Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Music For A Polar Vortex, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying About The Weather And Just Listen To Records

Man, it's so cold out there, hitchhikers are holding up pictures of thumbs!"

I discovered Amazing Blondel a couple of years ago when a good number of their LPs turned up in a large collection of vinyl I had purchased. I had seen the name for years but had never heard a note.

Here is the headline from their All Music biography:

"A progressive rock trio with material from pre-19th century madrigals and chamber music, played using medieval or Elizabethan instruments."

The first few records might be exactly as described, I just can't recall as I had sold them all before sampling. But I still own 1973's "Blondel," which is reviewed briefly by Bruce Eder like this:

"The group -- reduced to a duo -- in its swan song for Island Records. The album lacks the panache of their previous albums, although it also has a smoothness that makes each track a very easy listen, and the antique sensibilities are beginning to give away to more modern songwriting techniques."

I can't agree that this LP lacks the panache of previous work as I have nothing at the moment to compare it to. But I did listen to this LP twice yesterday. It's not quite as adventurous as Fairport Convention or even Strawbs, for that matter, but there are moments that evoke both. I was also struck by how much the lead vocalist, either Eddie Baird or Terry Wincott, not sure which, sounds like Brendan Benson.

There are some truly beautiful moments on this record and now, of course, I am interested in the earlier, better-reviewed LPs that I had sold two years ago.


buzzbabyjesus said...

I tpp somehow missed The Amazing Blondel even though I listened to lots of Prog and prog-folk like Strawbs.
Their name suggested something else, but I'm not sure what.
There is lots of marginalia out there to discover or continue to ignore.

snakeboy said...

Like you, one of those bands I've had records of and now don't. Good stuff so I may have to re-buy.
Glad to know (I guess) I'm not the only one who does this.

Chris Collins said...

this is quite pretty.

Mark Pollock said...

Hadn't heard these songs in years, and had forgotten what I was missing. The albums are long gone, sadly. Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Why did I think they were a glam band with Blondie Chaplin for all these years?
Now I want to hear them. That's why I love this blog.

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to their Mulgrave Street album on Spotify. From 1974, it was their first for DJM (Dick James or Rutles' Dick Jaws publisher of no fixed ability..) records. It's kinda generic Seventies rock, I don't mean that as a diss, I like it! If this is the same group of people, there is a lot of The Amazing Blondel out there!

Sal Nunziato said...


Mulgrave was also the first album with a different line-up. They did progress into a more basic rock band, though the follow-up "Inspiration" is really quite good, even if it has nothing to do with what the band was at their inception.