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Kings & Queens
Top Customer Reviews
(NOTE: the other members of the Yardbirds formed some minor league band called 'Led something...' and faded into obscurity - or maybe not!)
This was my first introduction to the glories of classical piano, and the tunes from this first album have haunted me ever since the early '70s.
Fabulous vocals from Jane Relf, brilliant keyboards from John Hawken and delicious bubbling bass lines from Louis Cennamo.
A very successful mix of Classical themes and Rock music - at least on this first album. There was a second one (Illusion) which appears to be more a collection of half-rehearsed demos and outtakes. I thoroughly recommend the first album.
However, as Renaissance they had largely abandoned R'n'B and instead discovered Beethovan in the company Jim Hawken. As a result their music was a sophisticated hybrid of "Beethovian blues rock". As memories now fade it is difficult to remember whether this album or King Crimsons "Court" was released first in 1969, (and both by Island Records, and "Court" being only a couple of digits lower in Island catlogue numbering). So nowadays when debates comes up about the first true prog album, "Court" is often cited, when in fact the eponymous Renaissance album was originally released about the same time.
Back in 1969 undeground or progressive music fans recognised both albums as ones introducing new ideas played at the highest levels of musiciansship and on well-recorded LPs, - which had only been suggested by the likes of the Moody Blues'" Days Of Future Past", (who were largely ignored in the UK as album-artists at the time) - or more roughly presented by Nice.
Renaissance were picked up by the overground media, and so became more than just a band with an underground following. In particular, the previously straight Jim Mossman, presenter of the new BBC 2 TV's art series broke the rules and had this group of "pop musicians" on his show to discuss and play their music. The public became aware that young, long haired musicians were capable of making more than just 3 minute hits, that were normally forgotten 3 months later.Read more ›
Having just played it this evening, I have to say that if this album were to be released today, it would cause a sensation. There are more ideas crammed into its five (admittedly lengthy) tracks than many of today's bands would come up with in their entire careers. It encompasses everything from rock, to classical, folk, a hint of jazz, and even some early ambient-style music. OK, so some of the classical passages have been plundered, without much alteration, straight from the likes of Beethoven, but the overall effect is never less than mesmerising.
This album certainly doesn't seem to have dated anywhere near as much as some of its contemporaries, partly because of its standard of production, but also because its musical ideas did not, in the main, become cliches of the "progressive rock" genre. Listen to the final track, Bullet, for example. Throughout its duration, you can hear echoes of 90's bands like Primal Scream, hints of Robert Fripp's guitar solo from King Crimson's Moonchild, but this time played on the bass, and a precursor to the kind of ambient sounds that Tangerine Dream would come up with a few years later.
If you're not familiar with this album, but want to hear something interesting and adventurous, and are not put off by the "prog" connotations, then I heartily suggest you buy it now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did not personally like this album. It lacked the style and composition of later albums but then we all have off days.Published 3 months ago by Adrian SHJ Furnell
This Renaissance is quite like the later development of the band, but the songs are more rambling, a bit less structured. But I like it.Published on 4 Sept. 2013 by Alan C. Harris
I saw Keith with Renaissance at the Marquee in late 1969. Their style was unique. I already have the vinyl album but haven't played it for ages. Read morePublished on 16 Aug. 2013 by RC
As a fan I have to say I love this, but then as a fan I would. I am slowly buying digital copies of their songs although I still have my vinyl. Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2011 by MommaBear
Yes; of its era but very listenable even now. Some elements might be considered precious today, but the majority of tracks are really lovely. Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2009 by G. E. Mcmillan-cox