Peter Thelen    21-March-2001 Englishe Musicke

Amazing Blondel - "Englishe Musicke" (Edsel EDCD 365, 1970-72/1993, CD)

Amazing Blondel existed throughout the early seventies, originally formed by John Gladwin and Terry Wincott after leaving another even more obscure band called Methuselah. This compilation is drawn from their second, third and fourth albums (they produced a total of nine between 70 and 77.) For these three, the band was essentially a three piece singing and playing krumhorns, recorders, lute, theorbo, guitars, dulcimers, flute, piano, harpsichord, mellotron, organ, tabor, cittern tubular bells, glockenspiel and percussion. From this instrument list and the fact that (at this point in time) they were drummer-less, you might be getting the idea that this was some sort of medeival-meets-modern folk trio, which is absolutely correct. At times this is very close to Gryphon circa Midnight Mushrumps, while the vocals are a bit sweeter, and may occasionally remind of Peter, Paul and Mary. Very nice stuff, this is. The first eight tracks are drawn from their third (Fantasia Lindum) and fourth (England) albums, and represent the most musically sophisticated of the material here, which any prog fan without an aversion to folk music should have no trouble enjoying. Included are the incredible twenty minute 13 part "Fantasia Lindum", "A Spring Air", "Dolor Dulcis" and two parts of the three-part side-long "The Paintings" on England. After the 43 minute mark, the compilation begins to draw from their more simple second album Evensong - still excellent, but not quite as powerful musically. Overall, it's an excellent introduction to this phase of the band's career. Most fans of early Gryphon, Fairport, and other British folk-rock will be delighted with this one.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p. 17, Edited for Gnosis 3/21/01)

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