Saturday, March 03, 2007


"Carpet of the Sun" unplugged.

Renaissance was one of my absolute favorite prog rock groups, and a defining part of the soundtrack to my sophomore year in high school. I recently downloaded "Tales of 1001 Nights." My wife and daughter were both taken with the music and Annie Haslam's voice. Then a strange thing happened. On Thursday night, I listned to Renaissance on my iPod before going to sleep. On Friday morning, my radio came on just as "A Trip to the Fair" was playing on WPKN (big thanks to Art Bell for that wonderful coincidence).

In some ways, the group was overblown and a bit pretentious. The pseudo-classical arrangements were rather elementary, and the ostinato grooves not all that impressive. On the other had, it had all the right elements for a laid-back prog rock band: the simple rock arrangements topped with sometimes very interesting orchestral arrangements (especially Jimmy Horowitz's work on Turn of the Cards); acoustic piano and guitar over Jon Camp's rocking Rickenbacker bass; and of course, Annie's amazing voice.

Word is that there is soon to be a live DVD from one of their 1970s concerts.

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