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AMAZING BLONDEL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Amazing Blondel biography
Active from 1969 to 1977 - Reactivated between 1997 and 2005

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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Evensong/Fantasia Lindum /  Amazing BlondelEvensong/Fantasia Lindum / Amazing Blondel
Remastered
Bgo 2017
$8.61
$8.18 (used)
England/Blondel /  Amazing BlondelEngland/Blondel / Amazing Blondel
Bgo 2017
$10.31
$10.30 (used)
RestorationRestoration
Talking Elephant 2016
$7.85
$12.06 (used)
Dead/Live in TransylvaniaDead/Live in Transylvania
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
$9.96
$9.95 (used)
BlondelBlondel
Edsel Records UK 2002
$34.89
$35.98 (used)
THE AMAZING BLONDELTHE AMAZING BLONDEL
Prog Temple 2013
$28.65
InspirationInspiration
Talking Elephant 2009
$10.10
$10.09 (used)
On with the Show (In Per Ostendo)On with the Show (In Per Ostendo)
Soundtrack
Dream Catcher Uk 2007
$7.25
$11.04 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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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)

2.96 | 27 ratings
The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces
1970
3.03 | 33 ratings
Evensong
1970
3.37 | 37 ratings
Fantasia Lindum
1971
3.32 | 45 ratings
England
1972
3.45 | 28 ratings
Blondel
1973
2.70 | 8 ratings
Mulgrave Street
1974
3.04 | 7 ratings
Inspiration
1975
1.42 | 8 ratings
Bad Dreams
1976
2.89 | 7 ratings
Restoration
1997
2.18 | 5 ratings
The Amazing Elsie Emerald
2010

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

3.39 | 3 ratings
Live in Tokyo
1977
2.72 | 7 ratings
A Foreign Field That Is Forever England. Live Abroad
1996
3.00 | 3 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)

3.68 | 6 ratings
Englishe Musicke
1993
4.00 | 3 ratings
Evensong / Fantasia Lindum
2004
3.10 | 2 ratings
Going Where the Music Takes Me
2004
2.14 | 2 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
 Blondel by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.45 | 28 ratings

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Blondel
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Blondel' is the 5th studio album released by Amazing Blondel and it is the first album that the group produced as a duo since the group's founder John David Gladwin left the group. It would also be the last of the band's albums that would be worth listening to as a whole because their style would veer from prog folk to a more pop sound afterwards. But at least they still had some folk in their music for this album.

Also, Steve Winwood would become a temporary member of the band on this album as he provides bass, and Simon Kirke from 'Free' would play drums. Paul Rodgers also from 'Free' and later 'Bad Company' would also sing some vocals on the track 'Weaver's Market'.

There was a slight difference on the track listings of the two different labels used to distribute the album, but the music remained the same. Island records left off the tracks 'Prelude' and 'Solo' from the track listing, but integrated those songs into 'The Leaving of the Country Lover' and 'Easy Come, Easy Go' respectively. Edsel Records listed the tracks correctly, as separate tracks. That's why there is some confusion over track listings.

'Prelude' works as exactly that, an opening, or prelude, to the album. It is a plesant, pastoral instrumental with slow sustained notes that provide an orchestral style introduction. This flows right into the track 'Leaving of the Country Lover' which fades in with acoustic guitar and vocals, with drums added later. Strings also join in later with some nice brass flair. As with all the music on this album, it is a nice, mellow folk melody that easily gets you in the mood for the album. The music is simple and quite accessible, with some nice flourish. Just after 3 minutes, the orchestral prelude theme returns bookending the track nicely.

'Young Man's Fancy' fades in with a more complex melody and immediate percussion, but still mellow and acoustic. The track has a more progressive aspect, but is still very accessible. Strings and a crumhorn joins in towards the middle, contributing to the pastoral feel of the album. The lilt of the rhythm increases just before a fade into another orchestral interlude. A sudden crash of cymbals and percussion brings in 'Easy Come, Easy Go', and a more airy and upbeat track that is somewhat more pop oriented starts. 'Solo' finishes off the suite-like feel of the first side of the album with an acoustic and pensive guitar solo.

'Sailing' starts with a jangly and cheerful pair of guitars and then vocals start. Again, we get a simple folk sound with a slight leaning towards pop, but not overly annoying. There is some slight string accompaniment, but the acoustic guitars hold the weight of the instrumental backdrop to this happy sounding tune. Percussion is kept light on this consisting mostly of a tambourine.

Now we begin the downward descent into schmaltzy sounding pop/folk ala John Denver that take up the next 3 tracks. First is 'Lesson One'. This one is just vocals and acoustic guitar. Then it's 'Festival' which is more upbeat 'gigue' style and has a chorus that sticks in your head for better or worse. At least you get some background vocals provided by Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie. Kind of silly, but kind of quaint too. It fades into a quiet piano interlude towards the end. Next follows 'Weavers' Market' which features Paul Rodgers on vocals. It does have the feel of a stripped down Bad Company track, but with some folkish dance flair. He trades lead vocals with one of the female background singers. Again, it's a bit charming and a bit corny at the same time.

'Depression' ends the album. It has a more folkish feel that was popular at the time. It's a nice slower melody backed up by acoustic guitar and flute and it breaks away from the corniness of the last 3 tracks. It's a nice, peaceful closer.

So, this is really the last good Amazing Blondel album that I really enjoy. Yeah, there is some poppiness that is starting to come into some of the tracks, but overall, it is a nice guilty pleasure to listen to when you want to hear something mellow with a happy undertone throughout. A few tracks are corny, like I said, but there is still a strange attraction to them at the same time. This was also apparent on their past albums, but it was after this that the band really got to the point that their music became embarrassing as they try to incorporate a more pop sound over the folk sound they had become famous for. This is the last of their albums I feel comfortable giving 4 stars to as a traditional style folk album.

 Bad Dreams by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
1.42 | 8 ratings

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Bad Dreams
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars At this point in Blondel's history, any semblance to Folk has been abandoned. There was an attempt to make this band soft rock, radio-friendly fare. As this album proves, it was a complete failure.

You get two types of music here; boring soft rock (worse than "Bread" , or more similar to "Lobo") and plastic soul/funk. This is really bad. You could tell that there were some heartfelt attempts like in the instrumental section of "Big Boy", but even those were drowned out by schleppiness.

The attempt obviously didn't work because the album didn't sell very well and the band went on hiatus for many years, after which they attempted a revival, but didn't have a lot of luck with that either.

If you are thinking you might even get a little semblance of their earlier years, where they actually brushed up against excellent Prog Folk music, well don't bother. This is really terrible, unless you like really bad 70's pop.

 The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.96 | 27 ratings

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The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

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.

 Dead - Live in Transylvania by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Live, 2011
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Dead - Live in Transylvania
Amazing Blondel Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Recorded a quarter century or more after the Island records heyday of AMAZING BLONDEL, this is nonetheless the recommended live album from the band named for the minstrel of Richard the Lionheart. It draws from the period universally regarded as their peak, from 1969-1973, while incorporating a couple of samples from their 1997 reunion effort "Restoration", and stars all 3 of the original band members. The production is crystalline and the trio is in top form. As in their other live releases, they tend to stick with simple reproduction of studio work, but this time they offer a variation on the medley theme, where several "two for the price of one" offerings demonstrate their dexterity and imagination. This is best illustrated on "Sailing", which morphs pleasantly into "Young Man's Fancy" as a single track, both initially housed on the purple album, and they do similar with "Shepherd's Song" and "Weaver's Market", which originally bookended the band's halcyon days, Another triumph is a newish arrangement of the sublimely simple and ageless tale of clandestine love "Under the Greenwood Tree", which pays respects to but deftly alters the original. While AMAZING BLONDEL were never the most exciting of studio or live bands, "Dead...Live in Transylvania" checks in with a still warm pulse and a gentle soul.
 Fantasia Lindum by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.37 | 37 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.

 Evensong by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.03 | 33 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.

 England by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.32 | 45 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.

 The Amazing Elsie Emerald by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.18 | 5 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.
 The Amazing Elsie Emerald by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.18 | 5 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.

 The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces by AMAZING BLONDEL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.96 | 27 ratings

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The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces
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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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