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John Gladwin's notes about Blondel music

AMAZING BLONDEL reflected a further idiosyncratic appendage in the ever-more bewildering animal that was folk rock. The range of ideas and styles being introduced into the realms of folk music by the mid-'70s was so diverse that it even entered the hitherto semi-mythical realms of medieval music with its own peculiar instrumentation, complete with bassoons and crumhorns. While Gryphon catered the more studious, progressive rock end of that style, and City Waits concentrated on more authentic reconstructions, Amazing Blondel successfully bridged the popular gap in the middle. They always seemed slightly eccentric - sweet and a little out of place; Pseudo-Elizabethan/classical acoustic music, sung with British accents to the contemporary transatlantic audience of the day. From this unlikely combination they carved their niche and won a devoted cult following.

      Terry and I had been in a series of rock bands before Blondel. We got fed up with a background that made more noise than music, competing against one another in a battle of wall of sound. We did an acoustic tune in this context and discovered that it went over well and found a direction we wanted to pursue. I had always been interested in the whole of Elizabethan times, and I started to delve into the music. Much of English rock'n'roll at the time was very influenced by American rock, to the point that many bands seemed to ape American accents! We asked the question: "Why shouldn't we sing and play English music?" Blondel was an attempt to re-create a past era and fashion a completely English music. This particular avenue hadn't been explored, and it grew out of our interest and sensibilities. It wasn't folk music per se. It was all original period music, derived from Elizabethan and Renaissance inspiration, but palatable to 20th century audiences. I would take ideas, not plagiarize servilely, as the intent was to evoke the era, and strike a chord with our audience.

      Fantasia Lindum means fantasia about Lincolnshire, a rural county in which we all lived. We had actually played in the cathedral there. I had been listening to Henry Purcell, who had composed later than the Elizabethan period and who had written glorious celebratory short pieces using orchestra and choir. I thought "Why not write music celebrating Lincolnshire?" Harking back to a time when there were no cars and no streetlights, we never used electric instruments. "Toye" was a name commonly used in Elizabethan times as a dedication to the patron who had commissioned a piece of music "to ye".

Jonh Gladwin's signature
(From the "Troubadours of the British Folk - vol. 2")


 Note on 'Mulgrave Street / Inspiration' issue