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ENGLISH FOLK MUSIC

John Renbourn -> Mick Ryan & Pete Harris

JOHN RENBOURN
 
LEON ROSSELSON
KATE RUSBY
 

 
JOHN RENBOURN Shanachie 97009 The Black Balloon ● CD $15.98
Reissue of this fine album with new cover and notes. First half is a selection of traditional and Elizabethan tunes while the second half features two original tunes where John mixes baroque, folk and jazz influences.

 
JOHN RENBOURN Shanachie 97014 The Hermit ● CD $15.98
Renbourn fans and guitar lovers have here a generous helping of Pentangle founder Renbourn, encompassing the full range of styles for which he's become famous--from guitar transcriptions of early lute pieces to the blues. This album is perhaps more aggressively classical in approach and feel than some others in the Guitar Artistry series, but shouldn't scare off the avid student. Three lovely Irish airs and the unattributed Goat Island are given full TAB notation in the fat CD booklet. Goat Island is one of the more intriguing tunes on the album; a loping piece, and lots of fun to try to follow along with. Overall, the blend of moods is very nice indeed, though more than once I wished that the top mike hadn't been placed to pick up Renbourn's nose breathing quite so accurately. Still, there's a deal to be said for intimacy in recording. (DC)

 
JOHN RENBOURN Shanachie 97021 Sir John A Lot ● CD $15.98
The early '70s "Sir John" is a sampling of two distinct sides to Renbourn's style and repertoire. The first half presents the lyric Renaissance guitar, developed from lute literature and pattern-picked English ballads. The second half is Renbourn at his blues-tinged, hard-attack folk jazz best. The tab booklet packed with the CD covers all bases and is clear and accurate. Compared with the old LP, the CD sounds pretty raw and brittle in places, and left and right channels have been mysteriously switched. Still, it's hot playing, worth a listen. Side note: it would be nice if Shanachie would indicate the original recording date of these Guitar Artistry rereleases, to give the avid student an idea what point in an artist's development the CD represents. Renbourn, for one, has gone through many musical phases and some are more interesting than others. (DC)

 
JOHN RENBOURN Shanachie 97022 The Lady And The Unicorn ● CD $15.98
Backed by fellow ex-Pentangler Terry Cox, Dave Swarbrick, and 4 others, Renbourn has created a superbly focused work, letting his love for medieval music, lute literature, and early English balladry shine. Included are airs Renbourn first made famous with Pentangle, La Rotta, Lamento di Tristan, and Bransle Gay being must-learn pieces for any folk guitarist. They simply never lose their charm, lilt, or inspiration, even after 20 years. CD technology is a little unkind here, revealing a number of off-mike bumps and squeaks that were once politely lost in surface noise. There is one silly moment, with Bach's Sarabande drenched in tremolo. Still, the final medley is as lovely as anything Renbourn has ever done. Fine tablature booklet is included. (DC)

 
JOHN RENBOURN & STEFAN GROSSMAN Shanachie 95006 The Three Kingdoms ● CD $15.98

 
JOHN RENBOURN GROUP Shanachie 79004 A Maid In Bedlam ● CD $15.98
This excellent first album by the John Renbourn Group evokes the music of Pentangle, mainly because of the presence of Jacquie McShee and Renbourn - with Tony Roberts & Sue Draheim - mostly traditional songs - includes songs and tunes from England, Ireland, Germany & America - Black Waterside/ A Maid in Bedlam/ John Barleycorn/ My Johnny Was a Shoemaker/ The Battle of Aughram , etc

 
JOHN RENBOURN GROUP Shanachie 79074 The Enchanted Garden ● CD $15.98
This is a flat-out winner! Renbourn has fused all the elements representing the best of Pentangle and his early Renaissance/blues fusion and produced a gem that's as good as anything he's ever done. With this band Renbourn can tie together 14th century Machaut, a Napoleonic broken token ballad and an extended Indian-influenced folk-jazz improv and it all makes perfect sense. Jacqui McShee's vocals are stunning, John Molineux is rock solid on vocals and half a dozen instruments, and Renbourn's guitar technique seems to be even more intense and controlled than on other recent albums. Multiple woodwinds, tabla, and snare drum round out the band. Renbourn succeeds here in what he does best - taking music from the past, pushing it gently into the future, and enriching us all in the process. (DC)

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 001 RosselSonGs ● CD $19.98
18 tracks, 72 mins, Essential. One can argue that Rosselson is not exactly a great singer. But his songs are among the greatest achievements in contemporary English folk-topical circles. This is a compilation of songs from throughout his recording career, his best-known tunes accompanied by his gang of folkie conspirators: Roy Bailey, Martin Carthy, Rory McLeod, Frankie Armstrong among them. Stand Up for Judas, Bringing the News from Nowhere, a remake of The World Turned Upside Down are the diamonds in a field of musical gems. Rosselson was leary of the compact disc when he agreed to submit to it. But the sound quality, while not ear-boggling because he took the low budget folkie approach to recording, is a big improvement over the often iffy vinyl pressings that were, until this, the only alternative. (LK)

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 002 Wo Sind Die Elefanten? (Where Are The Elephants?) ● CD $19.98
10 tracks, 42 min. Recommended. Unlike his other two compact discs, this one is not a compilation, but a 1991 recording by England's premier topical and witty songwriter. Some of the political sentiments expressed haven't aged well even in this short time, what with global changes, but then Song of the Old Communist takes on new significance. Other rather bizarre story-songs -- The Neighbours' Cat, The Poet, the Wife and the Monkey -- show that not everything Rosselson wrote about has to have historical significance or offer subversive commentary on current events. (LK)

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 003 Guess What They're Selling At The Happiness Counter ● CD $19.98
19 songs, 73 minutes, recommended. A second compilation of songs from throughout English wit and literarily subversive folkie Rosselson is a good companion to the previous RosselSonGs. Some of these tunes are essential, including Voices, The World's Police, The Voice That Lives Inside You. Accompanying musicians, as with RosselSonGs, include Frankie Armstrong, Martin Carthy, Roy Bailey. (LK)

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 005 Intruders ● CD $19.98
11 tracks, 48 mins., recommended Rosselson is an artist of such uncompromising intensity that some find him hard to take and even admirers may need to absorb him in small doses. This CD finds the songwriter in full froth, backed by Martin Carthy, Fiz Shapur, Liz Mansfield, Chris Foster, and Sianed Jones, and going for the throats of politicians and warmongers and bigots. But the best songs here are the most personal. Monologue is one of the most telling distillations of how a relationship can derail through lack of communication that I've ever heard. And it manages to be darkly funny on top of that. And in A Very Busy Man Rosselson takes a swipe at the overamped self-importance of the modern white-collar drone. All songs are new except for a new rendition of his 1971 The Word Market which really required one's undivided attention to absorb. This is thoughtful, difficult poetry. But surprise: he's provided a happy ending! (DC)

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 006 Perspectives ● CD $19.98
18 songs - mostly new recordings of songs Leon recorded in the 70s and early 80s - The Ant & The Grasshopper/ Plan/ History Lesson/ Consider The Najority/ Experts/ The Rules Of The Game, etc. With Roy Bailey, Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and others.

 
LEON ROSSELSON Fuse CFCD 007 Harry's Gone Fishing ● CD $19.98

 
LEON ROSSELSON Gadfly 241 Perspectives ● CD $15.98
First release on a U.S. label by one of England's most important topical songwriters. 18 songs - mostly new recordings of songs Leon recorded in the 70s and early 80s - The Ant & The Grasshopper/ Plan/ History Lesson/ Consider The Najority/ Experts/ The Rules Of The Game, etc. With guest appearances from Roy Bailey, Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and others.

 
KATE RUSBY Compass 4310 Little Lights ● CD $15.98
New album from this talented English performer is a collection of traditional songs, original songs (mostly in traditional style) and a fine version of Richard Thompson's Withered And Died. Includes Playing Of Ball/ Merry Green Broom/ Canaan's Land/ William & Davy/ Matt Hyland and others. Produced by John McCusker who also plays on the album along with Ian Carr, Darrell Scott, Andy Seward, Danny Thompson, Mairtin O'Connor and many other luminaries.

 
KATE RUSBY Pure Records PRCD 02 Hourglass ● CD $19.98

 
KATE RUSBY Pure Records PRCD 06 Sleepless ● CD $18.98
Half traditional and half originals with instrumental accompaniments from Ian Carr, Roger Wilson, Tim O'Brien, Andy Cutting and others - The Cobblers Daughter/ The Fairest Of All Yarrow/ Sho Heen/ All God's Angels/ The Duke & The Tinker/ The Sleepless Sailor, etc.

 
KATE RUSBY & KATHRYN ROBERTS Compass 4270 Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts ● CD $15.98

 

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