Saturday, January 9, 2016

Amazing Blondel - 1970 - Evensong

Amazing Blondel 

01. Pavan (3:19)
02. St. Crispin's Day (2:19)
03. Spring Season (3:39)
04. Willowood (3:24)
05. Evensong (3:10)
06. Queen of Scots* (1:39)
07. Ploughman (3:06)
08. Old Moot Hall (2:41)
09. Lady Marion's Galliard (3:41)
10. Under the Greenwood Tree (3:15)
11. Anthem (2:53)

- John David Gladwin / lead vocals, theorbe, cittern, lute, double bass
- Terence Alan Wincott / crumhorn, organ, vocals, pipe-organ, recorders, flute, tabor, harmonium, pharpsichord
- Edward Baird / lute, cittern, vocals
+ Chris Karan / percussion
+ Adam Skeaping / viola da gamba, violone

 This album is AB's 2nd full album and is full of 100% Elizabethan-folk sounding music. The inclusion of lutes and reed instruments add to the authentic feel of the music. There is no progressive and there is no rock present in any of these tunes. They are simple acoustic tunes with that certain lilt that accompanies this style of music. Very nice to listen to, but the only challenging thing about them is whether you can sit through the entire half-hour set of songs. I enjoy them, but if you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have found it difficult to sit through them all, so if you don't mind the naïve, yet bard-like sound of old renaissance, they are nice in a nostalgic kind of way.
A lot of people like to compare this music to Jethro Tull, and there are some similarities of course, because JT dabbled in this type of music a lot, but they also had a rock element added in even in their most hardcore Elizabethan-folk songs. JT also added the progressive element in most cases. However, you wouldn't be surprised to hear Ian Anderson singing "Spring Season" or "Willowood", which are the two songs that approach the JT acoustic sound. Also, the best song on here which is "Pavan" is the first one in line and starts things off quite well, but by the time I get towards the end, I have the feeling that a half-hour of this is enough.

An interesting thing to note here is that the lead singers Gladwin and Baird would have standard acoustic guitars made specific for the band to help substitute for reed instruments while in concert. One guitar was built to accent the treble and one for bass sounds. This mixture works quite well and they were very successful with it while playing live. You can also hear the distinct sound of both guitars in their music.

AB however, would continue on to their next album "Fantasia Lindum" with more progressive elements which would continue through the two albums also following that one. This makes the music a lot more enjoyable and adds a great variety to the music that keeps things interesting. Variety and complexity, though added in spare amounts, would improve the overall sound of the music. As far as this album, it is good, but non-essential.

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