Solomon's Seal (album)

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Solomon's Seal
Solomons seal.png
Studio album by Pentangle
Released September 1972
Genre Folk, folk rock [1]
Length33:58
Label Reprise
Producer Pentangle & John Wood
Pentangle chronology
Reflection
(1971)
Solomon's Seal
(1972)
History Book
(1972)

Solomon's Seal is an album recorded in 1972 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the last album recorded by the original line-up, before the band split in 1973. Jacqui McShee has stated that it is her favourite Pentangle album. [2] The album title refers to the Seal of Solomon — a mythical signet ring with magical powers, sometimes associated with the pentagram symbol adopted by Pentangle.

Pentangle may refer to:

Seal of Solomon Wikimedia disambiguation page

The Seal of Solomon is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in medieval Jewish tradition and in Islamic and Western occultism. It was often depicted in either a pentagram or hexagram shape; the latter also known as the Star of David in Jewish tradition.

Pentagram star polygon

A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star.

Contents

Solomon's Seal was recorded at Sound Techniques studio, London, between February and March 1972. Pentangle's contract with Transatlantic had expired and, amid a dispute with Transatlantic over royalties, the band had switched allegiance to Warner/Reprise, who had been their U.S. distributor. The album was released in September 1972, to coincide with the start of Pentangle's new tour. However, by the start of 1973, the band had split and sales of the album were disappointing, leaving the band members still paying off their debts, against the album's advance royalties, into the early 1980s. [3]

Sound Techniques was a recording studio in Chelsea, London that was operational between 1965 and 1976. Housed in a former dairy, it was founded by recording engineers Geoff Frost and John Wood. The studio became well known as the place where many of the folk-rock acts signed to Joe Boyd's Witchseason publishing company, such as Fairport Convention, Nick Drake and John Martyn, recorded their albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it was also the studio where early records by Pink Floyd, Elton John and Jethro Tull were made.

The album opens with their version of Cyril Tawney's song of a sailor's lost love: "Sally Free and Easy". Unlike its usual rendition as a sea shanty, Pentangle treat this to a slow bluesy rhythm.

Cyril Tawney was an English singer-songwriter and a proponent of the traditional songs of the West of England, as well as traditional and modern maritime songs.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [1]

Retrospective reviews generally described Solomon's Seal as a low point for Pentangle. Allmusic commented that "Ultimately, there's nothing seriously wrong with the record, other than a certain complacency and lack of the fiery inspiration and risk-taking that had fueled their greatest previous heights." They added that "none of the individual tracks would rate among their best." [1] Colin Harper wrote "Solomon's Seal is a record of people's weariness, but also the product of a unit whose members were still among the best players, writers and musical interpreters of their day." [4]

Track listing

All songs written by Terry Cox, Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson, except where noted.

Terence William Harvey 'Terry' Cox played drums in the British folk-jazz band Pentangle, and folk-rock bands Duffy's Nucleus and Humblebums.

Bert Jansch Scottish folk musician

Herbert Jansch was a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle. He was born in Glasgow and came to prominence in London in the 1960s, as an acoustic guitarist, as well as a singer-songwriter. He recorded at least 25 albums and toured extensively from the 1960s to the 21st century.

Jacqui McShee British singer

Jacqueline 'Jacqui' McShee is an English singer. Since 1966 she has performed with Pentangle, a jazz-influenced folk rock band.

  1. "Sally Free And Easy" (Cyril Tawney) – 3:55
  2. "The Cherry Tree Carol" (traditional, arranged by Jansch, Renbourn, Thompson, Cox, McShee) – 2:57
  3. "The Snows" – 3:43
  4. "High Germany" (traditional, arranged by Jansch, Renbourn, Thompson, Cox, McShee) – 3:15
  5. "People On The Highway" – 4:46
  6. "Willy O' Winsbury" (traditional, arranged by Jansch, Renbourn, Thompson, Cox, McShee) – 6:50
  7. "No Love Is Sorrow" – 2:41
  8. "Jump Baby Jump" – 3:10
  9. "Lady Of Carlisle" (traditional, arranged by Jansch, Renbourn, Thompson, Cox, McShee) – 4:41

"The Snows" is listed as a Pentangle composition but is actually a traditional song, previously recorded by both Archie Fisher and Anne Briggs.

Archie Macdonald Fisher MBE is a Scottish folk singer and songwriter. He has released several solo albums since his first, eponymous album in 1968. Fisher composed the song, "The Final Trawl," which he recorded on the album, Windward Away. Several other groups and singers, including The Clancy Brothers, have also recorded it. Starting in the mid-1970s, he produced four folk albums with Makem and Clancy. He also performed with them and other groups as a backup singer and guitarist. He hosted his own radio show on BBC Radio Scotland for almost three decades.

Anne Patricia Briggs is an English folk singer. Although she travelled widely in the 1960s and early 1970s, appearing at folk clubs and venues in England and Ireland, she never aspired to commercial success or to achieve widespread public acknowledgment of her music. However, she was an influential figure in the English folk music revival, being a source of songs and musical inspiration for others such as A. L. Lloyd, Bert Jansch, Jimmy Page, The Watersons, June Tabor, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Maddy Prior.

Personnel

Release history

Solomon's Seal was released in 1972 in the UK as Reprise K44197 and in the USA as Reprise 2100.

A digitally remastered version was released on CD in 2003, as Castle CMQCD555. This was produced from a tape owned by John Renbourn as the original masters were believed to be lost. However, the original master tapes have since been found in the U.S.A. [5]

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Pentangle are a British folk-jazz band with an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, blues and folk rock influences. The original band was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a later version has been active since the early 1980s. The original line-up, which was unchanged throughout the band's first incarnation (1967–1973), was: Jacqui McShee (vocals); John Renbourn ; Bert Jansch ; Danny Thompson ; and Terry Cox (drums).

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Solomon's Seal at AllMusic
  2. Harper, Colin (2006). Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival (2006 edition). Bloomsbury. p. 237. ISBN   0-7475-8725-6.
  3. Harper p.268
  4. Harper p.237
  5. Harper p.375