Amazing Blondel


Band members               Related acts

- Eddie Baird - vocals, guitar (1970-77)
- Mick Feat - bass (1974-)
- John Gladwin - vocals, guitar (1970-73)
- Willy Murrey - drums (1974-)
- Terry Wyncott - vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboards,

  recorders (1974-77)

   

 

 

- Methuselah (John Gladwin - Terry Wincoff) 


 

Genre: folk-rock 

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  England

Company: Island

Catalog: SW-9327

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK 

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor edge and corner wear; initials in pen on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 55

Price: $15.00

Cost: $1.00

 

Boasting an immensely talented line up consisting of singers/guitarists Eddie Baird, John Gladwin and Terry Wincott, The Amazing Blondel were easily as talented as fellow English folk-rock contemporaries such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. Unfortunately, over the course of five early-'70s American album, the band never managed to attract the attention lavished on their competition. Part of the explanation may stem from the fact the group remained devoted to acoustic English folk music, largely avoiding rock overtones, sticking almost exclusively to acoustic jigs and ballads until relatively late in their recording career. 

Gladwin and Wyncott actually started their musical collaboration in the rock band Methuselah (see separate entry). Following its break up the duo decided to continue their partnership as an acoustic duo. Subsequently joined by Baird, as The Amazing Blondel (the name drawn from Richard the Lionheart's favorite minstrel), the group was quickly signed by Bell Records (Chris Blackwell's Island Records acquiring American distribution rights). 


Co-produced by Phil Brown and the band, 1973's "England" saw the trio retaining their interest in English folk, though the set saw a shift to a more commercial sound. That said, with all three members contributing material (Gladwin credited with the majority of six selections) the results were frequently stunning. For us the highlights included Gladwin's beautiful side-long suite "The Paintings" and the group's stunning harmony vocals (check out "Seascapes"). Acoustic material such as "Landscape" and "Cantus Firmus to Counterpoint" was soft, warm and highly melodic. While you couldn't exactly call it rock and roll (thoughts of an evening in an Irish pub quickly come to mind), it made for a great choice to play on a cold winter night, or an early Sunday morning.

"England" track listing:
(side 1) 

1.) The Paintings
     1.) Seascapes (John D. Gladwin) 
     2.) Landscape (John D. Gladwin) 
     3.) Afterglow (John D. Gladwin) 
2.) A Spring Air (John D. Gladwin) 

 

(side 2) 
1.) Cantus Firmus To Counterpoint (John D. Gladwin - Eddie Baird - Terry Wincott) 
2.) Sinfonia for Guitar and Strings (instrumental) (Eddie Baird) 
3.) Dolor Dulis (Sweet Sorrow) (John D. Gladwin - Eddie Baird)
4.) Lament To the Earl of Bottesford Back (Terry Wincott)

 

 


Genre: folk-rock  

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Blondel

Company: Island

Catalog: SMAS-9339

Year: 1974

Country/State: UK 

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; die cut cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 54

Price: $20.00

Cost: $1.00

 

 

Following the departure of chief writer/guitarist Gladwin, Baird and Wyncott elected to continue the band as a duo. Having shortened the band name to 'Blondel', 1973's cleverly-titled "Blondel" marked a major change in musical direction. While the sound remained predominantly acoustic, with the exception of the pretty instrumental "Solo" and "Weaver's Market" (cool backing sounds), the band's earlier penchant for traditional English folk was replaced by a much more pop-oriented sound. Entirely written by Baird, material such as "The Leaving of a Country Lover" and "Young Man's Fancy" boasted some of the band's prettiest harmony work and several wonderful melodies. Maybe its just us, but on songs such as "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Lesson One" Baird's vocal delivery recalled Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel. The LP may not have hit the same creative heights as earlier releases and the change in direction certainly upset longstanding fans, but Baird and Wyncott turned in what proved to be a surprisingly impressive and commercial set. One of those unexpected charmers, its a set that we're consistently drawn back to - one of the few LPs we've transferred to CD-R. Elsewhere, Bad Company's Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers and Traffic's Steve Winwood provided backing vocals and instrumental support on several tracks. (The album was originally released with an embossed gatefold sleeve.) 

"Blondel" track listing:
(side 1) 

1.) The Leaving of a Country Lover (Eddie Baird) - 6:34
2.) Young Man's Fancy (Eddie Baird) - 5:20
3.) Easy Come, Easy Go (Eddie Baird) - 6:09
4.) Solo (instrumental) (Eddie Baird) - 

(side 2) 

1.) Sailing (Eddie Baird) - 4:30
2.) Lesson One (Eddie Baird) - 2:50
3.) Festival (Eddie Baird) - 3:27
4.) Weaver's Market (Eddie Baird) - 4:35
5.) Depression (Eddie Baird) - 3:25

 



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