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Renaissance Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2 album cover
3.21 | 36 ratings | 9 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Can you hear me? (13:44)
2. Touching once (is so hard to keep)(9:28)
3. Midas man (5:41)
4. Nothern lights (4:05)
5. A song for all seasons (10:57)
6. Jekyll and Hyde (4:41)
7. The Winter tree (3:05)
8. Ashes are burning live (23:53)

Total Time: 51:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Camp / bass, pedals, vocals
- Micheal Dunford / acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Tout / keyboards, backing vocals

Releases information

Cd. Sire/Warner 4 26143-2 (USA)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates
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RENAISSANCE Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2 ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RENAISSANCE Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
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.
Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the second of two volumes from Sire documenting Renaissance's classic era from Annie Haslam's debut in 1972 to the band's break-up in 1980. Volume 2 covers the later albums from this period - Novella [3], A Song For All Seasons [2] and Azur d'Or [2] plus a live rendition of Ashes Are Burning from the Carnegie Hall concert. It is a less satisfactory set than Volume 1 despite the inclusion of several all-time classics - Can You Hear Me?, Midas Man, and A Song For All Seasons. But the presence of 24 minutes of Ashes Are Burning tends to create an imbalance, especially as the compiler has inexplicably chosen to include two less satisfactory songs from Azur d'Or. Admittedly, this song is a classic and no compilation would be complete without it, but it comes at the price of some important omissions like Day Of The Dreamer, Closer Than Yesterday, The Sisters or Kalynda.

Nevertheless, this is a good little compilation, not as successful as Volume 1, but taken together they give the listener a fair impression of Renaissance's orchestrated style. These volumes have historic interest as the first appearance of this material on CD, and are nicely presented with a thick booklet containing a lengthy band biography. Today they would form a suitable introduction to Renaissance, but the ready availability of source albums makes them less essential.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Volume II of this 1990´s complilation released at a time when most of Renaissance´s classic albums were not yet available in CD format. Although those songs does not seem to be remastered, the sound quality is quite good anyway. Unfortunatly the track selection is not the best. They could not use their early studio versions of their first two albums, ok, but the inclusion of a 24 minute live version of Ashes Are Burning is really too much. It was fine to hear it on the live album, after all it was the 70´s with all the pomp and circunstance of the time. But surely this is no track for a best of kind of disc. Besides, that extended tune takes so much time it would be really better if they put some 3 or 4 shorter tracks instead. There were plenty of Renaissance´s songs worth for that that does not appear on this CD.

Fortunatly there are no Time Line or Camera Camera material here. But they could have chosen beter tracks from either Song For All Seasons (Opening Out, Day Of The Archer or Kindness) or Azzure D´or (Kalinda, Golden Key).

With the release of Renaissance´s remastered cathalog this compilation loses a lot of its initial importance and/or appeal. Even someone new to this band should get their original albums. This one was a stopgap album in a period we were longing to hear Renaissance in the new format while we were waiting for their classic albums to be put on CD. Now we have them. And I still haven´t seen any real fitting compilation for this band. 2 stars for the excellency of some songs anyway.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Volume 2 of the two part compilation was directed to the last 3 studio albums of the 1970s. It has several essential Renaissance songs - "Can you hear me", "Song for All Seasons" and "Midas Man". The bonus is actually indispensable, and the one Renaissance track that all prog fans must hear whether they are fans of the style or not, the 24 minute version of "Ashes are Burning" from "Live at Carnegie Hall". Your other choice is to pick this one up from the original album of the show, and buy "Novella" and "A Song for All Seasons" which contain several more awesome songs. It gets a slight edge over Volume 1 because it leaves out fewer classics. Recommended if you don't want the whole discography.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This, the second half of the Warner Bros. compilations, covers the albums "Novella", "A Song For All Seasons" and "Azure D'Or". Unlike most of the prog rock band compilations that were spewed out by the major labels in those years, these were created by someone who actually liked the music. The songs are geared to those who liked the power and complexity of Renaissance's music, not those looking for short pop songs.

They chose great songs from the first two albums. Unfortunately, "Azure D'Or" was the beginning of the decline of the band, so the tracks from this one are nowhere near as good as the tracks from the other two albums. But still, Annie Haslams voice is just so wonderful, that they do have some listening value.

Strangely, instead of including more songs from each album, the producers chose to include a 23 minute live version of Ashes Are Burning. While the song is good, the solos, especially the bass solo (as a bassist, I am pained to say this), just go on too long.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 288

"Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 2" is a compilation of Renaissance and was released in 1990. It represents the second part of "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1". As happened with that compilation, it includes tracks from four studio albums of Renaissance too. It has one track from their sixth studio album "Scheherazade And Other Storis", released in 1975, three tracks from their seventh studio album "Novella", released in 1977, two tracks from their eighth studio album "A Song For All Seasons", released in 1978 and two tracks from their ninth studio album "Azure D'Or", released in 1979.

The first track ''Can You Hear Me?'' was originally released on ''Novella''. This is an excellent track to open that album. It's a mini epic track very well performed especially by John Tout's piano and Michael Dunford's acoustic guitar. The beautiful voice of Annie Haslam is perfect, as usual. The arrangements, mostly of instrumental parts, are great, and the addition of orchestral arrangements is fantastic and complete very well this piece. The final result is a great progressive track. The second track ''Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep)'' was originally released on ''Novella''. It's the epic track on that album. It keeps the same style of the opening track. This is a long symphonic suite, very classical and with great orchestration. It's another excellent track with another fantastique vocal performance of Annie Haslam. This is a very progressive track with several changes and where we can listen to, the sound of a saxophone. The main beauty of this track is its nice melody and its superb orchestral arrangements. This is another great progressive track. The third track ''Midas Man'' was originally released on ''Novella''. This is a beautiful classical track with a folky touch. It's mostly an acoustic track very well performed and with a nice final result. This is essentially a track performed by the acoustic 12 string guitar of Michael Dunford and where we can hear, in some parts, the sound of the tubular bells. Because it's a repetitive track it's considered by many somehow boring. However, I think that is perfectly unfair because it has very good arrangements that can be perfectly audible on any good audio system. The fourth track ''Nothern Lights'' was originally released on ''A Song For All Seasons''. This is a beautiful and catchy track on that album. It's true that it's a more pop oriented track but it's very beautiful and nice to hear. I think it represents a very good pop song, composed with enough quality to can give to us some pleasure when we hear it. The fifth track ''A Song For All Seasons'' was originally released on ''A Song For All Seasons''. This is the epic and pompous track on that album, but unfortunately, it represents the last great Renaissance's symphonic progressive epic. The title track is a truly progressive track and is full of pure joy, melody, sweetness and grandiosity. Again, the vocal performance of Annie Haslam is absolutely irreproachable. This track proves the grandiosity of this great band and closes that album with a golden key. The sixth track ''Jekill And Hyde'' was originally released on ''Azure D'Or''. This is a good track to open that album. Annie Haslam's voice sounds as good as ever. Despite the rhythm of the track be more pop than it was usual, it remains an unmistakable Renaissance's song, as fresh and cool, as always they were. The seventh track ''The Winter Tree'' was originally released on ''Azure D'Or''. This is a great example of a good pop track with excellent musical composition. It combines a nice acoustic guitar work with a beautiful keyboard working. It isn't as good as some of the previous tracks on that album, but it's still is a good track. The eighth track ''Ashes Are Burning'' was originally released on ''Ashes Are Burning''. It's the magnum opus of that album and fortunately it was chosen to close brilliantly this compilation album. This can be considered certainly the lengthiest epic of Renaissance but this can't only be attributed to the length of the track. We all know that it isn't, in reality, the duration of a track that makes of it an epic. "Ashes Are Burning" has everything that an epic must have. It has a very complex musical structure, blending nice melody, excellent individual musical performance by all members and the beautiful voice of Annie Haslam. This is, in reality, a memorable piece of music. It can be considered without any type of doubt as one of the greatest progressive rock tracks ever made, really.

Conclusion: With "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 2", Renaissance completed what they began with their previous compilation "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1". Both compilations represent a great introduction to Renaissance's music catalogue, covering their career from 1972 to 1979. With both compilations, Renaissance covered what is considered their golden era and all the albums that are really essential to check their greatest musical career. Of course I'm talking about Renaissance's second incarnation. Who are used to the story of this great band knows that there were two different Renaissance's bands, with two completely distinctive lines up. The original line up, between 1969 and 1971, released two great studio albums, "Renaissance" and "Illusion" that must be checked too. But, in this case, we are only talking about the second Renaissance's incarnation. And in this case, in my humble opinion, all their albums that deserve to be checked are covered. So, as happened with the previous compilation, I'm going to rate it with 3 stars too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is a complilation (Part 2) of a band that is very hard to put into a greatest-hits type package. The plusses here are "Can You Here Me?", a live version of "Ashes Are Burning", the great "Midas Man" which I have always liked, and another plus is the dregs from the lame CAMERA CAMERA perio ... (read more)

Report this review (#340001) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars For those of you new to Renaissance Volume 1 should be purchased first. It was issued in 1990 as the first of Renaissance music to be issued on CD. Here on Volume 2 is a continuation with a quirky twist. Songs number 6 & 7 (see track list above) are from 1979 when they changed their format to ... (read more)

Report this review (#54178) | Posted by | Monday, October 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a good compilation from Renaissance's later days with Sire Records. It includes music from Novella, A Song from All Seasons, Azure d' Ore, and Live at Carnegie Hall. If you're a Renaissance fan, you're better off buying the albums, as Novella, A Song from All Seasons, and Live at Car ... (read more)

Report this review (#20128) | Posted by Gianthogweed | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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