Sadly the world is a deeply unfair and unjust place and while the reputation of the impeccable John Renbourn gently ticks over, Bert Jansch his great sparring partner both within and outside of Pentangle is rightly/regularly namechecked by a the glitterati of rock guitarists as a massive and central influence. Yet Renbourn is by any standards one of the great British guitarists of his generation and friends who particularly love British folk music speak of him in the most hallowed tones with his very distinctive fingerstyle and massive impact on acoustic play. He is a true renaissance man with his musical interests covering a huge musical landscape ranging over classical, folk, jazz, blues to that huge box marked Celtic/Renaissance/Medieval. If you have not had the privilege yet to hear this virtuoso guitarist as a starting point either please check out the great bluesy version of Charlie Mingus's "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" or the absolutely sublime "The Hermit" both to be located on his "Best of" retailing at an obscenely reasonable price on Amazon. Your world will be a better place for it.
While Renbourn has released various live concerts over recent years "Palermo Snow" is his first proper album since 1998s "Travellers Prayer" and what an event it is to have him return and in such style. The old goats sense of humour is firmly intact and frankly I never imagined that a song dedicated to those roly poly toys beloved of a certain generation of children and their theme tune "Weebles wobble but they dont fall down" would figure on a Renbourn album but here it is beautifully played and executed. His cover of "Blueberry Hill" is an equally a lovely bit of mischief with Renbourn showing a style that most guitarists can only dream of as he weaves complex patterns around Fats Domino great classic. That said it is the slower more reflective pieces here which really impress not least the beautifully picked "Sarabande" and a glorious version of J S Bach's "Cello prelude in G" also recently heard on the West Wing played by the great Yo Yo Ma both versions of which bring a rather large lump to the throat. Hopefully then you get the picture, in short if you love the guitar played by an absolute master of the art check out John Renbourn's lovely "Palermo Snow" (its worth it alone for the outstanding highlight that is the seven minute title track) and pay due respect to a master musician whose name your children should sing in praise throughout our villages.
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