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Vanilla Fudge


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Vanilla Fudge Renaissance album cover
4.09 | 115 ratings | 13 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Sky Cried - When I Was a Boy (7:41)
2. Thoughts (3:32)
3. Paradise (6:04)
4. That's What Makes a Man (4:29)
5. The Spell That Comes After (4:32)
6. Faceless People (6:07)
7. Season of the Witch (8:47)

Total Time 41:12

Bonus tracks on 1991 & 1998 remasters:
8. You Keep Me Hanging On (7" version) (3:00)
9. Come by Day Come by Night (2:58)
10. People (5:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Vince Martell / guitar, vocals
- Mark Stein / organ, lead vocals
- Tim Bogert / bass, vocals
- Carmine Appice / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Jim Visconti

LP ATCO - SD 33244 (1968, US)
LP ATCO - 33244 (1968, US) Mono version

CD Repertoire Records ‎- RR 4126-WZ (1991, Germany) Remastered by Bob Irwin w/ 3 bonus tracks
CD Sundazed Music ‎- SC 6143 (1998, US) Remastered by Bob Irwin w/ 3 bonus tracks
2CD Edsel Records ‎- EDSD 2020 (2008, Europe) Bundled edition w/ "Near the Beginning" (1969)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance Music

VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance ratings distribution

(115 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars THE fudge album . The critics came down heavy on them after their debut but this the third album as they came off an extremely bad BeatGoes On. Obviously they were not willing to give them a second chance AND THEY WERE WRONG !!!! This is mind boggling psych and Stein is tearing the guts off his Hammond organ in a way that Bands like Front 242 will do with their synth some twenty years on . This is so HEAVY ! The rest of the band is not faring bad either as Bogert and Appice will be considered as master of heavies . Stupendous Season Of the Witch.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This band started its career by doing artistic cover versions from tunes composed by other people, and this third album presents their own matured composing skills. Earlier "The Beat Goes On" was more like an abstract artsy tryout when compared to this masterpiece in my opinion. The most dominant elements are still the strong organ chord layers, powerful vocal harmonies and very strong emotional load, resembling a state of religious pathos.

A crash of gong opens the album, and introduces a dualistic song "The Sky Cried - When I was A Boy". This beginning holds a mysterious haze of psychedelic sounds seeking their form, concreting as an aggressive storm blasting furious fuzz guitar sounds, stormy drums thunderbolts, wild raw keyboards and preaching vocal sermon. The verse brings a calm eye to this storm with some sound effects, contrasting the song's drive effectively. The duo song shifts to its second phase via short graveyard soundscape, section with full of true anxiety. Following "Thoughts" is a shorter song culminating to a chorus sections, having also a calmer verses and bursting with exploding emotions. "Paradise" starts with eerie organ solo painting very raw and interesting visions; This is another longer track running for over six minutes, and it takes it time to build up. The rest of the band creeps in with multi vocal harmonies. The main part of the composition is another wonderful melancholic keyboard driven calm sequence, paused by heavenly voids of contemplation.

Then there's a batch of two shorter songs; "That's What Makes a Man" has a dynamic theme, which is followed by another poetic composition shifting from calm verse growing in power for the strong chorus. "The Spell That Comes After" begins with abstract rhythmic process of voices creating a magical feeling. These melt as another powerful melodic tune following the stylistic line of previous the songs. There's a cool short jazzy quotation arranged in the middle of it, and the available space is used for the aural description of magical events, making this one of the most impressionistic numbers here. "Faceless People" continues to flow nicely after it, bringing a calm vision of space, slowly starting to move and making room for the aggressive iconoclastic purge carving out the more conventional composition out of the chaos. This process was first introduced in their debut album, and it's a cool way to enrich basic rock tunes. Some may of course find such as unnecessary artsy overdoing, but I like it, as it brings more atavistic elements to the music, and fits to the song naturally. There's also very interesting raw guitar solo on this tune.

The last song is the long "Season of the Witch" running nearly nine minutes. It also begins very calmly, taking its time, and allowing quiet drops to fall over a distant humming of the organs. The vocal melodies start to drive the composition, which rolls as slow and frightful tides. This song relies much on the vocals, there's even some kind of narrated part in it, and the final ending of it is very grim. My copy didn't have the bonus tracks, but I have heard two of them from the "Psychedelic Sundae" compilation. 7' Version of "You Keep Me Hanging On" cuts out the long starting rituals of the original album version, which I maybe prefer a bit more, and "Come By Day Come By Night" is beautiful and dreamy melodic 1960's song colored with psychedelic tones.

If you liked this album, hunt down Arcadium's "Breathe Awhile", it holds quite similar powerful music sounding pretty much this album. I have also heard that this band was an influence for Uriah Heep, and though their music is more happier and not as trippy as this, I believe this innovation can yet be heard in tunes like "July Morning". Recommended warmly if you like serious and emotional music from late 1960's, and if you do not shun depressive music.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Songs for all seasons

"Renaissance" is for me where Vanilla Fudge came closest to sounding like their fellow travellers Grand Funk Railroad. Here we have an album of deliciously heavy, original material and covers which demonstrates clearly how the band had matured and developed their sound.

Longer tracks such as "Seasons of the witch" (a Donovan song) and "Faceless people" are wonderfully arranged songs which are performed with confidence and style. The former is a slower, slightly understated (for Vanilla Fudge!) number, while "Faceless people" builds from a soft start through some all-guns-blazing organ and relatively rare lead guitar soloing before the vocals even start. The song has a passing resemblance to Mountain's classic cover of "Theme from an imaginary western" (probably just in my imagination!).

There are of course strong similarities with the likes of Uriah Heep in the swirling Hammond organ, the multi-part harmonies, and the oh-so-heavy rhythm section. There is a sense of adventure throughout this album which makes it noticeably different to other Vanilla Fudge releases, while simultaneously retaining all that is familiar about them.

In summary, another fine release by these under-appreciated pioneers. Worth investigating.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars After a good debut album full of covers and a poor follow-up, the Fudge is back with an extraordinary album.

If ever there is one album that the fans of the early Purple or Heep needs to listen to it is this one. Those heavy keys are so evocative and precursory of Jon and Ken's ones. From the very first gong sound of the sumptuous opening track "The Sky Cried when I Was a Boy", one knows that something special is going on.

In the land of heavy, this is one of the heaviest ones. It seems that the keyboards are vomited through my loud speakers while I listen to it. These vocals so superb and such a great source of inspiration for David (Byron). The birth of heavy rock, maybe?

"Thoughts" is another hymn to wild harmony. Heep has learned its lessons from this number, for sure! Short, apocalyptic, stunning. Give me more of that kind, please.

Almost each single number from this album is pure, wild and heavy psychedelia. To release such a frenetic album in .1968 was a great challenge. It shows that this band was more creative than what some might have thought. They are definitely much, much more than a great cover band (even if they remained one of the greatest of that kind).

The power that radiates from "Paradise" is just fabulous. Technique, virtuosity, melody are on the rendez-vous. But more than anything a very, very heavy sound throughout this album. These organ sounds combined with such a brilliant rhythmic section are just amazing.

The first cover song from this great album is "The Spell that Comes After". Somewhat weaker, I must say. This highlights their song writing capabilities. In a year's time they evolved dramatically and all on the good side.

The next track "Faceless People" is another jewel. I can reassure Easy Livin' : this song has definitely inspired Jack Bruce while he was writing the great "Theme From An Imaginary Western". It is one of my fave from this album (and the link to "Theme" is probably not alien to this). After the initial part, these organ and guitar are just so great. Orgasmic ?

The second cover brings us back to their debut while they were almost re-writing the original songs they were interpreting. Airplane also did some great work with a Donovan song ("Fat Angel"). This one completely transform it as well, but I am not fully seduced by "Season of the Witch".

This album deserves your full attention. It was really innovative for its time, and even if it might sound outdated for young prog freaks, just bear in mind that this album was released almost forty years ago...

The CD version features three bonus tracks which are different that the ones listed here. But none of "All In Your Mind" or "The Look of Love" are really worth. But "Where Is My Mind" is on par with the other pieces of the original album.

Four stars.

Review by stefro
3 stars Back to what they do best after the disastrous experimental excess of 'The Beat Goes On', the third album from very heavy-rock exponents Vanilla Fudge finds the four-piece trying their hand at original compositions that don't involve plundering the vaults of old radio stations(thank the gods). Coupled with a couple of trademark covers, Donovan's oft-repeated 'Season Of The Witch' prime among them, 'Renaissance' proves a thankful return-to-form. Obviously, and unlike the previous album, there was someone lurking in the studio with the balls to say 'no' to the musicians when it really counted, and as a result we get another punishing blend of meaty guitars, rumbling basses and juicy psychedelic organs, the dazzling seven-and-a-half minute opener 'The Sky Cried When I Was A Boy' leading the way. They may not be the most subtle of groups, yet there is something wonderfully raw about Vanilla Fudge's style, and 'Renaissance' is no exception. Bruising, fuzzy rock, this should more than satisfy hard-psych aficianados.


Review by Warthur
4 stars Surely ranking alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple when it comes to setting the standards for prog-leaning heavy psych, Vanilla Fudge's second album is a true tour de force, with a range of decent songs building up to the absolutely incredible album closer, Season of the Witch. Devastatngly doomy, if you swapped out Mark Stein's organ performance for a Tony Iommi guitar solo you'd basically arrive at early Black Sabbath - but you wouldn't want to, because the organ-focused proto-doom of the track offers a truly hair-raising and unique trip which must surely be one of the most underrated songs of all time.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Vanilla Fudge is the archetypical band for the hard-rock movement. Already on their first record they introduced the hammond organ and heavy guitar sound, which was adopted by famous bands as Deep Purple; the typical Vanilla Fudge sang was adopted by Uriah Heep. While I'm not fond of the debut ... (read more)

Report this review (#641440) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is indeed one of my favourites, so ahead of its time in so many different ways (as mention before by other reviewers). I find all the songs on the album to be strikingly beautiful and very well composed, the psychedelic and powerful guitar playing of Vince Martell, the furious organ of ... (read more)

Report this review (#135335) | Posted by Verwuestung | Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Feel like I'm letting the side down here, with 3 stars but there we are. Without a doubt a huge improvement on their previous diabolical LP. This release does have its moments. You can hear how much the band are improving and maturing. Lots of groovy Hammond Organ and falsetto harmonies make t ... (read more)

Report this review (#112162) | Posted by kingdhansak | Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a marvelous album! Sound is very dynamic, rough soulful and psychodelic, but it's hard to express by words how soulful it is. Just listen! This must had been a complete underground in 1968. If you seek for a comparison, you can find similar mood as in IRON BUTTERFLY albums, but this mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#86032) | Posted by coa190 | Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Considering this album came out in 1968, there really wasn't a precedent for music that sounded like this. To say this album was unique was a huge understatement. This album was definitely psychedelic, but at the same time it was also quite progressive. Given that their first album was esse ... (read more)

Report this review (#60964) | Posted by dltonya | Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is a god-like recording. If you ever want to hear the roots of just about anything heavy, this album is it. It is a dramatic display of band interaction that just seethes as much as it swoops. It's pre-goth. It's pre-metal. It's even pre-prog, yet it has all those elements and ... (read more)

Report this review (#39957) | Posted by | Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I consider this album to be one of the most innovative and best albums ever. What gender does this album really belong to? It encompasses everything from prog rock to psychedelic rock and touches of grunge and metal. It opens with the dramatic and painful "The Sky Cried/When I was a boy", which ... (read more)

Report this review (#39785) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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