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John Renbourn - Sir John Alot of Merrie Englandes Musyk Thynge and Ye Grene Knighte CD (album) cover


John Renbourn


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4.00 | 5 ratings

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4 stars John Renbourn's third solo album titled Sir John Alot of Merrie Englandes Musyk Thynge And Ye Grene Knighte (there, I said the entire thing once!) was his jumping off point into pre renaissance music and his bevy of instrumental guitar albums that followed. While relying on pastiche compositions, Renbourn approximated, almost too well, the themes of kings, courtly castles, galliards, knights and damsels in distress in an opening round of stately songs in "The Earle Of Salisbury" and the "Lady Goes To Church". Which themselves bookend an instrumental version of the traditional song "The Trees They Do Grow High", which helps to keep this unique album squarely in the category of British folk just in case too many at the time questioned it's place in the musical hierarchy. Indeed, the entire album is instrumental and features just Renbourn on acoustic guitar with help on few songs from Pentangle member Terry Cox on hand drums and glockenspiel along with Ray Warleigh on flute.

As if the album's title was not enough to telegraph that Renbourn was taking all this in a very tongue and cheek manner, at the end of his forth pseudo Elizabethan song "Morgana", he switches gears and jumps headlong into Charles Loyd's rollicking R&B tune titled "Transfusion" that sounds a great deal like an instrumental version of Ray Charles' "What I Say". Following directly on side 2 into the swinging "Forty Eight" which further reinforces Renbourn's sense of fun and adventure while also reaffirming his prowess as a master guitar player. Renbourn returns briefly to merry old England with "My Dear Boy" before swinging into the blues with "White Fishes" and the infectious "Sweet Potato" before bringing his steaming guitar picking to a climax with the self penned "Seven Up" that features Cox going ballistic on hand drums.

At a time when rock and pop music was reaching into virgin territories, Sir John Alot fits nicely into the eccentric climes of 1968. As well it should being released just one month after Renbourn's flagship project Pentangle released their eponymous debut studio album. The sky was limit at the time and John Renbourn was only just starting to take flight. 4 stars.

SteveG | 4/5 |


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