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Renaissance - Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 30 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not a case of twice-told tales to line a Sire's pocket. Instead, the Tales of 1001 Nights series represents the CD debut of Renaissance's best work, wisely assembled and lovingly packaged. The two Volumes represent the best of Renaissance, and as such serve a real purpose in the Renaissance discography. Volume II covers the Live At Carnegie Hall album ("Ashes Are Burning") through to 1979's Azure d'Or. This is some of the band's best music, when the group was arguably at the height of their creative powers. "Can You Hear Me?," "Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep" and "A Song For All Seasons" are ambitious epics that slip from whisper quiet to bombastic splash: just the sort of music that CDs were made for. If you haven't experienced the band on compact disc, these two Volumes are a great way to hear the music of Renaissance with reborn ears. The packaging is also outstanding, with terrific liner notes from David Samuel Barr and sympathetic design that re-creates the original mood of Renaissance perfectly. Even the Azure d'Or tracks ("Jekyll And Hyde," "The Winter Tree") sparkle in this setting, more commercial in design but still carefully crafted. As for track selection, I can't argue with this. I've never been a huge fan of "Northern Lights" myself, but it is the better known track compared to "Kindness (At The End)" or "Day of the Dreamer." And one of my favorite Renaissance albums, Novella, is well represented here. Because all of the selections here feature Annie Haslam on vocals, a facet of the band is missing, the one that showcases Jon Camp on vocals. But it's for Haslam and songs like these that the band will be remembered, if at all, when the tales of prog's myrmidons and maidens are recounted. If you haven't discovered the music of Renaissance yet, exciting tales await you on these two volumes. In fact, the two discs may be all the Renaissance you ever need, though you'll still need to buy "Scheherazade" if you want the whole story.
daveconn | 4/5 |


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