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The Pentangle - Reflection (1971)



Nie ma sensu przedstawianie grupy The Pentangle - zainteresowanych odsyłam do przeróznych i ogólnodostępnych "Encyklopedii Rocka" (np. W. Weissa). Postanowiłem przedstawić tę płytę bowiem należ według mnie do najciekawszych. Zespół zawsze dryfował w kierunku jazzu, a tu dobitnie to słuchać w tytułowym nagraniu "Reflection".

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Fresh, intimate, strangely funky, beautifully melancholic, Reflection sank like a stone in 1971. Now it's time to welcome it back. From their first release The Pentangle (1968) to their best selling Basket Of Light (1969), Pentangle carved out a unique sound shot through with jazz and blues, seamlessly grafting their native folk onto a more contemporary rootstock. But with declining popularity, personal problems, business shenanigans and fights within the band fuelled by alcohol, Reflection was begun.

Along with John Renbourne and Bert Jansch, both top-notch acoustic guitarists, stand Danny Thompson and Terry Cox, experienced hands on the blues and jazz scene (via Alexis Korner). This combination, set off by the beguiling vocals of Jacqui McShee, set Pentangle apart from the usual expectations of a folk act. While "Wedding Dress", "Omie Wise", "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" and "Rain And Snow" represent the more traditional Appalachian end of the album, they are freshly and compellingly interpreted.

On "Helping Hands", John Renbourne addssilky wah wah ad-libs to a sublime west coast hip(py) groove.On "So Clear", his sweetly understated vocal accompanies a picked guitar backdrop, before the songbuilds to a jazzier workout with Cox and Thompson pushing the groove 'till you're convinced it will fall apart. Bert Jansch's "When I Get Home" is reminiscent of Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side", coming a year before it and sharing the groove and atmosphere, if not the sentiment. Considering Reed's band of Brits (Herbie Flowers, Mick Ronson etc), its perhaps not so surprising.

For me, "Reflection" is marred only by the double tracking of McShee's vocal. Elsewhere her voice is warm and expressive. The track oscillates between straight-ahead one chord blues and a looser 12/8 swing, including a surprisingly tasteful drum solo. Nice to hear a snare drum with gravitas and not tuned up to within an inch of its life. I can hear within its rolling, mesmeric beats and motifs more than a hint of Chico Hamilton, and Renbourne's part may even be lifted directly from said jazzman.

With its sympathetic and transparent production (Bill Leader providing the safe pair of hands) this record still sounds great 30 years on. (Darren Overs Pearson)



Reflection was an album recorded in 1971 by folk-rock band Pentangle: Terry Cox, Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson. The folk numbers on this album are more Appalachian than British—in both the selection of songs and the arrangements, with notable use of banjos. The songs include "Wedding dress", "Omie Wise", "Rain and snow" and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". This song includes some delicate wah-wah electric guitar and blues harmonica.

Amongst their own compositions, "When I Get Home" is a Jansch song, accompanied by his folk guitar plus a jazz lead guitar line by Renbourn. The song depicts a man getting drunk at a party, whilst his woman waits for him at home—sung with feeling by Jansch. "So Clear" (a rare John Renbourn composition for the band) is a number in which the whole band work together as a team, reminiscent of some of their earliest work. "Reflection", the title song of the album is an atmospheric piece, beginning with triple-tracked bowed and plucked double bass and ending with an improvisational jazzy section.

The album was recorded over a three-week period in March 1971, at a time when the tensions between the band members were high. Different band members were continually threatening to leave and attendance by Jansch and Renbourn at the recording sessions was dependent on their state of sobriety. Nevertheless, Reflection is highly regarded for its recording quality (the only Pentangle album to make full use of a 16-track studio) and was creatively successful. (wikipedia)

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