Sunday, January 20, 2008

Basket of Sounds

Picked up another couple of discs over the holidays. First up is The Dragons' BFI [Ninja Tune ZENCD135] which sounded interesting, judging by the reviews. It was originally recorded in 1969/1970 and remained unreleased apart from a track included on a mid-70's surf soundtrack. Long story short, Strictly Kev of Ninja Tune discovered the soundtrack and contacted Dennis Dragon who informed him that there was an entire lp's worth of material that Dennis recorded with his brothers Doug and Daryl. Trivia note: Daryl Dragon gained fame as "The Captain" of The Captain & Tennille).

First things first, despite what every other review states, this is not a psychedelic record. Nope. It's a progressive rock album with a touch of soul and a very good one at that. The band's arrangements call to mind the British prog band Second Hand and in a strange way, Steely Dan (probably due to the jazziness of the arrangements).

Decided after many years to investigate the legendary jazz/folk band The Pentangle. After asking for suggested titles on the Up-Tight music list, I settled on 1969's Basket of Light. I was immediately taken with Jacqui McShee's vocals: clear as a bell with an ability to soar. The instrumental backing is of course first-rate, but that is to be expected when Bert Jansch (Guitar), John Renbourn (Guitar & Sitar), Danny Thompson (Double Bass) and Terry Cox (drums) are on board. Musically quite eclectic and adventurous.

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