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Mention the name Pentangle to fans and you'll probably witness the same bliss-dazed state affected in cartoons by faeries' wands and frying pans. Fans are likely to slip into a daze of adulation characterized by dilated pupils and a string of back-lit cliches like "inspired," "sublime" and "magical." Indeed, it's difficult to do the original 1969-1973 lineup justice without sounding smarmy. The partnership of Bert Jansch and John Renbourne brought together two legendary fingerpickers -- adherents of a style far surpassing plodding thumb-strumming in difficulty and range. Singer Jacqui McShee was no less of an asset to the group; words passed as smoothly and brilliantly through her vocal chords as light through a prism. Next to Jansch's stony deadpan, her vibrato soars. Bringing together the disparate influences of jazz, traditional British Folk songs, and even the blues, Pentangle thatched their sundry roots into daring, unpredictable albums that roved merrily o'er the channel and overseas. The band gathered timeless yarns, spinning them anew into a lush fabric of folk/jazz. Pentangle continued performing throughout the '80s and '90s, and though the late material rarely possesses the stature of the early work, it can still charm.
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