Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock
Digisleeve CD Remastered. The package includes detailed, extensive liner notes, including an exclusive new interview with founder member Jim McCarty, by respected author and journalist Chris Welch expertly remastered-super... more »
Digisleeve CD Remastered. The package includes detailed, extensive liner notes, including an exclusive new interview with founder member Jim McCarty, by respected author and journalist Chris Welch expertly remastered-superb sound-top quality reproduction. 5 tracks.
Not bad for a transitional album
R. Josef | New Haven, CT United States | 03/14/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although "Illusion" is billed as the second album by the original lineup of Renaissance (guitarist/vocalist Keith Relf, his sister Jane on vocals, drummer/vocalist Jim McCarty, bassist Louis Cennamo and keyboardist John Hawken), it's actually more complicated than that. The founding members
did complete the first three songs and "Face of Yesterday". But then the band began to fall apart, with McCarty,
then Keith Relf, and then Cennamo, leaving in rapid succession. But the band had begun to develop a following in Europe, so Hawken made what would turn out to be a key personnel change, guitarist Michael Dunford. Dunford in turn brought in Terry Crowe on male vocals, Neil Korner on bass and Terry Slade on drums. This lineup recorded "Mr. Pine" and hit the road with Jane. However, the original band was still under contract, so while Hawken toured, Keith Relf assembled the rest of the originals (with Cennamo bringing in pianist Don Schinn) to record "Past Orbits of Dust".With all this internal turmoil, one would expect "Illusion" to be very uneven. As it turns out, though, in many ways, it's a better album than their debut. The band cuts down on the winding jams and concentrates more on melody. Keith's two contributions, "Love is All" and "Love Goes On" are delightfully catchy pop songs, with nice vocal harmonies and rather dated hippy-dippy lyrics, but that's OK. Jim, on the other hand, sticks more to the original vision of the band -- classical/rock hybrids. "Golden Thread" is a forerunner of what the band would do in the 70's, with an extended piano intro, vocalese by Jane Relf, apocalyptic harmonies. Plus, words by another key addition to the team, lyricist Betty Thatcher. Jim's high, thin lead vocal leaves a lot to be desired. His other contribution, "Face of Yesterday", is a highlight. Hawken's gentle piano compliments Jane Relf's soothing alto lead voice singing a sad lyric of regret. "Mr. Pine", written by Dunford, is the most sophisticated but least cohesive of the songs. Hawken's harpsichord leads the verses, but then it changes into an extended electric organ jam based on Jehan Alain's piece "Littanies", followed by a folky guitar buildup. Finally, Keith and Jim come up with the 14-minute "Past Orbits of Dust", a space-rocker similar to Pink Floyd songs of the era, with more far our lyrics by Thatcher and nice three part harmonies. Unfortunately, they make the same mistake here as with the first album's "Bullet", with the driving rock trailing off into ambient, directionless noodling on bass and electric piano -- filler, and the album's low point.Keith's production sounds echoey and distant, which might sound disconcerting to those used to the fuller arrangements of 70's Renaissance. Still, it will appeal to people who like melodic progressive rock, with Jane Relf's vocals worth the price. By the time this was released in 1971,(in Germany only!),she and Hawken had also left. They, and the new Renaissance, would move on to bigger things. For those interested in the band's roots, "Illusion" is probably a more accessible introduction than the first album. New fans, though, should try the fourth album, "Ashes are Burning" before working their way backwards to here."
The Lost Renaissance Album
Chris Gerbig | Ontario, Canada | 09/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1971's Illusion was originally only released in Germany and unobtainable for many years. This album is by the FIRST Renaissance lineup, founded by Keith Relf and Jim McCarty (ex-Yardbirds) and featuring his sister Jane on vocals. Less accomplished than the later masterpieces produced by the Annie Haslam led incarnation, this is still an interesting archive item. It has a much more folky and dreamlike atmosphere than the first Renaissance album. Jane's voice has become a little stronger and she harmonizes well with her brother on the opening cut "Love Goes On". John Hawken (who later joined the Strawbs) plays some beautiful piano on "Golden Thread" which is a nice amalgam of folk and classical music with delicate vocals from Keith, quite different from his Yardbirds days. This preludes the vocal style he would use later on the classic Armageddon track "Silver Tightrope". The masterpiece of this album is the sedate and wistful "Face of Yesterday", with more lovely piano and Jane's vocals at their best. This song was also later performed by Illusion (an almost complete reformation of this original Renaissance lineup) in 1977, after Keith had sadly passed away. The long, meandering "Orbits of Dust" features some great electric piano, jazzy percussion and a more psychedelic vibe. Michael Dunford performs on "Mr. Pine", a song he wrote. When the band dissolved, he was left to carry on the name and recruited Annie Haslam and the other musicians who were to form the definitive lineup. "Illusion" has several moments of great musical virtuosity and atmospheric strength. Fans of either RENAISSANCE lineup and of the later band ILLUSION should enjoy this."
YARDBIRD FAN | USA | 02/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS FEATURES THE ORIGINAL LINE UP.IT WAS ONLY RELEASED IN GERMANY.THIS IS MORE FOLKY THAN THE FIRST ALBUM.LOVE GOES ON IS A CATCHY SONG WITH NICE HARMONIES BY KEITH AND JANE.JANES VOCALS ON FACE OF YESTERDAY ARE MAGNIFICENT.ALSO VERY GOOD VOCALS BY KEITH ON LOVE IS ALL,THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE TRACKS.PAST ORBITS OF DUST IS A LONG TRACK WITH A PSYCHEDELIC SOUND AND ECHOEY VOCALS FROM JANE.MR.PINE IS A VERY GOOD SONG THAT FEATURES HARPSICHORD BY JOHN HAWKEN.KEITH ISNT ON THIS TRACK.FANS OF RENAISSANCE AND ILLUSION WILL ENJOY THIS CD,I DO."