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AMAZING BLONDEL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Amazing Blondel biography
AMAZING BLONDEL existed throughout the early seventies. Originally formed by John David GLADWIN, Terry WINCOTT and Eddie BAIRD after leaving another even more obscure band called METHUSELAH. For these three, the band was essentially a three piece singing and playing krumhorns, recorders, lute, theorbo, guitars, dulcimers, flute, piano, harpsichord, mellotron, organ, tabor, cittern tubular, bells, glockenspiel and percussion. English mostly acoustic 1969-76. Middle-age renaissance guitar, organ and other instruments, multipart harmony vocals, etc., bordering on the prog movement in England at the time. The musicians had earlier played rock and thus the music cannot be termed classical either. Among lots of famous guest musicians can be named Boz BURRELL, Eddie JOBSON, Steve WINWOOD and Mel COLLINS.

"The Amazing Bondel" was a collection of soft acoustic rock numbers that included one medieval-styled song that seemed to go over better than anything else, and that was the direction they aimed for in their future releases. "Evensong" is a folk album that harked back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Madrigals and ballads performed on period instruments became their specialty and the trio's creative ideas led to the concept album "Fantasia Lindum", which belongs more to progressive-rock than to folk-rock. "England" used the same technique to craft elegant, lushly-arranged pop songs. GLADWIN left and the surviving duo veered towards STEELEYE SPAN's hard-folk with "Blondel", entirely composed by BAIRD, "Mulgrave Street", "Inspiration", "Bad Dreams". The band reunited 21 years later for "Restoration" (1997), an album which harkens back to their halcon days.

Their third and fourth albums "Fantasia Lindum" and "England" represent the most musically sophisticated of the material, which any progressive fan without an aversion to folk music should have no trouble enjoying. Most fans of early GRYPHON, FAIRPORT, and other British folk rock will be delighted with this band.

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England/BlondelEngland/Blondel
Import
BGO Records 2010
Audio CD$9.76
$9.75 (used)
Foreign FieldForeign Field
Castle Us 2002
Audio CD$34.99
$3.14 (used)
Evensong / Fantasia LindumEvensong / Fantasia Lindum
Import · Remastered
BEAT GOES ON 2004
Audio CD$9.98
$7.99 (used)
Englishe MusickeEnglishe Musicke
Import
Edsel Records UK 1994
Audio CD$37.95
$9.98 (used)
InspirationInspiration
Import
Talking Elephant 2009
Audio CD$8.18
$7.18 (used)
england LPengland LP
ISLAND
Vinyl$12.98 (used)
Dead/Live in TransylvaniaDead/Live in Transylvania
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$8.68
$17.27 (used)
THE AMAZING BLONDELTHE AMAZING BLONDEL
Prog Temple 2013
Audio CD$11.10
$22.90 (used)
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AMAZING BLONDEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AMAZING BLONDEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.91 | 20 ratings
The Amazing Blondel
1969
2.99 | 27 ratings
Evensong
1970
3.34 | 28 ratings
Fantasia Lindum
1971
3.28 | 35 ratings
England
1972
3.36 | 20 ratings
Blondel (The Purple Album)
1973
2.64 | 7 ratings
Mulgrave Street
1974
3.00 | 6 ratings
Inspiration
1975
1.53 | 5 ratings
Bad Dreams
1976
2.86 | 6 ratings
Restoration
1997
2.13 | 4 ratings
The Amazing Elsie Emerald
2010

AMAZING BLONDEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 2 ratings
Live in Tokyo
1977
2.65 | 5 ratings
A Foreign Field That Is Forever England. Live Abroad
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dead - Live in Transylvania
2011

AMAZING BLONDEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AMAZING BLONDEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 4 ratings
Englishe Musicke
1993
3.50 | 2 ratings
Evensong / Fantasia Lindum
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Going Where the Music Takes Me
2004
2.00 | 1 ratings
On with the Show (In Per Ostendo)
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
England / Blondel
2010

AMAZING BLONDEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AMAZING BLONDEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fantasia Lindum  by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.34 | 28 ratings

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Fantasia Lindum
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Amazing Blondel is a folk band that plays an Elizabethan style folk. Quite frankly, the prog aspect is very lite and the rock aspect, at least on these earlier albums, is virtually non-existent. However, the music is quite enjoyable and it is a nice variation from typical rock music that is mostly prevalent in progressive music. Because it is original in a modern sense, or at least not following a pop sound, that makes it progressive in that respect. The use of acoustic guitars, lutes, woodwinds and other older instruments is what gives the music it's believability. The lyrics are of the old world folkish style and the harmonies seem to be realistic for the most part.

This particular album is one of the better ones in their discography. The 3 main musicians present for this album is the best line-up of the band. This particular album consists of all acoustic music with a very sparse use of percussion. In fact, only 2 songs on this album have any percussion in them. This album consists of a suite of songs over 20 minutes long and 5 more shorter tracks.

The Suite is the focal point of the album and one of the highlights of the band's career. It consists of 10 short songs that are both vocal and instrumental. The movements are quite varied enough to keep the listener from getting bored of the style of music in that some are quite lively while others are pastoral in feel. The instrumentals usually consist of a spotlight on a certain instrument while the vocals are easy to understand and deal with topics not unlike the topics chosen for the original genre of music that the band emulates. This gives this record it's feeling of authenticity. The topic for this suite has to do with the town and country of Lincoln, England (the Latin name for Lincoln is Lindum). The title Fantasia is a little misleading in that a fantasia is usually a free form musical work and this suite is not really free form, but more structured as folk music is expected to be. This track is a very good suite and is enjoyable throughout.

After the suite, there are 5 shorter tracks that pretty much follow the same style. "To Ye" is a straightforward track in the same style, but is slightly less interesting as the suite. It is really nothing special or much different from any thing else on the album. "Safety in God Alone" is probably the best of the shorter tracks here, but it leans a little more to a modern sound with piano, acoustic guitars and what sounds like a tambourine or something similar. The harmonics on this one is also more modern sounding, however, this sound does not take away from the entire album, but actually offers some needed variation in the music. "2 Dances" consists of two very short acoustic instrumentals, one at mid tempo and the second with a nice lilt. These are nice additions to the album. After this we get another vocal in "Three Seasons Almaine" which is another straightforward track with some nice instrumental backing. The last selection is an instrumental called "Siege of Yaddlethorpe" which has a slightly out of place feel to it. I believe the sound is a harmonium playing an appropriate sounding melody, but sounds so out of place in the acoustic instruments. Jim Capaldi from the group "Traffic" adds some nice military sounding drums throughout the track which I believe are overdubbed onto the track.

Overall, this is one of AB's best efforts and most of that comes from the Suite, though the additional songs are a nice touch also. I don't know if I can call the entire album a masterpiece, but the suite comes close to it. However, there is really nothing new or noteworthy to call it essential. I can easily give this a strong 4 star rating however. It is great music and very nice to have as part of my collection.

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 Evensong  by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.99 | 27 ratings

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Evensong
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 England by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 35 ratings

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England
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Amazing Blondel's sound in the beginning tended to lean towards a renaissance sound of Elizabethan style music, lots of nice harmony, acoustic guitar, flutes and other reed instruments. The music was rather simple most of the time, but very true to the style. The album "England" is a perfect example of the sound they were trying to accomplish. The first three songs are very pastoral and linked together as a suite based on some paintings. This suite is excellent and well-composed. The album would have benefitted well to continue with this concept. The sound and production is clean and crisp, the way you would expect this type of music to sound. The music is far from complicated, but it is definitely inventive and original even considering they vintage style of music they are making.

The remaining songs are quite short, remaining under 4 minutes and as such, are underdeveloped. The only real redeeming track is the "Sinfonia for Guitar and Strings" which I wish was longer as a typical Symphony would be. A very pleasant instrumental which would have taken the album to another level if it were explored more. Other than that, "Cantus Firmus to Counterpoint", though sporting an impressive title, is pretty much just a variation of "We Three Kings'. Nothing else stands out here, the rest are just overly simple pastoral sounding songs. Pleasant to listen to most of the time, but sometimes on the weaker songs, things get a little too cheesy, and would probably only be taken as overly charming to the point of satirical. I would call the album good, but non-essential. Nice but, except for the first 3 tracks, not very well developed.

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 The Amazing Elsie Emerald by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.13 | 4 ratings

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The Amazing Elsie Emerald
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by thongordamien

4 stars It was a sense of nostalgia that led me to catch up on a number of the bands i loved as a teenager of which the Amazing Blondel were one. I bought this album expecting that quirky traditional folk rock sound that i remembered but was surprised to find a laid back slightly jazzy almost eagles style of music. So at first i was disappointed then after one or two more listens i found more and more friends commenting on how much they enjoyed it and realised that I was too. These are well written easy listening pieces that are perfect summer listening. Not a great progrock album but definitely a really good one.

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 The Amazing Elsie Emerald by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.13 | 4 ratings

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The Amazing Elsie Emerald
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

1 stars Ignoring the misleadingly salacious cover, this reunion of the late 1970s 66.6% of AMAZING BLONDEL (minus John Gladwin who did appear on the "Restoration" comeback in 1997) remains superficially consistent with their product of that bygone age. John "Rabbit" Bundrick even returns as guest on keyboards.

Soft rock is still the stock in trade, but far more uniformly than ever before.. With glossy somnolence this sashays from one mellow string synth-heavy tune to another, and without the counterbalancing of more truly upbeat material, this can presumably only tug at synthesized heart strings because I felt nothing. Overproduction also coats every tune with a sickly syrup of sorts, a presumed prophylactic against melodic and character protrusion. I half expect Pet Clark to start singing after the intro to "Maybe", but why would she bother?

The only track that doesn't sound like a mediocre out-take of their glory years is "Fool's Gold", which could have sat quite well on the "Inspiration" album, and features fine accordion by Wincott. "Next Time" is also decent, but in general you are far better off listening to the "Going where the Music Takes me" compilation if you want more of this ilk.

One mystery is how they could only come up with 34 minutes given the quality, but that's definitely a plus. Amazing, Elsie, in all the worst ways.

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 The Amazing Blondel by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.91 | 20 ratings

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The Amazing Blondel
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by androvick

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 compact disc all be it a vinyl remaster. A little bit heavier than their later music, which is more folky than prog. It's a reverse to Magna Carta who started out folky but who then became prog like. I give this album four stars because I wouldn't rate it as a master piece, but as it truly is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, that is if you can find an original Bell vinyl copy.

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 England by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 35 ratings

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England
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by the philosopher

1 stars The one thing I get on my mind by listening to this England of the Amazing Blondel is a movie showing bees and butterflies and great harmonie. Everone is smiling and dancing on the road. Animals live together with men in some kind of supersweet paradise full of beautiful flowers and trees.

I don't like this supersweetness. In fact, after the first two songs it realy starts irritating me and I want to stop listening. Just in case of reviewing this record, I forced myself to listen it at least two times, but I find this quiet challenging. The instrumental part is not interesting for me. Okey, this is a combination of rock and some orchestric, classical music, but I cannot place this music in a progressive context. The songs are not complex in structure or progression. The melodies are far too easy and the vocals are all so optimistic and happy sounding that it keeps annoying me.

The main instrument besides the (background) orchestra and strings is the flute. Don't expect any virtuosity here. This is no Ian Anderson playing the flute.

The first good song on the record starts in side two- song three. This is a string arrangement without vocals, which is the first progressive song. The good thing about this song is it's neutral sound and the absence of vocals. The last song is also quiet good and is also without vocals.

Sweet, sweet, sweet. I do NOT recommend this to prog-listeners and even to folk-fans - as I am myself. This kind of sweetness is not comparible with Steeleye Span e.a. This is hardcore sweetness.

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 Blondel (The Purple Album)  by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.36 | 20 ratings

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Blondel (The Purple Album)
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the first album recorded after the departure of writer Gladwin. Baird and Wincott decided to continue as a duo. Baird proved to be a valid writer too but the music was subjected to a significant change of direction.

While the sound remains predominantly acoustic, the sound is "updated" (acoustic instruments are less varied) and "modern" (thanks to drums and bass guitar played by Steve Winwood).

The fantastic opener "The Leaving of a Country Lover" starts with deep orchestral murmurings and then developes one of the most beautiful melodies I ever heard. The closer is even better, short, sad, aching, intense and romantic as never before.

In the middle a bunch of (folk) feathers and, above all, the most satisfying record from the band, in my opinion, although there is no high points as in "Fantasia Lindum" self titled suite.

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 England by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 35 ratings

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England
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is their fourth album and the last with John Gladwin, who wrote the most part of their discography until then, and shortly after the recordings left to go solo. After his departure the remaining two members Baird and Wincott decided to go on, shortening the name in "Blondel".

The music follows the same patterns of the previous records and is even sweeter and charming, expanded by strings in a sort of symphonic folk pastiche.

On par with "Fantasia Lindum", Gladwin delights us with another beautiful side-long suite, entitled "The Paintings". Differently from the former, the latter is more predictable and does not feature any improvisation, so I cannot say it is at the same level.

Curiously, in spite of the sweetness of the whole record, it ends with a noisy blurp. I've almost jumped off my chair the first time I heard it.

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 Fantasia Lindum  by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.34 | 28 ratings

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Fantasia Lindum
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Well, this is a big improvement from their previous work but it doesn't mean there's any rock or typical progressive folk attitude. Simply, the Amazing Blondel expanded the frontiers of the small medieval drops "EVENSONG" was made of.

The band embarks on a more adventurous and free number (good effort in improvisation) that embraces the whole first side of the record, opening with a memorable baroque clavier.

As I read somewhere in the internet, the "Fantasia Lindum" suite is the band's tribute to the city of Lincoln, the Lincolnshire countryside and the mediaeval Lincoln Cathedral. A variety of instruments are played, but the central sound is made of (in addition to the occasional clavier sequences) the two lutes of Gladwin and Baird and the wind instruments played by Wincott.

The other side of the album is less interesting and includes madrigal songs and two instrumental tunes. There is the hymn song "Safety in God Alone" and the pipe-organ-and-drums' duet of "Siege of Yaddlethorpe" with guest appearance of TRAFFIC's Jim Capaldi.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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