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Early Classics
Early Classics
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Pentangle
Title: Early Classics
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Shanachie
Release Date: 6/22/1992
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Traditional Folk, British & Celtic Folk, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 016351797827, 016351797841, 669910083253

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CD Reviews

Rich Collection of Pleasantly Familiar Old Songs plus Jacqui
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"`Pentangle Early Classics' (14 tracks from) and `John Barleycorn' (13 tracks) by the John Renbourn group are two albums of a kind with nearly identical personnel (Bert Jansch is not in the John Renbourn group) recorded between 1967 and 1977 with the Pentangle's material being the earlier.

I review these two together because of their similarities so that anyone who wishes just one can have some basis for deciding between the two.

Personally, I think the Pentangle recording is preferable, even with the similarity in material and personnel. My first reason is very personal, as I bought the very first Pentangle album as an English import when it was first released in, I believe, 1968. At the time, I was under the spell of The Incredible String Band and I had not yet heard of Jansch and Renbourn, so I was hoping for more of the Robin Williamson style of Celtic influenced original material.

What I got was a lot different, but better for that fact. Jansch and Renbourn are great acoustic guitarists who cover the range of guitar material, but specialize in traditional British music of days gone by. The group The Pentangle focused on that speciality and came out with several albums in quick succession with lots of great old English folksongs, the kind that Joan Baez started out with, except that The Pentangle really made them sound interesting.

In fact, as I listen to them today, it makes me wonder why so many of the songs, certainly written by men, dealt with the tragedies of womens' lives. These must have been the soap operas of Medieval England, in between visits by traveling minstrels and companies of actors (See `Hamlet'). This `Pentangle' album is a selection of pieces from their first two albums that I have been listening to for the last 35 years.

The John Renbourn Group album, in contrast, has much of the similar kind of traditional material. But, aside from the title track `John Barleycorn', the songs seem less familiar to the non-specialist. Ten of the thirteen tracks are `Traditional' and the three remaining tracks are instrumentals featuring Renbourn and his sidemen. If I had to buy an album to get `John Barleycorn', I would get the great album of the same name by Traffic.

Both albums feature vocals by Jacqui McShee, who may be my very favorite folk vocalist. She may not have the writing chops of Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention, but I really love her evocative voice that really fits the material to a tee on both albums.

So, as an amateur commentator on interpretation of old English folksongs, I recommend both, with a slight edge to the Pentangle material, as just a bit stronger selection of material. I guess they got to all the good stuff first.

Note that while the album is billed as a 'Double Album', it isn't. There is only one CD in the Jewel Case.
Pentangle - one of the best groups in any genre
janschbern | 07/14/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Two supremely talented steel string guitar playrers - a fantastic rhythm section - great song selection - a beautiful soprano female vocalist - the two guitarist with questionable vocal abilities but sincerity and talent to spare - Bert Jansch and John Renbourne can solo, accompany, swing, rock, compose ... when they are good they are great ... the ultimate followup piece is Bert Jansh's solo "Angie" - now how many fingers does he really have? ... or John Renbourne's later solo albums and collaborations with Stefan Grossman ... Pentangle had its successes - and they played real music - no samples, syntesizers, midi drums ... real strumming, picking, banging, singing - and songs that say something (most times). Recommended without reserve - try some of their live performance recordings for exposure to their musciality and ensemble interplay. They have been around in various forms since the mid 1960's - so there is lots to discover. For those that don't know P! ! entagle as a group or in its many divisions, I call that good luck. Happy listening."
A pleasant return
T. P. Russell | Wichita, KS United States | 01/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rereleased by Shenachie this is well worth a listen. In an age where volume supercedes all features, talent is displayed continuously on this. It also features Bert Jansch and Jon Renbourne in cuts from 69-72. Quite relaxing and well done , reminding me of the Lindisfarne Tir na Nog and Renaissance lps."