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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2009
This is where you really need those five rosettes or golden stars, because of all John Renbourn's many brilliant albums this is the best. It is often compared to "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "Black Balloon", which are both fantastic records, but there is a difference, not so much in technical approach and consistency as in the material. Stylistically it is pure Renbourn with its unique and seemlesly blended mixture of folk, blues, early music, ragtime, and classical, yet it possesses an immediate appeal unparalleled in any of his other releases. Quite simply, every single track on "The Hermit" is saturated in astonishing melodic taste and inspiration, whether written by the man himself or derived from the works of Thomas Robinson and Carolan. It is like a Beatles or Abba album, or Bach's Brandenburg Concertos for that matter, where every lick, riff, verse, chorus, bridge and phrasing is singing straight to your soul and, moreover, will continue do so for the rest of your life, performed by just one man and his acoustic guitar (in fact, the only two tracks that don't shine quite so brightly are the ones where he has invited another guitarist to participate). The question "does it still stand more than 30 years after its first release" seems almost absurd. This is music out of time and place made by one of the great composers and musicians of our time, who should by now have been granted at lifetime achievement award.

The reissue sounds about as good as a CD can get, meaning that some of the warmth of the original vinyl is missing but you avoid and crackles etc. that may have developed over the years. The sleeve notes are a bit rudimentary and suffer from lack of background history so I assume JR must have declined from making personal comments. A shame, because there seems to be some more information worth revealing as the title suggests. The song-by-song comments, some of them a bit technical (nothing wrong with that), are taken from the original LP. The bonus tracks are interesting, of course, but tend to ruin the concept a bit. It's better to stop the disc where the album really ended and listen to the rest some other day. Still, it isn't the first time we see this album on CD and Sanctuary needed some argument for putting it out again. They've done a fine job altogether. This release won't make anyone a big profit but it is crucial to keep it available.
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on 22 February 2006
What a master! Every note is perfection. Even people who do not like folk music will like this. It is folk but has a load of other influences. Before I got into Jazz in a big way (and appart from a couple of classical albums I had) this was the only point of musical contact my dad had with my record collection. (The next was the unfortunately unavailable but absolutely brilliant Morrissey Mullen album Cape Wrath) I have had several friends and flatmates who have said how they hate guitar instramental music who have loved this album. John Renbourne like his erstwhile collaborator and bandmate Bert Jansch, is a national treasure and you must buy this and recommend it to all your friends.
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VINE VOICEon 25 March 2010
I recently bought this on CD, having originally had it when ot first came out. It is one of those records that just gets better the more you play it. My wife and I were listening to it last night and discussing Pentangle and how good they were. So, it is going back to their albums, maybe seeking more John Renbourn etc.... Quite brilliant musicianship, timing, arrangements and running order and great to have the extra tracks as well.
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After the break up of the group Pentangle in early 1973 and a failed solo album project (later released as the lost Sessions in 1996) things went quiet from John Renbourn for awhile. He had been living a reclusive life to some degree and so it was fitting that the next album from John would be called the Hermit.
This most excellent instrumental album is one of the finest by the great performer John Renbourn. The album came out in 1976. I first discovered the album about seven years later when I borrowed a copy from my local library. It was on vinyl and a few years later I bought a CD version.
This new re master CD version is by far the best release of the album so far and really does the album proud in its presentation.

As I said this is an instrumental album and one of some quality. John uses influences from Lute and Harp music. For example there are pieces from Turlough O’Carolan with the track Three pieces by O’Carolan which includes O:Carolan's Concerto that is transcribed for guitar. There is more from O'Carolan with the Lamentation of Owan Roe O’Neil. This is a piece that was collected in Francis O’Neil’s music of Ireland publication. Then finally the piece Lord Inchiquin.
There is another piece called A Toye which comes from 1603 and collected by Thomas Robinson.
There is also an Elizabethan piece called Lord Willoughby's Welcome. And more versions for solo lute by Thomas Robinson, Nicolas Vallet and John Dowland as well as a piece by William Byrd from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

There is also much by John Renbourn himself. The Hermit, John's Tune, Goat Island, Old Mac Bladgitt, Faro's Rag, The Princess and the Pudding, The bicycle tune and Pavanna Anna Bannana.
The album has John James helping out on guitar and arrangements and one piece called Caroline’s tune sees a duet with Dominic Trepeau.
The CD version is re mastered with great sound and includes some well placed bonus tracks. There are two new tracks with John James, one with Stefan Grossman and two by Renbourn.

The album is brilliant. It has its mixture fusion of folk and classical styles. The intricate nuances of John’s virtuoso playing explores the guitar potential in imaginative ways. The album is unique in its identity compared to previous albums,
It is one of the best albums by the great John Renbourn,
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Released in 1976, this is the ninth solo release from guitarist extraordinaire John Renbourn.

Showcasing that musical style that is all his own - a fascination with early baroque and medieval music infused with a love of jazz/blues/English folk/celtic, this is a stately and elegant piece of music. Dominated by his beautiful guitar work, seemingly effortless as he sends waves of music rippling from his fret, it's an album that just demands attention and suffuses the listener's world with a peaceful beauty.

This 2001 remaster from Sanctuary is excellent. The remastered sound is as clear as a bell and lets' Renbourn's delightful playing shine through. 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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on 3 July 2012
The album needs no introduction, as the other reviewers said it all. Only thing to add, this remastered version has more clarity and focus. Especially when the two guitars play, each part is distinct and beautifully balanced against each other. It is refreshing and nice to hear these works in different order.

There are five bonus tracks from Renbourn's other albums, including my favourite, Luke's Little Summer, one of his finest works for solo guitar. The only problem of this CD is, there are confusing mistakes in the track list; track 12 is not Luckett Sunday but Luke's Little Summer and track 13 is Luckett Sunday instead of New Nothynge.
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on 30 July 2013
John Renbourn's guitar albums made before during and after his association with Pentangle allow him to step out of the duo format with Bert Jansch (except for the excellent Bert & John) and to show his dexterity and sympathy for a wider range of music from early medieval to experimental jazz and blues. This album is a great one to listen to as well as being a lesson in arrangement and performance to the aspiring guitarist who has mastered the techniques of altered tuning. It's a great solo album with atmospheric and lyrical performances that we ought all to aspire to.
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on 1 February 2013
The wonderful John Renbourn!! As I listened, I was back in the smoky folk clubs of my student days..playing a couple of songs for beer and free entry. Them was the days! Brilliant songs!!
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on 8 April 2014
Simply put, in my opinion this is the best JR album out there, that shows his diversity. Personal favourites are "Old Man Bladgitt" and "Luke's Little Summer"
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on 8 June 2015
I bought this as a birthday present for my husband. We are both enjoying it greatly.
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