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THE AMAZING BLONDEL & A FEW FACES

Amazing Blondel

Prog Folk


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Amazing Blondel The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces album cover
2.96 | 27 ratings | 6 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Saxon Lady (3:09)
2. Bethel Town Mission (3:15)
3. Season of the Year (2:46)
4. Canaan (3:50)
5. Shepherd's Song (6:14)
6. Though You Don't Want My Love (3:58)
7. Love Sonnet (4:08)
8. Spanish Lace (2:45)
9. Minstrel's Song (5:34)
10. Bastard Love (4:10)

Total Time: 39:59

Line-up / Musicians

- John Gladwin / lead vocals (1-10), 12-string guitar (5,7,8,10), tenor lute (3,9), double bass (2,4,6)
- Terence Wincott / lead (4-6) & harmony (3,7-10) vocals, 6-string guitar (5,7,8), harmonium (4,6), descant recorder & snot flute (1), ocarina & bass (3), alto (5) & tenor (9) recorders, congas (10)

With:
- Gary Taylor / bass
- Clem Cattini / drums
- Chris Karan / congas, tabla, percussion
- Big Jim Sullivan / arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: Steve Thomas Associates with Richard Imrie (photo)

Album is also known as entitled, simply, "The Amazing Blondel"

LP Bell Records ‎- SBLL 131 (1970, UK)

CD Edsel Records ‎- EDCD 421 (1995, UK)
CD Prog Temple ‎- PTCD8008 (2013, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AMAZING BLONDEL The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces ratings distribution


2.96
(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (41%)
41%
Collectors/fans only (22%)
22%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

AMAZING BLONDEL The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars I've seen this one released as Amazing Blondel and a Few Faces. Most of my remarks made on their first album can apply to this album as well. The music is supposed to depict songs of all centuries but the rendition is not as acurate as what Malicorne would do with the French folklore.
Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars This was actually the first Amazing Blondel album, but spent most of the last 25 years of the century as one of the most sought after collector items. While it's fair to say that the value of the LP was based more on rarity than quality, this is in fact a very good album.

To recap the history up to this point, most members of the band had been in a group called Methuselah, which issued one fairly heavy psychedelic album featuring several strong themes, some of which can be seen infiltrating this somewhat uneven AB debut. About half the tracks owe more to Methuselah while the other half have that Elizabethan flavour for which the group would become better known, if not exactly household names, through the first part of the 1970s.

This juxtaposition of styles in almost alternate order actually works quite well, with Wincott's more rugged voice on the delightful "Bethel Town Mission" and the somewhat Blood Sweat and Tears influenced "Canaan" contrasting well with Gladwin's more elfin voice on "Saxon Lady" and "Season of the Year". It doesn't hurt that the songwriting and arrangements are already pretty mature, if simultaneously a bit naive. The rousing and raucous closer, "Bastard Love", produces an unlikely combination of the two styles, resulting in a humour that later would only be perceptible from their live shows.

The weaker tracks hint at Blondel's occasional tendency to overestimate the elasticity of some of their material, as in "Shepherd's Song" which is frankly a bore. But on the whole this is a document that is likely to make more than a few faces happy.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess that if you like some traditional English folk, this album should not leave you cold.

Let's say that even if I'm not the most enthusiastic about such music, what is displayed here is quite good, positive and catchy. The most representative song of all is the opening track "Saxon lady" which includes many aspects of this genre. Some other tracks are less memorable ("Bethel Town Mission") but globally, this album is not bad at all.

Of course, you shouldn't look for novelties (it was recorded in 69); just a bundle of romantic and simple songs put together. As such I can only rate this album with two stars (decent but no more). The worse is probably "Canaan": an attempt to a hit single, but with poor harmonies and a weak chorus.

On the contrary, "Shepherd's Song" sounds much more authentic. It is a fine instrumental intro and a good acoustic ballad overall: one of the best here. Good fluting as well.

The band introduces several less known instruments and it adds to the variety of the music that is proposed. The second half of the album though, is less interesting (starting from the bluesy "Though You Don't Want My Love"). The syrupy "Love Sonnet" is another example.

With "Spanish Lace" the music conveys some "The Boxer" feel avant la lettre (Simon & Garfunkel) and it is another good song featured on this album. But again, this is not an emotional one: just a decent folk work with no added prog feel.

Should I say business as usual? As the whole of this album? Probably.

Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the debut album from the folk band Amazing Blondel, who was formed from the remnants of the psychedelic band Methuselah. It is pretty much what you would expect from a traditional folk band, but there really isn't a lot of prog on this first album. That doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable, because it is in it's own way. One of the advantages of this album over later albums is that there is more variety apparent, and a lot less pop, which is always a good thing. There are some traditional instruments and some non-traditional, and this all works together quite well and lends to some variety that wasn't present on their more pop oriented albums that would come later. This album also has a lot more than just a couple of guys with acoustic guitars, as you can see from the line-up list above. There is a lot of soul in this album, which is also missing from later albums.

The band ventures away from folk a little bit here and there throughout the album. For example, "Canaan" introduces a bluesy aspect in the vocals, which I was surprised to hear actually work. It definitely sounds like there is a brass section on a few of the songs, but they are not listed in the line-up. There is also plenty of more traditional sounding songs here, including the excellent "Shepard's Song" which is over 6 minutes of acoustics, vocals and a very nice lute melody. I like the variation in the vocals and the harmony present in this song. At this point, on the second half of the album, the songwriting tends to suffer a bit more, but improve a bit on "Minstrel's Song" especially with the longer instrumental break, but still don't quite reach the quality of the first half of the album. The album ends on a low point with the kooky (and, yes, dated) "Bastard Love". This unevenness takes the album from a 4 star to a 3 star rating. But overall, it's still an enjoyable album to listen to on occasion.

Who cares if some of the lyrics are a little corny, because most traditional folk have corny lyrics, at least they sound corny nowadays, but originally they didn't. I am also surprised that this doesn't sound too dated for the most part, but when they revert to trying to produce pop music in later years, they do sound dated. It's nice that this is not so much the case in this collection of tunes.

With the variety of styles here, the band was obviously trying out different sounds to see exactly where their niche was. Of course, as we know, the band would follow the more folk music route then the rock and blues sound, and for the first few albums after this, they do quite well, but at times tend to lack a bit in the variety that is apparent in this album. After the "Blondel" album in 1973, the band would start to venture away from folk and try to introduce pop elements to their sound, and that is where things take a turn downward, seemingly getting worse as time progressed. This is too bad, because they were a decent folk band, even if the sound was not so variable at times and also quite simplistic.

I do like the variety here, and the use of instruments of all kinds, and that the band doesn't just rely on vocals, but have plenty of instrumental passages to keep things interesting. Fun to listen to, but uneven at times. However, it is still mature and interesting enough for a debut album.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Finally after decades of searching for this album I finally found one. Unless you listen to this music on vinyl you will never truly know how good it really sounds. It was recorded and mastered so well, it is an ambassador of how analog vinyl will always sound so much better than any digital com ... (read more)

Report this review (#801580) | Posted by androvick | Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is not a masterpiece of progressive music, such as gryphon, malicorne, and others who goes to the same path. But i thing that this album has his beauty's, and i recomend to all of those who like of a realy folk sound. ... (read more)

Report this review (#88711) | Posted by Henrock | Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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