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Amazing Blondel

Prog Folk

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Amazing Blondel Evensong album cover
3.05 | 39 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Pavan (3:19)
2. St. Crispin's Day (2:19)
3. Spring Season (3:39)
4. Willowood (3:24)
5. Evensong (3:10)
6. Queen of Scots (1:39)
7. Ploughman (3:06)
8. Old Moot Hall (2:41)
9. Lady Marion's Galliard (3:41)
10. Under the Greenwood Tree (3:15)
11. Anthem (2:53)

Total Time: 32:03

Line-up / Musicians

- John Gladwin / lead vocals, theorboe, cittern, lute, double bass
- Terence Wincott / crumhorn, pipe organ, recorders, flute, tabor pipe, harmonium, lute, harpsichord, vocals
- Edward Baird / lute, cittern, vocals

- Chris Karan / percussion
- Adam Skeaping / viola da gamba, violone

Releases information

Artwork: Shepard Sherbell (photo)

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9136 (1970, UK)

CD Edsel Records - EDCD 458 (1995, UK)

All compositions written by John Gladwin except #6 by Edward Baird.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AMAZING BLONDEL Evensong ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

AMAZING BLONDEL Evensong reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars A boderline inclusion in respect with progressive music. Amazing Blondel is a acoustic duo/trio of guys who play traditional english music , dressed up as bards and had quite a success at it in the early 70's folk circuits.

If I could describe them they would be a cross of France's Malicorne and Ireland's folk rock duo TIR NA NOG. Actually Blondel is not quite as precise or meticulous at reproducing the old folk songs as Malicorne or as powerfull/poignant as Tir Na Nog . Their stuff is actually quite gentile and goes a little too smoothly to my ears. Many melodic repetitions in the course of their first three albums (all I've heard so far).

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars "Amazing Blondel and A Few Faces", the debut album by Amazing Blondel, possessed a few delightfully rough edges, but those are effectively smoothed out as John David Gladwin takes charge of the group from a songwriting and vocal perspective. What is lost in spontaneity is gained in continuity, and such would be the case for three glorious albums of small p progressive minstrelsy. The progressive comes from the fact that hardly anyone was even thinking about doing what AB was actively attempting. The incorporation of ancient instrumentation and spry ancient melodies was psychedelic in and of itself, and only the group's live performances betray the tongue in cheek aspect - it all sounds pretty serious otherwise.

For the prog pedigree I point to the acoustically intricate "Queen of Scots", the fits and starts of "St Crispin's Day", and the airily eerie "Willowood", but I would recommend focusing on the sheer songwriting prowess and the penchant for making the new seem old. "Pavan" sets the tone from the start, and the rousing choruses of "Old Moot Hall", the harpsichord backing of "Under the Greenwood Tree", and the stately closing hymn "Anthem" all boast of authentic accomplishment.

It is true that the music of AB does not have much edge, but this is compensated for by the skill and judgement of the participants. It seems amazing that Island records gave a voice to this group, even knowing what we know about the musical diversity of that time, but many fans the world over are glad they did nearly 40 years on.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This is indeed a very folkish album. To find any prog relation here would result in a miracle!

It is just a bunch of simple and short acoustic songs with nice arrangements and decent vocals. That's the bill! Some unusual instruments are used here and there, but they are mixed with such a burden of lousy stuff ("St. Crispin's Day") that they aren't really put on the forefront.

This album has little to share with prog IMHHO. But, we'll see the band's evolution throughout their next works. This one doesn't contain any song which can move me. Not a lot of interesting tunes in here. If this band is on PA, I guess that Simon & Garfunkel can also claim their entry?Just listen to "Spring Season" to prove me right.

Their medieval sound might be of appeal at times, but I can hardly digest a song as "Willowood". Actually, the music played on this album is not very much of my liking: a combination of no prog with a lot of folk. Be it "Old Moot Hall" or the weak "Lady Marion's Galliard".

The positive point is the vocal harmonies which are well crafted, but this is not enough to make this album a good one in my prog view. Two stars for these (un) Evensongs.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When people asked Eddie Baird: "how 'd you describe your music?" he used to answer: "don't ask me, I have no idea".

Well, to be honest this band is not your typical progressive folk group. They play acoustic (gentle) folk with many references to the renaissance times (e.g. cither, lute, theorbe, crumhorn, tabor, harpsichord et alia) and absolutely no aggressiveness (very light percussion).

This album is, in particular, very luminous and happy sounding with no complexity in the songs' structure. Very different from the following (fantastic) work "FANTASIA LINDUM" with its memorable long acoustic elizabethan suite.

As many of their contemporaries (Steeleye Span, Strawbs, Gryphon) their production lost gradually the medieval feel and turned into a more "modern" sound. However, differently from their contemporaries, for the Amazing Blondel this process was very slow and they never opted for a full electrified folk.

Evensong: nomen omen; a name, a destiny.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This album is AB's 2nd full album and is full of 100% Elizabethan-folk sounding music. The inclusion of lutes and reed instruments add to the authentic feel of the music. There is no progressive and there is no rock present in any of these tunes. They are simple acoustic tunes with that certain lilt that accompanies this style of music. Very nice to listen to, but the only challenging thing about them is whether you can sit through the entire half-hour set of songs. I enjoy them, but if you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have found it difficult to sit through them all, so if you don't mind the na´ve, yet bard-like sound of old renaissance, they are nice in a nostalgic kind of way.

A lot of people like to compare this music to Jethro Tull, and there are some similarities of course, because JT dabbled in this type of music a lot, but they also had a rock element added in even in their most hardcore Elizabethan-folk songs. JT also added the progressive element in most cases. However, you wouldn't be surprised to hear Ian Anderson singing "Spring Season" or "Willowood", which are the two songs that approach the JT acoustic sound. Also, the best song on here which is "Pavan" is the first one in line and starts things off quite well, but by the time I get towards the end, I have the feeling that a half-hour of this is enough.

An interesting thing to note here is that the lead singers Gladwin and Baird would have standard acoustic guitars made specific for the band to help substitute for reed instruments while in concert. One guitar was built to accent the treble and one for bass sounds. This mixture works quite well and they were very successful with it while playing live. You can also hear the distinct sound of both guitars in their music.

AB however, would continue on to their next album "Fantasia Lindum" with more progressive elements which would continue through the two albums also following that one. This makes the music a lot more enjoyable and adds a great variety to the music that keeps things interesting. Variety and complexity, though added in spare amounts, would improve the overall sound of the music. As far as this album, it is good, but non-essential. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 3.5 stars really! A discreet debut, but respectable. As Sean Trane said, Amazing Blondel isn't a prog band, it's a trio who plays brittish folky music, with renaissancy feeling. Spring Season, Willowood and the self-tittled track hold the CD upon the two stars, but these aren't enough to sav ... (read more)

Report this review (#110500) | Posted by sircosick | Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On their second album Amazing Blodel perform short songs in a pseudo-renaissance style which they achieve by playing acoustic instruments of the past. This is really a great album, with no bad song IMHO. The players bring out their qualities, and it is a pleasure to listen to. Great melodies, ... (read more)

Report this review (#24249) | Posted by | Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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