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Renaissance

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collectors Choice Music
  • ASIN: B0000631PS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,071 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Kings And Queens
  2. Innocence
  3. Island
  4. Wanderer
  5. Bullet

Product Description



Medium 1
Kings & Queens
Innocence
Island
Wanderer
Bullet

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The first album from Renaissance, before they transmuted into a soft-rock AOR band, was composed and played by former members of the Yardbirds and is a fantastic mix of classical piano music with what later came to be known as "prog rock" (once Keith Emerson got hold of it and gave it a bad name).

(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.
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Format: Audio CD
Whilst the new comer to the legendary Yardbirds' line-up, Jimmy Page was the one who took the band's name only to quickly evolved into Led Zeppelin. In the meanwhile, the majority of the Yardbirds became Renaissance.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
I originally heard and bought this album when I was in my teens. For whatever reason, whether it was because I deemed it to be no longer fashionable, or perhaps because I was just tired of it, I disposed of it a few years later. Even though I'd not heard the album for over thirty years, some of the tunes would still occasionally surface in my head. With this in mind, when I saw it at a bargain price on Amazon, I decided I had to buy it again.
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.
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By Peter Steward TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2015
Format: Audio CD
This remains an important album for me as it was one of the first strictly prog/classical cross over albums that I enjoyed and mainly for the excellent track Island which remains one of my favourites of this particular genre. This might be very early Renaissance but it does set out a style and template for future albums. Jane Relf's voice on Island is just about as good as it gets, blending in beautifully with the backing. It's an album that attacks almost from the off with Kings and Queens opening with a classical arpeggio feel although Keith Relf's vocals are not all that strong. The original line-up was soon to disintegrate, however, and re-align itself with something rather more permanent. At times this sounds a bit fiddly, but the playing is sharp and progressive even if it does steal from numerous classical genres. There is certainly enough light and stage to make it an important album of its time despite the fact that it only charted very low down.
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