Pentangle earned its inclusion in the holy trinity of British folk-rock -- along with Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span -- through a combination of vision, tenacity, and the virtuoso guitar playing of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. At their peak they were a force of nature, seamlessly incorporating blues and jazz into the structured world of traditional folk like culinary graduates in their first real kitchen. The Lost Broadcasts: 1968-1972, consisting of 41 tracks from their numerous appearances on BBC radio, serves as a window into the group's most prolific era. Originally released in the mid-'90s on Live at the BBC and On Air as a nine-song set, Broadcasts features 12 cuts from BBC transcription discs and 20-odd tunes recorded off-air from AM broadcasts by devoted fan and collector David Moore. The decidedly lo-fi sound on the majority of cuts may turn away the curious, but fans will grin from ear to ear as the band blows through classics like "Light Flight," "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme," and a truly spooky version of "Hunting Song." While the arrangements closely mirror the original studio takes, the performances expound on them. Jacqui McShee, who was blessed with one of the clearest yet often weak in comparison to Maddy Prior and Sandy Denny voices of the genre, displays complete power on these sessions, making one wonder if the studio was an improper environment for her considerable talents. The previously unreleased "Name of the Game," originally recorded for the soundtrack to a film called Tam Lin, showcases Renbourn and Jansch's dual assault, and Danny Thompson, who was absent from a few recordings due to a wrist injury, provides a wicked bass solo on "I've Got a Feeling." Sound quality aside, Lost Broadcasts delivers what many devotees have been craving for decades, a snapshot of one of British folk's most versatile collectives at their creative peak.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2