Search - John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman :: The Three Kingdoms

The Three Kingdoms
John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman
The Three Kingdoms
Genres: Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman
Title: The Three Kingdoms
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Shanachie
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Traditional Folk, British & Celtic Folk, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 016351950628, 016351950611, 016351950642, 669910088951

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CD Reviews

Excellent Acoustic Guitar. A bit monochromatic
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"`The Three Kingdoms' with John Renbourn & Stefan Grossman and `Jerry Garcia / David Grisman', both released in 1991 continue a great tradition of superstar duet albums. In fact, John Renbourn may be the all time star of this genre, having done issues with Grossman, Robin Williamson, and the very notable 1960's album with Burt Jansch.

Grossman is also no slouch at duets, as my first encounter with his music was on another 1960's duet album paired with Danny Kalb which specialized in acoustic blues pieces. I was so pleased at discovering this album that I made a point of attending Stephan Grossman's performance at the Bethlehem Musikfest in 1986 or 1987 in the pouring rain. As there were but three people in the audience, Mr. Grossman had us all pull our chairs up from the open air house to the covered stage where he performed for at least 40 minutes of his 50 minute set. I point this out simply to indicate that Stephan Grossman is a nice man as well as being an exceptionally accomplished musician.

As I play none of the instruments on which these four very important musicians perform and my only claim to knowing anything about their music is that I have listened to a lot of it over the years, my primary source of insight is to compare two similar albums to determine why one may prefer one to the other.

For starters, `The Three Kingdoms' is entirely instrumental, entirely acoustic, and almost entirely collected from compositions by the two named performers. Both Grossman and Renbourn are playing guitar on most cuts. And, almost all cuts are guitar duets with, I imagine, the composer taking the lead part on each tune.

In contrast, the `Garcia / Grisman' album mixes instrumentals with several vocals from Garcia. It also mixes compositions by Garcia and Grisman with pieces by Hawkins-Darnell, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, and `traditional'. Garcia performs on guitar while Grisman performs on mandolin. Thus, this album has a much wider range of styles and textures in the music.

My very novice ear for technical skill says that the instrumental work on the two albums is very close, with a slight edge going to Grossman and Renbourn.

As I have bought both and enjoy both albums, I have to believe there is very little to choose between the two unless you happen to be an avid Grateful Dead Fan or an avid Pentangle / John Renbourn fan. If you simply happen to like good guitar music, buy them both. They are certainly closer to the tastes of the general audience than similar recordings by Robin Williamson.