The original trio's first album in a quarter of a century is a gem, a little more mellow than Amazing Blondel's classic early-'70s work but beautifully sung and played, and unlike a lot of other reunited bands of this era, it's just the three originals – no extra musicians to fill out the sound. The first song is in Latin, but it's so beautifully melodic that that's not a problem (yeah, like every rock & roll song has words that are understandable). The harmonies are as graceful as the old stuff, though they don't soar nearly as high, and the instrumentals are, if anything, more accessible and filled with better hooks than their older work. Easily the equal of their best '70s albums, and worth the wait.
Amazing Blondel is an English acoustic progressive folk band, consisting of 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. John Gladwin and Terry Wincott had both played in a loud "electric" band called Methuselah. However, at some point in Methuselah concerts, the duo would play an acoustic number together: they found that this went down well with the audiences and allowed them to bring out more of the subtlety of their singing and instrumental work. They left Methuselah in 1969 and began working on their own acoustic material. more..
An impressive 5 CD box set featuring one of the most complete anthologies on English folk and folk-rock around. The first two CDs mostly cover solo artists with a praiseworthy attention to the 80s and 90s, while the last three are dedicated to the most important bands of the Seventies.
Faded old-world flowers adorn both sides of the cover with a big strip of black grease disturbing the lovely imagery on the back. Beginning with Arthur Crudup's "My Baby Left Me," like that other band of famous backup players, the Section, how can this be anything but very musical? Guitarist/vocalist Henry McCullough's "Mistake No Doubt" has eerie backing vocals and is suitably well done, as is his "Let It Be Gone," and though this is far from commercial, it is important to have this document of the guys who made magic behind Joe Cocker in 1969 and Marianne Faithfull in the mid-'70s. This came right in the middle, and the Grease Band's collaborative effort, "Jesse James," could be mistaken for Doug Yule singing Lou Reed's "Train Comin' Round the Bend." It's got that chug-a-lug subdued rock sound. With Henry McCullough's Wings connection, The Grease Band gets a touch of the Beatles' guilt-by-association mystique. As intriguing and wonderful as this album is, had Joe Cocker guested on bassist Alan Spenner's "Down Home Mama" or had Marianne Faithfull taken on the traditional "To the Lord," there would have been that something extra, that intangible that makes records so very special.