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The best new progressive folk releases you can buy this month

Album Review

Paul Sexton rounds up new progressive folk releases from Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, Pentangle, Shirley Collins, Adam Torres and Littlebow

Fresh from his namecheck on Keith Richards’ _Lost Weekend_ telethon on BBC4, in which Keef described seeing him play in the 60s, the indefatigable Wizz Jones returns with a particuarly poignant release. Joint Control (Riverboat) captures not only Jones’ friendship with fellow acoustic guitar maestro John Renbourn, but the latter’s final recordings, before his death in March last year. The warmth of their relationship permeates live and studio performances like central heating, in a set list mostly drawn from their frequent concerts together over the previous three years. Contemporaries such as Dylan and Renbourn’s other great cohort, Bert Jansch, are among those covered. The title of Jones’ new instrumental for the set, Balham Moon, typifies the spirit and humour on display.

That segues nicely into Pentangle’s Finale (Topic), dedicated to their since-departed former members Jansch and Renbourn and recorded in 2008 at the Royal Festival Hall. It was the start of their first British tour since 1973, exactly 40 years since Sweet Child, the live epic of the group’s first incarnation, took place there. The new performance was quite an epic of its own, with 21 songs across two CDs. As the two guitarists reunite with Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox for spirited versions of such originals as Let No Man Steal Your Thyme and Cruel Sister, the decades roll away.


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