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Renaissance - Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 31 ratings

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3 stars In 1990, Renaissance's 1970s albums were not available on CD so this compilation was a godsend for those of us who wished to upgrade, the first volume of a pair covering the band's career from the dawn of the classic 'Annie Haslam' era to its end in 1980. Volume 1 covers material originating on Prologue [1], Ashes Are Burning [2], Turn Of The Cards [4] and Scheherazade And Other Stories [3] though the Prologue and Ashes Are Burning songs are taken from the Live At Carnegie Hall album, presumably due to licensing issues.

As compilations go it is a fair stab and reasonably representative. The song Ashes Are Burning is sorely missed [included on Volume 2 due to lack of space] but otherwise its parent album is adequately represented by excellent live versions of Can You Understand and concert favourite Carpet Of The Sun. Prologue is under-represented, only a live version of its title track is used - Kiev and/or Rajah Khan should also have been included but no live version would have been available to the compiler. The standout tracks from Turn Of The Cards are here - Mother Russia and Running Hard - as are all three 'short' songs from Scheherazade And Other Stories. The real issue is why the extraordinary Song Of Scheherazade was cut to an unsatisfactory four minute excerpt instead of omitting three marginal inclusions [I Think Of You, Black Flame and The Vultures Fly High], a change that would have made this a much more attractive proposition.

Fans will always take issue with track lists of compilations as some favourite or other is left out, but in reality most of the essential songs are present here or on Volume 2. Thanks to the internet, CD editions of the source albums are now more readily available, thus reducing the desirability of this set. However, it still appears in the record racks of major retailers so for anyone curious about Renaissance's detailed orchestrations and melodic Prog songs, and would like an overview of some of their best work, this would be an excellent place to start.

Joolz | 3/5 |


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