Recipients of a Lifetime Achievement gong at the 2007 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Pentangle were one of Britain’s first ‘supergroups’ and remain copper-bottomed bastions of UK folk. It wasn’t always thus. Regarded as quixotic mavericks in their late ‘60s/early ‘70s heyday, the combination of finger-picking guitar maestros Burt Jansch and John Renbourn, airy-piped balladeer Jacqui McShee and the nimble rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox, birthed a unique and remarkable jazz/folk/pop hybrid which few could emulate. Despite this, Pentangle drew rock and folk fans in droves and even troubled the singles chart before the original line-up hit the buffers in 1973. Versions of the band have regularly regrouped since 1981 and a little over a decade after first re-emerging, founders McShee and Jansch teamed up with lead guitarist Peter Kirtley, bassist Nigel Portman-Smith and drummer Gerry Conway to form what many regard as the most effective, post-‘70s Pentangle incarnation.
The first fruit of the collaboration, the One More Road album, appeared in 1994, garnering healthy reviews. On it, McShee’s crystalline voice showed no sign of wear, lending a luminous soprano yearning to the traditional “Will Of Winsbury” and an uncharacteristic contralto ache to the band composition “Travelling Solo”. Jansch was also on fine form – his distinctive picking style both decorous and propulsive on “Oxford City”, his lugubrious vocals leading the picaresque American pioneering yarn, “Lily Of The West”. Though Kirtley’s sinuous solos occasionally hit the spot, the three new recruits are generally rather anonymous – less integral band members, more supporting players. The album suffers too from its overly clinical, squeaky clean, early ‘90s production – too much reverb, too much gloss, not enough flesh and blood.
mp3 VBR~187 kbps | 70 MB | UL
Another great release from Hearth Music, Annie Lou- Grandma’s Rules For Drinkin’ is an ole’ timey floor board tappin’ excursion to Appalachia by way of the Yukon. Excellent fiddlin’ and strummin’ and Annie’s time warp vocalizations combined with great storytelling bring the past and present together in this outstanding album.Grandma’s Rules for Drinking features the songwriting, singing, and guitar/banjo work of Anne Louise Genest, who spent twenty-two years in the Yukon woods. Recorded in Toronto, the album features the prodigious old-time fiddling of John Showman (New Country Rehab), the clawhammer banjo of Kim Barlow and Frank Evans, with Max Heineman (Foggy Hogtown Boys) on upright bass. The album was produced by multiple Juno-nominee Andrew Collins of Canadian alt-stringband The Creaking Tree String Quartet. Collins brought his extensive experience of pushing the boundaries of traditional music, plus some burning mandolin playing.
mp3 160 kbps | 53 MB | UL
Pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Keith Tippett’s first album, You Are Here…I Am There, was issued in 1969, and received some notice as the work of an ambitious composer looking for a voice. Apparently, by the time he recorded Dedicated to You, But You Weren’t Listening, which was released in 1971, he’d found it in spades. Tippett has become one of the great lights of the British free jazz movement, and for more than 30 years he has led groups of improvising musicians, from two to 40 in number, on some of the most exploratory and revelatory harmonic adventures in musical history — whether those in America know it or not. The band here is comprised of 11 pieces, including Elton Dean, Robert Wyatt, Nick Evans, Roy Babbington, Gary Boyle, Neville Whitehead, and others. The commitment to jazz here is total, as Tippett grafts the dynamic sensibilities of George Russell, the textural and chromatic palettes of Gil Evans, and the sheer force of Oliver Nelson onto his own palette. The interplay between soloists and ensembles is dazzling — check “Thoughts for Geoff,” with blazing solos by Nick Evans, cornetist Marc Charig, and Tippett himself in a series of angular arpeggios interspersed with chordal elocution. Wyatt’s drumming, which opens the record with a bang on “This Is What Happens,” is easily the most inspired of his career on record. The nod to Mingus on “Green and Orange Night Park” is more than formal; it’s an engagement with some of the same melodic constructs Mingus was working out in New Tijuana Moods. In sum, this is an adventurous kind of jazz that still swings very hard despite its dissonance and regards a written chart as something more than a constraint to creative expression. Brilliant. The CD reissue by Disconforme is fantastic in sound and in package.