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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chronological look at the later years of Renaissance
This second volume in the 1990 Renaissance retrospective, also known as the "Green" one, covers the progressive (nee classical) rock group's work from 1977-79. There are three tracks from the "Novella" album and two each from "A Song for All Seasons" and "Azure d'Or." The tracks from this last album, "Jekyll and Hyde" and "The Winter Tree," clearly evidence the radical...
Published on October 3, 2000 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like the choice of"Jekyl and Hide" and"Winter tree"
Well finally the album "Novella" is well represented (my complaint in the previous "Tales of...vol 1 regarded the lack of such jewels from Novella and also the absence of the title track from "Ashes are burning", here present ... but I didn't know the choice of the songs inside vol 2); instead the absence of "Opening out" from "A...
Published on March 25, 2003 by Lethe


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chronological look at the later years of Renaissance, October 3, 2000
By 
This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
This second volume in the 1990 Renaissance retrospective, also known as the "Green" one, covers the progressive (nee classical) rock group's work from 1977-79. There are three tracks from the "Novella" album and two each from "A Song for All Seasons" and "Azure d'Or." The tracks from this last album, "Jekyll and Hyde" and "The Winter Tree," clearly evidence the radical change in the group's sound when synthesizers replaced the orchestra in the background. I would much rather they had gone back and included two other songs from the other albums than provide these somewhat painful reminders of the group's decline. The other five tracks are clearly the best from those two particular albums, especially when it comes to showcasing the soaring vocal talents of Annie Haslam. Especially enjoyable are the awesome full-powered high note at the end of "Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep)" and the multi-tracked harmonies of the final chorus of "Northern Lights".
The final track is the 23:47 live version of "Ashes Are Burning" from the celebrated Carnegie Hall concert double-album. Although this is the one track in the collection that is chronologically out of sequence, it is the perfect song to end the collection since "Ashes" was Renaissance's celebrated encore piece, wherein each group member had amble room to do a solo. Even with this addition, most fans would agree the first volume is more of a total delight from start to finish.
It has been ten years since the "Tales of 10001 Nights" set was released in the explosion of "greatest hits" albums that defined the start of the movement towards CD. Apparently sales were brisk enough to warrant the individual albums now being released overseas. Hopefully we can get past this import nonsense and be able to update our Renaissance record collections on this side of the pond.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection from a unique group, July 24, 2000
This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
This is the companion CD to 1001 Nights, Volume One. If you've got the one, you'll want to have the other: together, they present an excellent picture of this unique band.
I've already posted a review on the first volume, so I'll not repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that this volume focuses on the band's output from the almost legendary "Live at Carnegie Hall" (which features the 23 minute version of "Ashes Are Burning", also to be foun here) to the disappointing "Azure d'Or". This wasn't the band's heyday (with the exception of "Carnegie" and, perhaps, the studio album "Novella"), but there is still a very great deal to enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strictly for Progressive Rock aficionados, May 8, 2006
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This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
If one's musical inclination lies in the fusion of folk, rock and classical music, then "Tales of 1001 Nights -- Vols. I & II" by Renaissance should resonate comfortably with you. Similar in musicality to Mannheim Steamroller, but interwoven with thoughtful lyrics from Cornish poetess Betty Thatcher, many of the masterpieces which brought international acclaim to this seventies 'art rock' group are faithfully represented here, both in their Carnegie Hall and studio recordings between 1971 and 1979. While the inclusion of "Rajah Khan", "The Flood at Lyons" and "Sisters" would have been nice additions to either of these albums (or perhaps another album a la "Tales of 1001 Nights -- Vol. 3"), it is nonetheless an absolute delight to hear many of Michael Dunford's skillfully crafted compositions, Annie Haslam's soaring vocals, John Tout's classical interpretations on keyboard, Jon Camp's lead bass and Terry Sullivan's percussion preserved on two CDs for future generations. Though critics often label Renaissance a 'pretentious' progressive rock band, one should consider their musical repertoire in the context of instruments available and musical styles other bands had covered up to this time, in which case one will then realise the innovation and intelligence of these meistersingers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straying ever so slightly from their classical roots, August 13, 2005
By 
Douglas Bowman (Bel Air, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
More than any other band in the progressive/classical movement of the 1970's, Renaissance stayed close to the symphonic stylings of the Romantic composers of the late 19th/early 20th century. They never relied on a "super-jock" instrumental soloist(i.e.Keith Emerson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman)and seldom strayed far from acoustic instrumentation.

The songs on "Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 2" are culled from later studio recordings in this band's regrettably short career.The offerings from the album "Novella" showcase the band's jazzier side, including a nice trumpet solo. The "Song for All Seasons" album is well represented, and Annie Haslam's striking vocals are showcased on the melodically-pleasing "Northern Lights". "Azure d'Or" was much maligned by even the most devoted fan of Renaissance, but "Winter Tree" is a pleasant pop song, reminiscent of 80's synth pop.

Finally, there is a 24 minute live version of the elegiac "Ashes are Burning", which builds from Annie's vocals into a tasteful piano solo by John Tout. Jon Camp, one of the most underrated bassists of the period, uses his bass effectively as lead instrument, soloing to a dramatic build that breaks with Mike Dunford's chiming harmonics on the acoustic guitar, bridging into the return of the whole band and the orchestra, and Haslam's final vocal run. It is truly a sublime piece of music.

Renaissance was an incredibly talented ensemble and featured one of the loveliest voices in rock music. I still enjoy listening and find their music appreciates with time.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to this Loudly..., March 26, 2000
By 
Dworkin Gork "Dworkin" (Skay Jubal, The Last Castle in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
If for no other reason, acquire this to gain access to the live (and long) version of Ashes Are Burning. This alone is worth the price of admission. I chanced to see this group when they were alive and well and this song says all. A wonderful blend of intensity and nary an elecrtic guitar (save the bass) to be heard, yet there is nothing lacking. The vocals are suburb. This group influenced everyone including King Crimson, Yes and Genisis. Even Frank Zappa had kind words. Unfortunate that they went away and the liner notes explain this quite fully. Fortunate that this survives in CD format for anyone with interest to enjoy. And, should you be able, do turn up the volume.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only CD you'll need for compression tests..., June 10, 1998
By A Customer
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This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
don't buy new speakers without running Ashes Are Burning. between the awesome bass solo, and the high treble of Annie Haslim's spectacular voice, you'll exercise the full range of musical possibilities. this song always gives me goosebumps. rennaisance is such an original band. they're the only one's i've ever heard that have made orchestral rock really work... and does it ever! if you want something interesting and out of the ordinary, this CD won't disappoint...
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1001 nights of great music, July 13, 2001
By 
Lin Collette (Pawtucket, RI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
I own all albums by Renaissance, and would not go without this collection or Volume 1. This is a great collection to have when one just wants to hear the best of Renaissance.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like the choice of"Jekyl and Hide" and"Winter tree", March 25, 2003
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This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
Well finally the album "Novella" is well represented (my complaint in the previous "Tales of...vol 1 regarded the lack of such jewels from Novella and also the absence of the title track from "Ashes are burning", here present ... but I didn't know the choice of the songs inside vol 2); instead the absence of "Opening out" from "A song for all seasons" is hard to accept...moreover some tracks from the disappointing album "Azure d'Or" are not so memorable in my opinion, apart from the usual stunning vocal performance by Annie Haslam!! The output is anyway good, as for the presence of the fantastic track "A song for all seasons", and for this reason I let you make your own choice!!
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good band that took the prog thing way too far, September 15, 2006
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This review is from: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 (Audio CD)
This band was very talented and adventerous but forgot a very important factor with popular music...the patrons are mostly kids and young people. Renaissance went way too far and essentially became classical artists. Classical is nice, I respect it but it lacks the energy and soul of rock and roll. Steeleye Span explored music of yesterday but maintained a rock edge. ELP and Yes veered into classical but also kept one foot in popular music. While i respect and admire that no one did what Renaissance did, the music did get a bit ponderous.

My favorite song on this is "Northern Lights". It is short, very melodic and has a hooky chorus yet it still features Annie Haslam's charming vocals.

If the group would have shortened up the songs a tad more, perhaps they would have had a larger audience.
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Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2
Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 by Renaissance (Audio CD - 1990)
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