This 90 minute dvd captures thirty years of music by John Renbourn. It follows him from the legendary London basement club 'Les Cousins' to his work with Bert Jansch and their group Pentangle to his traditional/medieval adventures with The John Renbourn Group and to his duet performances with Stefan Grossman. John has also constantly been touring solo. This video chronicles his evolving growth as one of today's foremost acoustic guitar masters. Tab/music transcriptions for many of the tunes are presented in the accompanying 64 page booklet.
Robert Palmer writing in The New York Times said it best: "John Renbourn plays a lot of Celtic traditional music, and he plays it surpassingly well. But he is also an eclectic who is liable to throw in jazz pieces, revamped soul music and whatever strikes his fancy. He brandishes a haunting technique, but by and large he does not use it to daunt. His music is first of all a music of feeling."
Titles include: ENGLAND,1965 I Know My Rider, Bert & John Rehearsing ENGLAND,1968 (w. Pentangle) Travelling Song, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme ENGLAND, 1971 (w. Pentangle) In Time ENGLAND,1974 Blues In A, Rosslyn ITALY,1977 Medley: Trotto/The English Dance, Whitehouse Blues U.S.A.1981 (w. The John Renbourn Group) The Fair Flower Of Northumberland, Medley: Pavane/Tourdion U.S.A.1982 (w. Stefan Grossman) Candyman, Goodbye Porkpie Hat SWEDEN,1988 (w. Stefan Grossman) 'Round Midnight CANADA,1990 Medley: Abide With Me/Great Dreams From Heaven NORTHERN IRELAND,1992 Sweet Potato SPAIN,1993 Lord Franklin, Little Niles U.S.A.1995 Young Man Who Wouldn't Sow Corn, Medley: The Lament For Owen Roe O'Neil and Mist Covered Mountains Of Home, Medley: The Wedding/Cherry
Running Time: 90 minutes
Review: A pleasure to watch a master craftsman absorbed in his work. Highly enjoyable archive footage of one of Britain's best acoustic guitarists from the last 40-odd years, following his career from his early pre-Pentangle days through to the mid-nineties. There are some real gems in this package. Highlights, for me, are:
About half of the material features Renbourn in group / duo settings with The Pentangle, the John Renbourn Group, and Stefan Grossman. Generally, he
seems happy wherever possible to let his music do the talking and leave the limelight to others. It's probably fair to say that he's a musician first
and a performer a distinct second. There isn't a lot of visual diversion in the solo performances, other than the chance to study those finger movements
There is, though, with the early Pentangle footage, the amusing little game of trying to guess which drunk - Renbourn or Jansch - is most likely to fall off their stool. They both look about ready to go.
My one gripe is that Renbourn's folk-blues repertoire is a little over-represented, at the expense of his ventures into Early Music. There is only one performance, for example, of material from The Black Balloon, which is surely his masterpiece -- a brief 1977 run-through of 'The English Dance'. I imagine, though, that there probably isn't a massive amount of alternative footage they could have used.
You also get a nice little bonus, in the form of a PDF booklel featuring potted biography, photographs, and music scores and tabs for some of the songs on the DVD. So you really can try this at home. - Nelkin/Amazon Customer Review