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Featured Album | Ruth Angell | Hlywing | Talking Elephant | 2023

And then there were three.  Having already worked their way through three bands during the late 1960s, John Gladwin and Terry Wincott had evolved into a duo for the first Amazing Blondel album, recorded in 1970 and released on the Bell record label.  Two major developments followed the release of The Amazing Blondel and a Few Faces, firstly, fellow Scunthorpe musician Eddie Baird joined the band and secondly, they signed to Chris Blackwell’s Island label, a risk at the time, when their label mates included Free, King Crimson, Traffic and Cat Stevens to name but a few.  The cover shot of the three musicians posing in the cloisters of Lincoln Cathedral was almost evidence of the music to be heard, even before the record reached the turntable, as was some of the song titles, “Old Moot Hall”, “St Crispin’s Day”, “The Ploughman” and “Lady Marion’s Galliard”.  The first few notes of the opening song “Pavan” more or less sealed the deal; you were either ‘into’ it or not.  Evensong is made up of songs written by John Gladwin, except for a short instrumental by Eddie Baird, which closes the first side.  Much of the album features instrumentation from an entirely different era, from the lute and the cittern to the variety of recorders and the crumhorn, an essential combination for the band’s completely out of time and out of step music.

Flick the Dust Off | Robin and Barry Dransfield | Popular to Contrary Belief | Free Reed FRR018 | 1977

Perhaps included in the Singled Out series, simply due to the fact that the single is so far removed from the rest of the Amazing Blondel canon.  If you’ve devoured the beauty of the band’s previous albums from A Few Faces, through Evensong, Fantasia Lindum and England, not to mention the equally revered Blondel or perhaps better known as the Purple Album, “I’ll Go the Way I Came” might come as something of a surprise.  Released on the DJM label, possibly most famous for Elton John’s golden years, certainly from Empty Sky through to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and one or two albums beyond, it’s probably not coincidental that this particular song sounds pretty much like Elton, in the vein of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” or “Love Lies Bleeding”, with Dave Skinner’s heavy handed piano and frantic horns helping the groove along.  The flip side is Terry Wincott’s rather more laid back “Liberty Belle”, both songs taken from the band’s eighth album Bad Dreams, an odd final album before the band called it a day in 1976.   

Singled Out | The Move | Fire Brigade | Regal Zonophone RZ 3005 | 1968

And then there were two, again.  After the departure of founder member John Gladwin, the two remaining musicians Eddie Baird and Terry Wincott found themselves in a tricky position.  Not only had they lost their lead voice, a voice that dominated much of the band’s material thus far, but they had also lost their main song writer, the man behind such memorable songs as “Spring Season”, “Dolor Dulcis (Sweet Sorrow)”, “Seascape” and the magnificent “Celestial Light”.  Then there was the contractual problem of owing Island another album.  All eyes turned to Eddie Baird, who took on the role of song writer for the band’s final Island album Blondel.  Dropping the adjective and separating it by one letter in the alphabet, thus taking up residence in the B section of the record shop browsers, Blondel or the Purple Album, shows a surprising departure from the previous albums, with one or two highly melodic moments, which possibly came as more of a surprise to Eddie Baird than the rest of us.  The album appears to be a masterclass of song writing created by someone who didn’t know he had it in him.  There’s little doubt that the first side’s suite of songs, “The Leaving of the Country Lover”, Young Man’s Fancy” and “Easy Come, Easy Go”, each song linked by orchestral arrangements courtesy of Adrian Hopkins, demonstrates an affinity with the craft of song making.  Like England and Fantasia Lindum before it, the first sides of which are made up of cleverly crafted suites, while the second side is a collection of complete separate songs, Blondel follows suit, with a further five songs, from the easily accessible “Sailing”, not to be confused with the Sutherland Brothers/Rod Stewart song, through to the melancholic “Depression”, which brings the album to an end.  The album also features contributions from Free’s Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, together with Traffic’s Steve Winwood and singers Sue and Sunny, known for their later hit “Doctor’s Orders”.

Fifty Years Ago | Little Feat | Dixie Chicken | Warner Bros K46200 | January 1973

And then there were two, again.  After the departure of founder member John Gladwin, the two remaining musicians Eddie Baird and Terry Wincott found themselves in a tricky position.  Not only had they lost their lead voice, a voice that dominated much of the band’s material thus far, but they had also lost their main song writer, the man behind such memorable songs as “Spring Season”, “Dolor Dulcis (Sweet Sorrow)”, “Seascape” and the magnificent “Celestial Light”.  Then there was the contractual problem of owing Island another album.  All eyes turned to Eddie Baird, who took on the role of song writer for the band’s final Island album Blondel.  Dropping the adjective and separating it by one letter in the alphabet, thus taking up residence in the B section of the record shop browsers, Blondel or the Purple Album, shows a surprising departure from the previous albums, with one or two highly melodic moments, which possibly came as more of a surprise to Eddie Baird than the rest of us.  The album appears to be a masterclass of song writing created by someone who didn’t know he had it in him.  There’s little doubt that the first side’s suite of songs, “The Leaving of the Country Lover”, Young Man’s Fancy” and “Easy Come, Easy Go”, each song linked by orchestral arrangements courtesy of Adrian Hopkins, demonstrates an affinity with the craft of song making.  Like England and Fantasia Lindum before it, the first sides of which are made up of cleverly crafted suites, while the second side is a collection of complete separate songs, Blondel follows suit, with a further five songs, from the easily accessible “Sailing”, not to be confused with the Sutherland Brothers/Rod Stewart song, through to the melancholic “Depression”, which brings the album to an end.  The album also features contributions from Free’s Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, together with Traffic’s Steve Winwood and singers Sue and Sunny, known for their later hit “Doctor’s Orders”.