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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
11

HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 September 2013
After his first two solo albums, which were largely blues in style, John Renbourn gave free reign to his interest in early music with the release of Sir John Alot in 1968 and this, his fourth solo album released in 1970.

Here he uses his guitar to explore both Medieval Italian music and early English folk traditions, but infusing both with a style that is all his own, a lightly jazzy/bluesy touch that lends even greater depth to the music.

Renbourn's classic guitar playing, that clear melodic picking is much in evidence, as he sends complex rhythms trickling from the guitar strings. It's a simply beautiful album.

This 2001 remaster from Sanctuary is excellent. The remastered sound is as clear as a bell and lets' Renbourn's delightful playing shine through. It contains the original 8 tracks, plus two bonus tracks, a vocal version of Johnny Was A shoemaker, and a suite of Renbourn's solo material recorded with Pentangle, the group with which he was associated at the time. There is a reproduction of the original sleeve and some interesting liner notes. The release has been put together by people who care about the music for people who care about the music. 5 stars.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 June 2015
At the time of the new decade the 1970s, The group Pentangle, and its individual members including John Renbourn were at their peak of success.
Pentangle had scored three successful albums including their last album Basket of Light which had seen success in the singles and album charts in 1969.
John Renbourn had recorded three albums as a solo artist as well as albums with Bert Jansch and Dorris Henderson.

Now it was 1970 and the fourth album by John as a solo artist. This most excellent album continues the early music feel from his previous solo project Sir John Alot. John had been influenced by the work and recordings of David Munrow and the Early Music Consort and took an interest in the field.
Here on this highly unique and original album John gives us an Early music treatment, all in his unique folk music way, to many pieces.
The Medieval sound is married together with John playing Sitar and low volume electric guitar. He also use acoustic guitar. Along with John is fellow musician Terry Cox from Pentangle who provides violin, viola, concertina, flute and light percussion. The medieval sound is a bit misleading since the origin of much of the album spans some 500 years with pieces from 13th and 14th Centuries dance tunes to a piece from J.S.Bach and the Baroque period. And then on to the not so old instrumental sound of English Folk music.
. The whole album is a treat musically with some terrific arrangements. It is instrumental (except for the CD bonus tracks)

Tracks one and two contain two pieces each. All four have origin in Anon or Traditional. Track three has two pieces. One is from Anon and the other by Machaut. Then track four has two pieces by Gervaise. Track five has a piece by John Dowland and the Melancholy Galliard. Track six is Sarabande by J.S. Bach Then track seven is the title track The lady and the Unicorn by Renbourn. The album ends with track eight which has a medley of three Traditional folk songs. My Johnny was a shoemaker, Westron Wynde and Scarborough Fair All tracks arranged by John Renbourn.
The CD version is re mastered and contains two bonus tracks. The first is the vocal version of My Johnny was a shoemaker that has John and Jacqui McShee. The second bonus track comes from Pentangle with a medley of suitable pieces that John had already used in his repertoire.

This CD version of the album is really good and is well presented. The album itself is a great folk album and easily one to collect for fans of John Renbourn or Pentangle.
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on 27 March 2008
This album literally changed my tastes in music when i first heard it 18 years ago. I had up to then enjoyed mainly rock music - this introduced me to the joys of the renaissance and earlier. While the production sounds dated on some of these tracks, there is for me still what i consider the greatest - YES THE GREATEST - piece of instrumental music ever recorded anywhere on this album, the final track SCarborough Fair/My johnny was a shoemaker, and this isn't just down to Renbourn. The flautist Tony Roberts contribution is huge, and i've not found much else of his work unfortunately, apart from other Renbourn albums. There is an immnse sense of Englishness about the whole album, irrespective of the European source of some of the mediaeval pieces. Buy it for the 12 min wonder of SCarborough Fair medley alone. A minstrel walking through a summer wood, the larks of the morning singing their merry tune.
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on 30 July 2003
John Renbourn is usually mentioned in the same breath as Bert Jansch. True, their paths have crossed from time to time, but Renbourn is the far more eclectic of the two, covering a far wider range of music.
This is, in all probability his finest hour. John concentrates on his mediaeval leanings, turning out some nifty, wing-fingered versions of early Italian dance tunes - Trotto, Lamento Di Tristan and La Rotta.
On the French tunes Bransle de Bougogne/Bransle Gay, he switches to electric guitar for a lovely duet with Dave Swarbrick's fiddle.
The highlights though are a wonderful jazzy version of the old chestnut Scarborough and the magnificently intricate My Johnny Was A Shoe Maker.
Whether taken in tandem with his other sixties opus Sir Lonalot, or on it's own, this is one of THE standout folk guitar albums.
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on 12 February 2014
I acquired this recording in the early 70s and it is still amazingly entertaining and stimulating. There isn't a weak moment, even "Scarborough Faire" sounds strong. Renbourn is a master, and this is his masterpiece. Leslie tremeloes on lute tunes?
Yup, he makes it work. Anyone who likes traditional, folk, or promusica and isn't a stuffy authenticist needs this. If they are a stuffy authenticist, they need it even more.
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on 16 February 2010
This is an excellent album from the very underrated John Renbourn.As always his guitar playing is impeccable. His singing however is a touch lightweight, which is why I prefer The John Renbourn group albums such as " A Maid in Bedlam" "Live in America" and "Ship of Fools" which feature the top class vocals of Jacqui McShee Steve Tilston And Maggie Boyle. This is great value for the price though
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on 29 March 2014
I was familiar with album from my youth and paid a fair bit to purchase a deadstock copy from Japan. I'm glad I did. The music is as fresh and unique as it was way back then. A completely successful album.
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on 6 August 2011
this is an absolutley wonderful album just what i was looking for!it really does enchant you to the time of the lady and the unicorn!
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on 23 March 2013
I've never actually owned a copy of this, although I've been playing the tunes for 40 years on the guitar.

I recently got rid of my old Jansch and Renbourn records, and wanted CD versions - it's a long time since I last bought a CD, and have been pleased to find they're now half the price they were in the '80s.
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on 24 February 2016
10/10
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