RENAISSANCE Tuscany (Giant Electric Pea/SPV 2001)
The band has been going since 1969 when former Yardbirds members Keith
Relf and Jim McCarty formed the first Renaissance line-up. The album
features three members form the successful 70’s line-up - vocalist Annie
Haslam, drummer Terrance Sullivan and acoustic guitarist Michael Dunford.
Keyboard player Mickey Simmonds, who has worked with Fish and Camel amongst
others, joins them to complete the line-up. Former member John Tout appears
on a couple of tracks as well along with the legendary Roy Wood, who very
rarely guests on other artists’ albums.
‘Lady From Tuscany’ is a beautiful song with fine vocals from Annie Haslam
and it reminds me very much of latter day Steeleye Span - no bad thing in my
book! Album highlight has to be the uptempo ‘Dear Landseer’ with its time
changes and keyboard arrangements by Mickey Simmonds. Roy Wood also plays
bass guitar and John Tout adds harpsichord to the mix. ‘In the Sunshine’
follows a mellower path and Roy Wood again lends a hand with production and
keyboards. ‘In My Life’ is a haunting ballad that highlights Annie Haslam’s
vocals very well.
‘The Race’ is another upbeat track with keyboards high in the mix. ‘Life
In Brazil’ with it’s Latino flavour makes for an interesting diversion.
Fans of the band will enjoy this release and if you are a fan of newer
bands like Karnataka or Mostly Autumn then try this - you won’t be
disappointed. An album of high quality music with a folk and classical