A treasure trove of greatness from British folk rock legend John Renbourn – all of his late 60s solo work, done before moving on to greater fame in Pentangle! First up is There You Go – a rare one from singer Dorris Henderson and future Pentangle founder John Rensbourn! Florida born, LA raised singer Dorris Henderson moved to London in 1965 and was soon singing London's folk clubs, where she met Rensbourn. A solid mix of traditionals and then contemporary folk songs – stripped down and honest takes on "Saly Free And Easy", "Cotton Eyed Joe", "Mr Tamborine Man", "Going To Memphis", Something Lonesome", "Mist On The Mountain" and more. This edition includes bonus tracks from a rare 45 – "Hangman" and "Leaves That Are Green". Next is the self-titled John Renbourn from 1965 – a set that would not only establish John's legacy for years to come, but also have a very strong impact upon the role of the guitar on the British scene too! The album's definitely in a mode that owes something to an American folk legacy – but it also really breaks from the past with unusual phrasings and colorings in Renbourn's guitar – certain
ly with an ear towards ancient English modes, but also at once very fresh and contemporary – a strong precursor to the waves of new acoustic talents that would flow from the UK a few years later, but maybe even more revolutionary – given that John's mostly just working here with his guitar and voice. Bert Jansch adds guitar to a few tracks – and titles include "Song", "Down On The Barge", "Plainsong", "Judy", "Beth's Blues", "Blue Bones", "Train Tune", "Winter Is Gone", and "Noah & Rabbit". Bert & John is a hell of a collaboratio
n between British legends Bert Jansch and John Renbourn – both working here together to completely redefine the sound of their music for the generatio
n to come! This one album may well hold all the sense of subtle power and possibility that was about to flower in the Brit movement often known as "acid folk" – that reworking of older aesthetics with modern conceptions, and doing so mostly with their work on acoustic guitar – quite a feat, given the stripped-down instrumentation of the set! Bert sings a bit – in that incredible style of his – but the real attraction here is the guitar interplay, which is always fresh, never hokey, neither familiar American folk nor forced singer-songwriter backup material. Titles include a wonderful reworking of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" – plus "Red's Favourite", "Orlando", "Soho", "Piano Tune", "East Wind", "After The Dance", and "The Time Has Come". Another Monday is maybe the most obscure album in the collection – a set that is mostly instrumental, with some completely fantastic work by Renbourn on guitar – but which also features a bit of guest vocals from singer Jacqui McShee – whose warmer presence next to John really makes for a nice pairing. The album's as powerful as it is subtle, really beautiful in its sense of variety – with titles that include "Buffalo", "One For William", "Lost Lover Blues", "Another Monday", "Day At The Seaside", "Nobody's Fault But Mine", and "Waltz". Watch The Stars is another great collaboratio
n with Dorris Henderson – an American singer, but one who moved to London in the 60s – where she cut this rare gem with guitarist John Renbourn! The album's got a righteous vibe that's hipper than the usual folk set – with some traditional tunes and some contemporary material – recorded with that amazing phrasing that made Renbourn's guitar so distinct right from the start, with lots of those jazzy currents we love so much – and which really fit the creative vocal approach of Henderson! Dorris also plays some autoharp, and there's a bit of bass in the backings – although overall the main focus here is on Renbourn's guitar and Henderson's vocals. Titles include "Come Up Horsey", "God Bless The Child", "Watch The Stars", "30 Days In Jail", "Mosaic Patterns", "Tomorrow Is A Long Time", and "There's Anger In This Land". Sir John A Lot Of is perhaps one of the best-known albums from British guitar legend John Renbourn – as it was issued widely in the US, and kept in print for a surprisingly long time over the years! The approach here is slightly different than Renbourn's previous records – a bit in the image presented by the cover, although with maybe not as slavish a sound – as John just uses the whole thing to go a bit more ancient than before, in ways that echo the time travel that the whole British folk scene was taking as the 70s approached. The tunes are done in ways that are really beautiful – still lots of the incredible guitar work that made Renbourn such a standout on the scene – plus flute from jazzman Ray Warleigh, who's very different here than usual – and spare use of finger cymbals, African drums, and glockenspiel by Terry Cox. Titles include "Morgana", "Transfusion", "The Trees They Do Grow High", "Sweet Potato", "Seven Up", and "White Fishes". 6CD box features all records in original artwork sleeves, with a booklet of notes – and bonus tracks that include "Message To Pretty", "The Waggoner's Lad", "Lucky Thirteen", "Blues Run The Game", "The Wildest Pig In Captivity (alt)", "Can't Keep From Crying", "Transfusion (alt)", and "The Leaves Are Green".