Talk:Pentangle (band)

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Commoner's Crown[edit]

Surely Commoner's Crown was a Steeleye Span album. The pentangle album of 1972 was Solomon's Seal. Bluewave 14:22, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

No electric rule[edit]

This rule was explicitly stated on the Basket of Light album (applying to that album). However, there are definitely other examples of Renbourn's use of electric guitar before Reflection. On Cruel Sister he plays an elecric guitar, through a fuzz-box, on the song Lord Franklin, as an almost violin-like melody instrument. There is also a more conventional electric guitar solo towards the end of Jack Orion, on the same album. On the instrumental Goodbye Pork Pie hat, from Sweet Child, it sounds to me as though Renbourn is playing an electric (probably a hollow-bodied one, such as a Gibson 335) but my copy of the album was a very poor pressing at the time, and is now completely knackered, so I can't say for certain. Bluewave 14:37, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

The sleeve notes for Sweet Child simply list accoustic guitar and vocal for both Jansch and Renbourne. Being quite convinced of the superiority of accoustic music at the time, I put down the odd guitar tone on the live set to sound engineering. Gradually, though, I came to the conclusion that Renbourne must have been playing electric guitar in some places. (It’s especially noticeable where you are expecting a pure accoustic sound, as in the renaisance dance pieces.) Listening to the first two sides tonight, I was unable to convince myself that he used an accoustic guitar on any one of those tracks. Indeed there are times (notably in No Exit where Jansch sounds pretty electric. (Great album, by the way!) Ian Spackman 02:58, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Removed image: Likely copyvio[edit]

The image is identical to one on the page Old Pentangle Photos Mostly 1969 from the Jacqui McShee and The Pentangle official site. There is a credits line on the bottom right of the picture itself. It seems probable the this is a non-free image and that the licensing info given by the uploader is mistaken. A shame, because it’s a fine photo. Ian Spackman 09:30, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Singles[edit]

My recollection is that the first single released by Pentangle was of the Bert Jansch song "Going Home". Again from recollection, it was a very un-Pentangle-like production with a string orchestra arrangement. Can anyone confirm (or deny)? Bluewave 14:25, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Found it on a compilation. It was called "Travellin' Song" but the bit about "going home" is the chorus. It is the worst thing they ever recorded! Have moved that into singles section. Also added some headings and an album image. Bluewave 20:42, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Light Flight time signature[edit]

Light Flight from Pentangle's Basket of Light is probably in 12/8 time but the best way to count out the time on this classic folk/pop tune is to alternate bars of 5/8 and 7/8 (5+8=12). The bridge is in straight 12/8 or 6/8. This unusual rhythm makes Light Flight a very interseting little gem!

The Basket of Light album sleeve describes it as 5/8, 7/8 and 6/4 and it is described like this on the page about the album. The 6/4 presumably refers to the bridge but I agree that has more of a triplet-time feel to it. A lot of Bert Jansch's songs have odd time signatures but this one works particularly well. At the time it was also very unusual for a song to make it into the charts with such an interesting rhythm. Bluewave 06:39, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I didn't know the band had elaborated on the time signature on the album sleeve. That's an unusual thing in itself, a bit like John Mayall listing the keys of the songs on "Turning Point". There have been a few pop songs with strange-ish time signatures: Jethro Tull's "Living in the Past" and AL Webber's "Everything's Alright" from JC Superstar are both in 5/4. "Solsbury Hill", by Peter Gabriel is in 7/4 and the chorus of Burt Bacharach's "Say a Little Prayer" has one bar of 7/4. There must be plenty of others.

There are plenty of others (John Lennon's "All You Need is Love" and "Good Morning, Good Morning", Pink Floyd's "Money", etc.), but "Living in the Past", both vocal melody and accompaniment pattern, is rhythmically identical to the ostinato accompaniment rhythm in Lalo Schriffin's Mission Impossible theme, and "Everything's All Right", both vocal melody and accompaniment pattern, is rhythmically identical to the ostinato accompaniment rhythm in Paul Desmond's "Take Five", except that "Take Five" uses swing eighths and "Everything's All Right" uses straight eighths. Moreover, Mission Impossible is rhythmically pretty much a Latin version of "Take Five". TheScotch (talk) 11:24, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Re-releases[edit]

It's a bit non-standard to show all the album re-releases one after another. On the other hand it would be a shame to loose this information. How would the Pentanglomaniacs feel about havinging only one entry per album, and putting the catalogue numbers and re-release dates within that article? If there was one article per album this could be done immediately. Unfortunately there are several albums without any article, so there would be a long intermediate phase before we reach complete tidiness, creating a new kind of inconsistency. Either way, it's not satisfactory. Ogg 18:29, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

This particular Pentanglomaniac agrees with you! At the moment the article is a bit unbalanced and would be improved by including more on the history of the band (which I have been meaning to do some work on) and less on the discography. I would actually support doing it immediately, I think. The details about the various albums would not actually be lost and could easily be retrieved from the history files as and when each album gets its own article. Bluewave 08:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Assuming nobody objects to stubs, I can probably get the track listings of the albums that have no article. This might take me a couple of weeks. Ogg 20:18, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Another Pentanglomaniac who agrees with you! Stubs are the way to go, and there are probably people around who can expand them. On which point I recall Bert Jansch saying on a late-night TV programme: ‘I gotta feelin’ that we stole this from somewhere’. Later I heard the same tune played (rather beautifully) on solo sax on the soundtrack of a movie, but failed to catch the credits. Anyone able to identify the copyvio? ±Ian Spackman 16:28, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I think they nicked it from a Miles Davis instrumental. "All Blues" I think. Bluewave 16:54, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah. Now you say it, thirty years later I hear a trumpet! —Ian Spackman 18:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Let No Man Steal Yoar Thyme[edit]

This has been moved from albums to singles. It was a USA-only release, and the correct spelling is "Your Thyme" not "Yoar Thyme". Ogg 11:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

In the UK that song was a track their first album. Are you saying that “across the pond” it was an album title? In which case we should certainly reference it. —Ian Spackman 15:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Just had a look in the Harper book which has a very well-researched UK discography...but doesn't include U.S. releases. So no help there! Bluewave 16:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about the delay in responding to your comments - I didn't make myself clear. "Let No Man Steal your Thyme" is the name of a single, not the name of an album. That's where I transferred the info. The details of this, and the two singles from the 1980's are derived not for the web, but from the hardback "Rock discography" book by Strong. I have been totally unable to find any album called "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme". Ogg 09:20, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Substantial edit 10 March 2007[edit]

I've done quite a substantial edit. The main thing was adding more detail (especially from the Colin Harper book about Jansch). I've tried to keep existing stuff as much as possible. A couple of things I have left out: firstly, the mention of the "Go and Catch a Falling Star" song, regarding the sweet Child album. I left this out because the song wasn't on the original album (it is a bonus track on one of the CD reissues), Secondly the "no electric" rule. I can't find any reference to the rule other than the statement that "All the instruments played on this album are accoustic" [sic] on Basket of Light. However, there is evidence of Renbourn playing electric guitar both before and after that album. I hope I've improved the article....feel free to disagree! Bluewave 17:27, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Main image[edit]

The main image in the infobox has been an album cover. That is regarded as fair use to illustrate the album but is not really acceptable to illustrate the band. I have contacted Bryan Ledgard who took some excellent photos at the BBC Folk Awards and he has sent me a Pentangle picture ("copyright free") to use on the page. I have added that to the page in place of the album cover. Thanks Bryan! Bluewave 10:49, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Categories (Folk rock vs. Electric folk vs....)[edit]

Hi all. I changed the categorisation from Category:Folk rock groups to Category:Electric folk artists (which is a subcategory of the other one). Bluewave changed it back. I can see his point (in that, as he said in his edit comment, their most successful album had no electric instruments), everyone seems to think they were connected with the Fairport/Steeleye/whatever movement at the time (which has sometimes been labelled "Electric folk", and has sometimes been labelled "British folk-rock"). I'm kinda keen to see them in the "Electric folk artists" category, because, whether they were actually Electric folk themselves, I think everyone would agree that they were fairly strongly connected with the movement. However, I'm happy if they also appear in other categories (like "Folk rock groups"). Does anyone else have any thoughts as to what categories they should go in?

-- TimNelson 10:39, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

They are difficult to categorise (see the discussion in the article) because their music was based much more in jazz than in rock. They disliked the term "folk rock" and indeed suggested that Cox was the opposite of a folk rock drummer. However, folk rock is a pretty broad category and seemed to me about the best recognisable genre to use on Wikipedia. Electric folk sounds very odd. For instance, Danny Thompson never played anything but acoustic bass; Jansch might have used an electric guitar on one or two tracks - I think the jury is still out on whether he did or not. Renbourn often used an electric guitar live and sometimes on studio albums. Of the original albums, The Pentangle and Basket of Light were entirely acoustic as was the studio album of Sweet child (the live album has some electric guitar but it is very difficult to tell on most of the tracks whether it is electric or acoustic). The other albums have some light electric guitar from Renbourn on some of the tracks. Pentangle (or perhaps Jo Lustig) made a point of putting a notice on the cover of Basket of light to the effect that all instruments were acoustic, so either they or he must have thought it was an important characteristic of their music. So all-in-all I reckon "electric folk" is not a helpful category. I agree that they are compared with Fairport and Steeleye although there are differences. Do any of the other Pentangle aficianados out there have any helpful suggestions about better categorization? Bluewave 16:53, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. I guess what I want to achieve here is that, when people go to the "Electric folk" category, they will be able to find Pentangle, even though they're not an electric folk band. What would you think if I made a link to Pentangle from Category:Electric folk artists, with a note about how they're not really electric folk, but related?
-- TimNelson 02:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
That seems to me to be exactly what we need;) —Ian Spackman 03:03, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm also interested to note (see http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Folk-Changing-English-Traditional/dp/0195158784) that the Britta Sweers book about Electric Folk takes them as one of the four bands representative of the genre. Obviously I'm not alone in my thoughts :). Does anyone have the Sweers book? -- TimNelson
On the other hand The Electric Muse, The Story of Folk into Rock (Methuen 1975) pretty much starts its bit on Pentangle with the words “Pentangle were not an electric folk band” (Part 4: chapter headed Folk Blues 2: Jansch to Grossman). —Ian Spackman 08:57, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't surprise me. I already know you're not alone in your opinion :). I wasn't seeking to change the consensus with the Sweers comment, just interested that someone seemed to agree with me :).
-- TimNelson 09:43, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
OK I'd go with the suggestion that they're linked to the electric folk category but with a note that they're not very electric. Bluewave 15:02, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that’s right. It’s interesting that the The Electric Muse book (written when Sandy Denny was still alive, to go off on a tangent) had to talk about Pentangle even though they weren’t electric and the author of that section (Robin Denselow) found them musically underwhelming. Of course Pentangle did do some genuinely electric stuff (various tracks on Reflections in particular) but it was neither typical of the band nor honestly very good. The only track they recorded which really benefited from electric guitar which I can think of is Lord Franklin which IIRC has Renbourne playing lead through a fuzz box over his own finger-picked accoustic backing track. But the point about the fuzz box there is that it helps to blend the guitar with an accordian. (Think buzz; think sustain.) Hardly Hendrix. —Ian Spackman 21:38, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, agreed! The fuzz guitar is used as a violin-like sound on that track, really exploiting the sustain effect, but it is not loud in the mix and McShee's vocals soar above it. He also has a short passage of more "conventional" overdriven guitar in Jack Orion on the other side of the same album as it builds to a climax towards the end of the long solo section. I remember at the time a lot of people were underwhelmed by Pentangle. I think that if you were expecting them to sound like electric folk you would be disappointed as they lacked a driving rock drum beat and electric bass. If you were looking for that characteristic rock sound, Fairport's Liege and Leif fitted the bill much better. By comparison, people complained that Pentangle sounded "thin" and "muddled". Personally, I arrived at their music via folk music, rather than rock, and totally fell in love with Pentangle the first time I heard one of their songs (something like "Bruton Town" I think). I still listen to some of that old stuff and marvel at the complexity of the different musical lines threading through it, as well as their virtuosity! Bluewave 07:17, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
As for thin and muddled, I blame that on my speakers, and maybe the recording, not the playing. I was leafing through some records being thrown out, picking out about 5 I liked out of maybe 100 or so, and it just so happened that someone walked past as I was putting "Basket of Light" on the discard pile. He said "Don't you like Pentangle", and I said "I don't know anything about them". He said "They're like Steeleye Span". Having grown up with "Now we are six" (a Span record), I of course kept it, and enjoyed it -- maybe not enjoying *every* song the first time through, but I certainly enjoy them now. Btw, just in case you care, the way to remember how to spell "Lief" is that it's like the end of "belief", not like Leif Eriksson. BTW, I've linked from the Electric folk category.
-- TimNelson 07:32, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about the spelling of Lief! A rather hasty addition to the discussion before dashing for a train to London this morning. Bluewave 21:34, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Solomons seal.png[edit]

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Fair use rationale for Image:Pentangle.png[edit]

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Fair use rationale for Image:Pentangle - Light Flight excerpt.ogg[edit]

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Fair use rationale for Image:Pentangle.png[edit]

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Pentangle/The Pentangle[edit]

Greetings All, (The) Pentangle were known/and billed under both names (see album covers). I think it's worth mentioning somewhere, but not sure how to include it without making it appear excessively important or insignificant. Any ideas? --Technopat (talk) 07:37, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


Someone recently changed a couple of instances to "The Pentangle". I've reverted back, pending discussion. We should be consistent one way or the other. The band themselves have never been consistent on this point (see the album covers for instance). I'm not expressing a strong view for the status quo...only for a consistent approach within Wikipedia. Any views on whether the "The" is peferable or not? Bluewave (talk) 19:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Pentangle gets my vote. That's how I've always known them and that's how all the other Wikipedia languages know them.--ML5 (talk) 22:50, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
A proposal: I doubt if there will be enough people who care to get a meaningful vote one way or the other. I've looked back over the album covers, Jacqui McShee's website, John Renbourn's wesite, etc, and it's pretty clear that the band themselves were (and are) totally unconcerned about whether they are called "Pentangle" or "The Pentangle". I propose we stick with the status quo but change the lead section to say "Pentangle (or The Pentangle) are a band..." and add a footnote explaining that the band themselves and commentators have regularly used both forms, with some examples. Bluewave (talk) 09:13, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, seems sensible. I'm pretty unconcerned myself.--ML5 (talk) 15:22, 4 April 2009 (UTC)