The Old Timers Stay Fresh|
Clay House, West Vale, September 20th, 1997
OLLICLY challenged certainly, middle-aged definitely, but these three relics from the early 1970s showed that they can still produce a sound that is enduringly fresh and beautiful.
Back together and performing again after a long absence, Amazing Blonde kept a full house spellbound with an atmospheric set that jumped several time zones to capture the best of the band old and new.
Amazing Blondel, never a band to care much about fashion anyway, create acoustic English music with renaissance and baroque influences and a contemporary feel.
One of their best known albums Fantasia Lindum, recorded in 1971, recalled the 16th century; their new album Restoration which came out last year, updates the sound by a couple of centuries. The sleeves for both albums were photographed - 25 years apart - at Shibden Hall, Halifax. The band returned to Calderdale at the invitation of folk singer and museum assistant Tony Sharpe to play a gig to raise money for the mayor's charity, Overgate Hospice.
Introduced as "the band that has lost nothing except its hair", Blondel kept devotees and new fans entertained for 90 minutes with a haunting set of dazzling interweaving harmonies and superb playing.
It was lovely to hear the "oldies" again - "Celestial Light" from Fantasia Lindum and "Under the Greenwood Tree" from 1970s Evensong - although perhaps the song which made the biggest impression was the evocative and wistful "Cawdor" from the new album.
John Gladwin's unmistakable sweet voice still thrills and there was much to savour in his and Ed Baird's exquisite guitar playing and the musicianship of Terry Wincott who was heard on flute, recorder, crumhorn and mandola.
Amazing Blondel earned their spurs supporting such bands as Free, Traffic, Cat Stevens and Procul Harum on the student union and city hall circuit in the early 70s.
While those bands have fallen by the way side, Blondel are back and seeming to enjoy playing as much as ever.
(The Halifax Evening Courier, September 22nd, 1997)