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John Renbourn - Live in Italy CD (album) cover


John Renbourn

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4 stars This live solo outing of Renbourn is noteworthy as it's one of the rare documents of John in his later acoustic guitar virtuoso and elder statesman persona. In what started off life as probably a bootleg before John claimed it as his own and licensed it off in an official release, John himself guesses that this 46 minute concert recording dates sometime from the 80s. If John was still living I'd formally disagree. After securing a music degree in composition and arranging from Dartmouth College in the late 80s, while improving his playing skills to superhuman levels, this is definitely the John Renbourn of the 90s and beyond.

The former Pentangle member re-interprets his old standbys like "Great Dream From Heaven" and "Sweet Potato" with subtle changes in arrangement while interjecting jaw dropping finger picked leads that would have impressed greats like Davy Graham and Django Reinhardt. John's confident demeaner shines through in his playing. He knows he's one of the greats by this juncture and he's happy to flaunt it, much to the delight of his audience. John's vocals are also more confident, deeper and commanding at this point, which makes the rare appearance of "Lord Franklin" from Pentangle's "Cruel Sister" album all the more poignant and touching. Live In Italy is an important document in the development and growth of John Renbourn, which at this point, looked like it had no end. 4 stars for the content and excellent sound quality.

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Posted Monday, June 21, 2021 | Review Permalink

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