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Amazing Blondel - The Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces CD (album) cover


Amazing Blondel


Prog Folk

3.05 | 29 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars AMAZING BLONDEL are an English Prog-Folk band who've released ten albums throughout their long career. Their particular speciality is a reinvention of medieval Renaissance music, featuring pavanes, galliards and madrigals. They've released a whole string of albums during the 1970's, starting with the album reviewed here, "The Amazing Blondel (and a Few Faces)" (1970). They recorded four early 1970's albums on Island Records:- "Evensong" (1970); "Fantasia Lindum" (1971); "England" (1972); and "Blondel" (1973); and three albums on the D.J.M. Records label: "Mulgrave Street" (1974); "Inspiration" (1975); and "Bad Dreams" (1976). The band then took a long sabbatical before making a comeback with "Restoration" (1997) and "The Amazing Elsie Emerald" (2010). Let's have a listen to Amazing Blondel's first album now and find out if the band really ARE as Amazing as their name implies.

The quaint Renaissance Folk of the opening song "Saxon Lady" sounds quintessentially English, but if you listen carefully, you can also hear the sound of an Indian sitar, giving the song a faintly exotic eastern ambience. You can almost picture the scene of English folks prancing merrily around the maypole to this music, dressed in garters and gaiters and gaily shaking their tassels and rattling their bell pads - and that's just the men! We're on a mission next with the "Bethel Town Mission", a rambunctious burst of rabble-rousing Folk Rock which sounds like the kind of stirring sing-along-song anyone could join in with on a pub karaoke night, having downed a few bevies of beer beforehand. 'Tis "The Season of the Year" next, a brief pastoral flute and guitar etude, in the style of a jolly Renaissance madrigal, which sounds charming at any time of the year. Jollying things along now comes "Canaan", an inspirational and devotional song of praise which has a spiritual gospel feel to it. If only they played music as rousing and inspirational as this in English church services, the parishioners would be flocking back to church on Sunday in their droves. It's time to round up the sheep now for "Shepherd's Song", a merry Olde Englishe Folke song that sounds as traditionally English as a ploughman's lunch and a pint of beer in an oak-beamed tavern with a thatched roof in the Cotswolds.

Opening Side Two is the BIG bluesy ballad, "Though You Don't Want My Love", a rousing romantic refrain that's guaranteed to raise the spirits up to the rafters, and continuing with the romantic mood comes "Love Sonnet", a beautiful pastoral melody that's positively overflowing with love and passion, although the lyrics reveal a sad tale of lost love:- "Oh my darling you cannot hide, The love you once had for me has died." ..... It's a charming bittersweet tale of a young English gentleman wistfully hoping to rekindle the flame of a lost love affair with his fair maiden, so keep a hanky at the ready. We're off to sunny Spain next for "Spanish Lace", an upbeat and uplifting Folk-Pop song with a bright and sunny disposition, imbued with all of the warmth and happiness of a bright ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds. There's a change of pace for "Minstrel's Song", a mournful madrigal floating on a serenade of strings, which leads us into the rather rude and impolite- sounding "Bastard Song", which turns out to be a rousing Folk-Rock song to sing around the campfire together. It's a spirited song instilled with all of the vim and vigour of "Kumbaya" and more besides.

Amazing Blondel have made quite a dramatic entrance with their debut album of charming English Folk. It's a traditional English Renaissance world of merry minstrels and melodic madrigals. This pastoral Folk album isn't likely to take the Prog- Rock world by storm, but if you're in the mood for some sweet vocal harmonies and lovely folky melodies bathed in a sea of sensational strings, then this could be the album for you.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |


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