Friday, 14 September 2018

Pentangle - Basket Of Light (1969)

Once I had a sweetheart....


Released October 1969

Recorded at IBC Studios, London


1. Light Flight
2. Once I Had A Sweetheart
3. Springtime Promises
4. Lyke-Wake Dirge
5. Train Song
6. Hunting Song
7. Sally Go Round The Roses
8. The Cuckoo
9. House Carpenter                                          

After their adventurous jazz-folk debut album, 1968's "The Pentangle", this ground-breaking, remarkably talented and comparatively under-appreciated group returned the following year with this, their second album. It is slightly more folky and less jazzy than the previous album.

"Light Flight" is possibly their best-known track and is jaunty and jazzy in its instrumentation, but harmoniously folky in its airy, floaty "dah-dah-dah-doo-dah" vocal improvisations. The acoustic guitars in it are seriously impressive, as is the shuffling drum rhythm. It is quite infectious. "Once I Had A Sweetheart" is again, very Fairport Convention-like in the Sandy Denny-style vocal delivery and overall feel. The bass is sumptuous on it too as is the Eastern-influenced rock guitar at the end. Like something The Doors would do. "Springtime Promises" is more traditionally folk, with a typically folky, warm, rural-sounding wistful male vocal from Bert Jansch.

The haunting "Lyke Wake Dirge" sung beautifully by Jacqui McShee is a highlight of the album. It has also been covered by Steeleye Span. "Train Song" has some seriously captivating percussion and bass lines and McShee's vocal is again captivating. There is some virtuouso guitar interplay at the end too. "Hunting Song" is an enchanting piece of folk music, six minutes of beautifully sung narrative over gentle instrumentation, crystal clear in sound too.

"Sally Go Round The Roses" is a slightly bluesy and jazzy, lively, upbeat infectious song with some great rhythms and vocals. "The Cuckoo" is a traditional folk song given a sublime vocal treatment from McShee's cut glass voice. This fine folk album ends with the doom-laden tale of "The House Carpenter" which is a version of the traditional ballad used by Steeleye Span called "The Daemon Lover".


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