangle overview poses a bit of a dilemma. First of all, it's called Pentangling, which is already the name of a 1973 compilation, and secondly, while not deliberately misleading, it focuses more attention on the solo careers of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch than it does on the entity that supplies the collection's title. Despite these petty gripes, Pentangling is filled to the brim with some of the finest recordings the British folk movement had to offer, and hearing the group as a whole, followed by an entire disc – one apiece – of two of the genre's most gifted guitarists, is rewarding in more ways than one: both men, as well as the band, released material well into the 21st century, but Pentangling focuses only on their treasured late-'60s/early-'70s output. Listeners looking for a more comprehensive take on Pentangle would be better off with Castle's excellent Light Flight: The Anthology, and Renbourn and Jansch both have lovingly packaged retrospectives that fare better than the ones offered here, but as far as entry points go, Pentangling does more than skim the surface.
Pentangle were always great at creating musical fusions, and on this album, they once again came through. The opening song, "Wedding Dress," is a fabulous meeting of Celtic, country, and, believe it or not, funk. It's one of the few songs of theirs that actually rocks. The rest of the record is classic Pentangle, with Bert Jansch's and John Renbourn's acoustic guitars intermingling so well that it would make even Neil Young and Stephen Stills a little envious. Jacqui McShee, as usual, has some exquisite vocal moments, namely the previously mentioned "Wedding Dress" and an excellent reading of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." This track shows how the group was further exploring new musical ground, this time with traditional American folk/gospel. The group's rhythm section of Danny Thompson (upright bass/cello) and Terry Cox (percussion) – easily one of the most inventive on the planet – shines on every cut, creating solid ground for Renbourn, McShee, and Jansch to do their high-wire act on vocals and guitar. One of their finest all-around albums.
On their self-titled debut album, the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation flashed a British blues-rock approach that was rather similar to that of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers circa 1967. That was unsurprising considering that leader and drummer Dunbar had played on the Bluesbreakers' 1967 A Hard Road album, and that bassist Alex Dmochowski would later play with Mayall himself. Although everyone in the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation was a skilled player, the record ultimately comes off as rather second-division late-'60s British blues, though in a little heavier and darker a style than Mayall's. That's not to say it's mediocre, but the material (mostly original) is only average, and not quite up to the level of the musicians' instrumental proficiency. Too, Victor Brox isn't the greatest singer, though he's okay, and while Jon Morshead plays guitar well, his style sometimes seems quite influenced by Peter Green (listen especially to his work on the cover of Percy Mayfield's "Memory of Pain").