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Amazing Blondel - Blondel CD (album) cover


Amazing Blondel


Prog Folk

3.40 | 29 ratings

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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.

TCat | 4/5 |


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