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1991 reissue on One Way of the respected prog veterans third album, originally released on Capitol in 1972. The album marked several major turning points in their career - it was their first for Capitol after leaving Island Records; it was the first with
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This is the first time listeners were exposed to the beautiful vocals of Annie Haslam, soon to become one of progressive rock's most respected voices. John Tout's masterful keyboard work dominates instrumentally -- from the open bars of the first track, a causal listener might think a classical disc might have been substituted by mistake, but with the entry of Jon Camp's bass and Terry Sullivan's drums, the classical and rock influences mesh thoroughly and effectively. Rob Hendry's guitar work is tasteful throughout as well. An added treat is the guest appearance by Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air) on synthesizer on the final track, 'Rajah Khan'.
Throughout their long career, the music of Renaissance was always very impresionistic and evocative -- and the evidence of that can be heard very clearly on this excellent recording. By the time of their next release, ASHES ARE BURNING, the band had gelled even further, and they were off and running, composing their own material and making a very respectable name for themselves in the area of progressive rock.
An essential audio document of an important genre. Nice to see it available at a reasonable price.
"Prologue" is an experimental-type song, with vocals that don't contain words. It's a happy feeling song and the middle section makes me want to dance. "Kiev" is a story telling song with some cool bass parts, more great piano sections, and it sounds sad until the very end. "Sounds of The Sea" is a slow piano song, these days too slow for me but still a beautiful song. "Spare Some Love" is a very hippie-like song. "Bound For Infinity" is slower, but also one of my favorites, sad and beautiful. "Rajah Khan" is the closest thing they've ever done to heavy metal. I love the intro. This song is another wordless-vocal song, which is very psychadelic and trippy, kind of tribal, and one of the weirdest songs I've ever heard. I love it!
This album contains a lot of beautiful 3-part harmonies and a lot of skillful, sensitive piano playing, which sometimes contains sections of classical music. Every time I hear piano playing in modern music it makes me think of Renaissance.
To me, this is Renaissance's best album, followed by many more. I love everything about it. And of course, Annie Haslam is the best singer in the world. I love her to death. I've listened to this album (in record form too!) and stared at its surreal cover ever since I was a kid and it has had so much influence in my life.
In retrospect it is certainly interesting to look at the the rough beginnings of "Spare Some Love" as a "pop hit" and "Rajah Khan" as a lengthy instrumental set piece and then compare them with "Carpet of the Sun" and "Ashes Are Burning" on the group's very next album (the two albums were released as a CD set "Renaissance: In the Beginning") by Capitol some time back), the point at which Renaissance can truly be said to have found its voice.