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Amazing Blondel - Going Where the Music Takes Me CD (album) cover


Amazing Blondel


Prog Folk

3.10 | 2 ratings

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3 stars Like most collections of previously unreleased material gathered from a variety of sources, "Going Where the Music Takes Me" is one for the fans. What makes it more interesting is that it traces the many permutations of AMAZING BLONDEL's members over the course of 2 decades and reminds us that the lack of releases or record company deals did not equal lack of creative output. On the downside is the persistence of alternate versions of previously released song, most of which do not add to the cause, especially when still more original work remains in the vaults. Another issue I have with the compilation is that the liner notes reveal a chronological order ignored by the compilers, who seem to have proceeded with their task willy nilly. I recommend sequencing them on your friendly device according to date of production

We can see how much was lost when main singer/songwriter John David Gladwin left in 1973 for personal reasons, and it is truly amazing that the remaining duo persisted with quality output for a few more years. Here the most engaging and enduring songs come from Gladwin's studio sessions between 1973 and 1978. Whether he is performing in the olde Englishe style ("Charades", "Fine Knacks for Fair Ladies", "Rendezvous") for which he was best known in the group proper, or a more modern folk rock mode in a surprisingly rich tone ("Airport Song", "Going Where the Music Takes Me", "No Ordinary Love Affair"), the quality rivals the best of the band's output in their heyday.

Edward Baird is no slouch either, although his work is uneven, ranging from mundane and lyrically inane pop ("Crazy Woman", "Hangover Love", "I've Got News for You", which bears no relation to the fine number of the same name from the same period which appeared on the "Inspiration" album) to classy 70s soft rock of the type that graced later Blondel albums ("So Long", "Funny", "Walkin' Through the Night", "Chinatown"), replete with acoustic dimensions that would make the American purveyors blush. His "Dedication to Felix" is the highpoint of the set, blending the Gladwin-influences with his own, concocting a sumptuous mix of the old and new Blondels while combining a sensitive song and a worthwhile tune. The members may have brought their own ideas to the table when the group came together organically near the end of the 60s, but their common vision was so acute that it's sometimes hard to tell a later Gladwin tune from one by Baird.

Terry Wincott did the least writing and singing, but contributes the noteworthy and somewhat harder edged "Old Man" that alludes to the writer's own mortality and changing roles that come with age and can be adopted gracefully. On the flipside, his "Love on the CB" is as dated musically as materially, even though it is the most recent song in the compilation, hailing from the late 80s. The earliest work here is also a dud, "That's the Way Love Goes", which does have historic value for documenting Gladwin and Wincott's willingness to play other people's music in the mid 60s if it meant scoring a record contract. Similarly, Baird's 80s kerfuffle "All Right by Me" was an ill-advised turn to the blues.

As with the later similar single CD "On with the Show", the live recordings of their studio work are generally extraneous, with the possible exception of "Young Man's Fancy" incorrectly labeled here as "The Leaving of the Country Lover". Even the Gladwin re-covers are dispensable. Given that entire albums by this fellow seem to have remained unreleased, to include yet another version of "Shepherd's Song" is baffling.

The bonus to the proceedings is a 3rd disk, a DVD consisting of an informal interview with the three principals recorded in 2002. Humor, grace and genuine love of their craft shine forth, and, watching it alone as a longtime fan, I was alternately laughing out loud and fairly moved to tears. Indispensable for the afficionado and not the best place to start for a newbie, "Going Where the Music Takes Me" is a valuable historical document that epitomizes a long gone era, with its close-in associations and necessary pull backs, and the ubiquitous idealism of the day, where the music took one far...quite far indeed.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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