Have you ever come across a band or artist, whose name and records you've seen for years, but have somehow never heard a single note of music? One band that comes to mind is Wishbone Ash. I really have no idea what they sound like and just the other day, a friend told me the same thing. He decided to listen to what is regarded as their best, "Argus," and gave it a thumbs up. (I think I'll check it out.)
Up until a few years ago, I had never heard a single note of music from Amazing Blondel, though I admit, their name and catalogue hadn't been as prevalent as Wishbone Ash. I purchased a record collection which included a half dozen Amazing Blondel records.
This is what Wikipedia has to say-
Amazing Blondel are an English acoustic progressive folk band, containing Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They released a number of LPs for Island Records in the early 1970s. They are sometimes categorised as Psych folk or as Medieval folk rock, but their music was much more a reinvention of Renaissance music, based around the use of period instruments such as lutes and recorders.
And Bruce Eder opens his bio of the band on AMG with this line, "One of England's more unusual rock outfits of the 1970s, Amazing Blondel were a trio whose members played instruments dating from medieval to Elizabethan times, and songs styled to those periods.
Both of these descriptions are accurate and the records, if you happen to dig this brand of British folk, are quite enjoyable.
But it was 1973's "Blondel" that really spoke to me. I found these words, written by Keneth Levene, on a blog:
"In the broad brush world of progressive rock and its many sub genres, the transitional album is a fascinating beast. Some of the best offerings in history could be so described, as the band has its feet in two eras, the one past and well documented, the other in a yet unrealized future.
In the realm of these denizens, "Blondel" is the representative from Amazing Blondel and, depending on your taste, you might regard it as their best. Because it is not quite as unique as their previous efforts, I cannot quite succumb to such platitudes, but suffice to say it is definitely up there."
In as few words as possible, "Blondel" reminds me of what Emitt Rhodes would have done had he played more guitar and less piano.
This is a beautiful piece of work. The albums that followed got further away from the unique sound of earlier records like "England" and Fantasia Lindum," both worth checking out, as long as you know what you're in for. But 1973's "Blondel," seems to nail it, at least to my ears.
Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Steve Winwood, all make appearances, if that means anything to you.