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.
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.
Other than their greatest-hits compilations, this by far is the Dells' finest LP release. Bobby Miller excelled in assembling this strong package. The six-minute-plus "Stay in My Corner" remains a live show staple and R&B classic. Written by Wade Flemons, Bobby Miller, and Barrett "Money" Strong, the epic ballad shattered the belief that pop songs had to be three minutes or less to get airplay; it was a remake of a shorter version by the Dells released on Vee Jay in 1965…
Randy Brecker's debut album features the trumpeter leading two distinct all-star small groups, each with younger brother Michael (who was only 19 when this was recorded) on tenor sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, and Hal Galper on piano. The tunes alternate between jazz-rock (a style the Brecker Brothers were later to successfully exploit) and modern mainstream jazz. There are the customary fades, popular at the time, and a light, though constant, beat throughout that makes the music both accessible and even danceable, an impressive feat considering that virtually all the tunes are originals. The Brecker Brothers exhibit a command of their horns and a maturity that was to serve them well for many years. The recording has weathered the years well, in part because even the fusion pieces never lose their focus, nor do they compromise artistry for popular fads.