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Amazing Blondel - Englishe Musicke CD (album) cover


Amazing Blondel

Prog Folk

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4 stars AMAZING BLONDEL's first 3 album highlights are extensively featured on this fully stocked CD compilation. This pseudo-Elizabethan/Classically based acoustic harmonic trio will take you back several centuries into the jesters court and the kings lair. Their music is fresh, positive, romantic and beautiful with a majestic compliment of delicate instrumentation. Songs are acoustic and are supported by acoustic guitar,lute, tabor pipe, harmonium, harpsichord, mellotron, cittern, glockenspiel, flute, piano, double bass to name just a few. AMAZING BLONDEL's greatest strength lies certainly in their use of harmony and at times the hair will stand up on your arms it is so fine. Standout track for me is their 20 min epic track "Fantasia Lindum" which covers some vast musical territory and sounds so very fresh. Their music is relaxed and highly polished and do as we have been instructed... "tuck in your velvet trousers into your buccaneer boots, pull on a suede jerkin, light the tallow-lamp, prepare a platter of spiced chicken and pulses, pour copious glasses of mead, pull up a throne to a blazing fire and listen".
Report this review (#24257)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Progressive rock factor = 0

Loud rock band turned into a trio of madrigal-singing itinerant minstrels. Not the most usual of career moves. Yet Amazing Blondel pulled it off nicely, as this album persecty demonstrates. Englishe Musicke is a showcase of the band's first outputs. Fantasia Lindum is by far the most represented album in this 70 minute compilation - 51 out of its 56 minutes are reproduced here, with only one track missing (even the cover is the same as Fantasia Lindum). Evensong contributes 7 of its 11 tracks, while England is represented by 4 out of 8. No songs were taken from their self- titled album. As a compilation, it is only suitable as an introductory piece to someone who knows nothing of early Amazing Blondel. But then there is the fact that this compilation features the almost entirety of Fantasia Lindum, which could be unpleasent should you decide to explore the band better by purchasing their early albums. So my advice is, if you want a good sample of the music of Amazing Blondel from this early period, ignore this compilation and get the complete Fantasia Lindum album, and go on from there.

Now, this is very pleasent music, soft on your ears, but not enough as to make you go to sleep. We are transported to the misty fields of mid-17th century England, a time of turmoil, contrasting greatly with the delicate and peaceful ambience conveyed by the music present on this album. This compilation seems to have been oriented towards their most acoustic and folksy material - absolutely no electricity-powered instrument is present here. It is thus dominated by the sound of acoustic string and ocasional chamber instruments, complemented by a bit of wind instruments and percussion here and there. Of course, no madrigal is complete without a good set of vocal harmonies, which the boys of Amazing Blondel deliver exquisitely. All in all, very good showcase of very well executed folk music. But no sight of progressive rock shining through the mists.

Report this review (#160688)
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars If you want more than a taste of the 3 most important Amazing Blondel albums, this compilation will do quite nicely. Initially, "Englishe Musicke" was the only CD available from these Elizabethan folk rock minstrels, which was how I came to acquire it. It contains most of "Evensong", almost the entirety of "Fantasia Lindum", and about half of "England", the final album in which John David Gladwin was present and the principal songwriter and vocalist. If anything, it almost overloads the twee factor, given the amount of music that can be represented on CD. I'm thinking that one was maybe not meant to hear 75 minutes of this style at once. The ancient instrumentation and olde Englishe vocals can stop registering after about 40, so just put it aside and come back to it later, so you don't miss any of its wondrousness.

The inclusion of the multi-part "Fantasia Lindum" suite is uncontestable, but I would have definitely swapped in the lovely "Seascape" from "England" in preference over the lesser material from "Fantasia". The gorgeous "Anthem" off of "Evensong" would have worked better than "Spring Season". I mean, how many seasonal songs do you need, while "Anthem" bared the group's church song roots, while being more atypical of their sound.

While the running order could be questioned - why didn't they set them up chronologically - at least most of each album is kept together. In sum, this is one of the more representative compilations available, perhaps overly representative. If you like it ok, then stop here. If you love it, then I recommend seeking out "Evensong" and "England" , even if that will leave you with a fair number of duplicates for your trip back to an idealized period.

Report this review (#163050)
Posted Sunday, March 2, 2008 | Review Permalink

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