'Sweet Child' was a 1968 double album by the British folk-rock band Pentangle: Terry Cox, Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson. One album was recorded at Pentangle's live concert in the Royal Festival Hall, which took place on 29 June 1968: the other was recorded in the studio. The material is the most wide-ranging of Pentangle's albums, including folk songs, jazz classics, blues, early music and Pentangle's own compositions.
The traditional material includes the spiritual "No more my Lord" (known in some versions as "Never turn back"). Here the song is underpinned by an almost melodic drum riff by Cox whilst McShee provides the vocals. "Watch the stars" is another traditional American song, sung as a duet between McShee and Renbourn, who also plays a fingerstyle accompaniment on electric guitar. "The time has come" is a song, very much in the folk idiom, but written by the singer Anne Briggs. British folk music is represented by "So early in the spring" (a faultless unaccompanied performance by McShee), "Sovay" (a song about a female highwayman), the Scottish "I loved a lass", "The trees they do grow high", and "Bruton town" (an English ballad which relates a story very similar to Giovanni Boccaccio’s Pot of Basil in the Decameron). This song is a live version of the song that was recorded on Pentangle's first album: it includes typical folk themes of love, jealousy, class prejudice, violence and ghostly apparitions. The Pentangle version epitomises the "folk baroque" guitar techniques of Jansch and Renbourn but is also one of the best examples of all five members of the band contributing their own styles to create a musical whole.
The album includes two pieces by the jazz musician Charles Mingus. One is "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"—Mingus' tribute to Lester Young—interpreted quite freely as a guitar duet by Jansch and Renbourn, which they had previously recorded on their joint Bert and John acoustic album. The other is "Haitian Fight Song", played as a dramatic solo piece by Thompson on the double bass.
McShee and Renbourn demonstrate their blues credentials with an upbeat version of the Furry Lewis song "Turn your money green", with Renbourn providing a distinctive guitar accompaniment. The other blues number is "I've got a feeling", which is based in a standard twelve-bar structure, but is, unusually, in 3/4 time. This version features bass solos in two choruses, showcasing Thompson's use of the double bass as a melodic instrument.
Renbourn undertakes a set of early music pieces, during the live recording, retuning his guitar to create a drone effect on the bass strings. The highlight is his rendition of William Byrd's "Earl of Salisbury's pavan", in which he is accompanied by Cox on glockenspiel.
The band's own compositions include some solos, namely Jansch's "A woman like you" and Cox's "Moon dog". Sung by Cox to the accompaninent of hand drums, this is his tribute to the blind American street musician, Moondog. Also, there are some band instrumentals: "No exit", "In time", "Hole in the coal" (actually based on Ewan MacColl's song "The big hewer") and "Three part thing", which starts as a renaissance fantasia but develops into some characteristic jazz- and blues-influenced improvisation.
The other band compositions are "Market song" (which uses a typically complex rhythm, switching between 7/4, 11/4 and 4/4 time signatures), "In your mind" (based on a 7/4 rhythm) and "Sweet child". This, the title song of the album, is a love song, sung by McShee and Jansch with Renbourn playing a blues-based lead guitar.
CD Bonus tracks:
CD Bonus tracks:
Sweet Child was originally released in the UK, as a double LP, on 1 November 1968 as Transatlantic TRA178. The US release, in the same year, was Reprise 2R56334. A CD version was released in 1992 as Line TACD9005. In 2001, a digitally remastered version was released as Castle CMDDD132, including several versions of some of the studio takes and some additional songs from the Festival Hall concert: "Hear my Call", "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme", "Bells", "Travelling Song", "Waltz", "Way Behind The Sun" and "Go and Catch a Falling Star".