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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


A Song For All Seasons (vinyl reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

I love Renaissance. Their particular brand of more organic and folk oriented prog is effective and inventive. Well, Cherry Red has just reissued this classic album on vinyl. It's a nice package that includes a poster and lyrics inner-sleeve. I've always enjoyed this album a lot, and this release of it really does it justice. I should note that I previously reviewed this as a CD. For the sake of consistency I have modified the track reviews from that write-up for use here.

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Track by Track Review
Opening Out

Although this is trademark Renaissance in so many ways, there are hints of Pink Floyd in some of the heavier stuff. I really love the balance between harder rocking and mellower movements. Annie Haslam’s vocals are always top-notch, and this song is no exception. There is a great balance between more and less symphonic, too.

The Day of the Dreamer
Starting with some piano based music, this cut is fast-paced. It’s a symphonically tinged number with a lot of folk music, rock and more in the mix. I really love some of the shifts and changes on this thing. It’s decidedly prog, but also rather mainstream and commercial in some ways. The later section is much more of the folk prog that Renaissance is known for doing. I like this one a lot. It’s got some really great melodies. I suppose one could consider the strings a bit over the top, but it’s just so appropriate for Renaissance, really.
Closer Than Yesterday
This is very much a folk song. It’s a bit less proggy than some of the arrangements that Renaissance would have done of this in the past. Still, with Haslam’s vocals over the top of the acoustic guitar based arrangement, it’s instantly recognizable as Renaissance.
Kindness (At the End)
A powerhouse, fast paced prog jam opens this number after a short keyboard-only section. It drops back after a time for a mellower movement. The vocals (male this time) come over the top as the song continues to move forward. This really does evolve into a powerful piece of music. I love the organ at the end, too.
Back Home Once Again

In terms of song structure, this is more of a mainstream pop number. The arrangement, though, brings it into Renaissance territory. It’s a mellower song, but does have some energy.

She Is Love
This comes in very classical in nature. As the vocals are added (male ones) that is almost augmented. There are definite elements here that make me think of Queen’s forays into old time music. But, overall, this is very much like classical soundtrack music. It’s very mellow and unusual. It’s about as “non rock” as you can get.
Northern Lights
Musically, this reminds me quite a bit of Yes. Still, it’s quite recognizable as Renaissance. It covers quite a bit of range and is one of my favorites on this album.
A Song for All Seasons
This is a progressive rock powerhouse that works through all kinds of shifts and changes as it gets underway. There are some definite symphonic elements. This extended introductory section works through and drops down to a false ending. Then a mellow prog movement joins with the first vocals. The piece works out from there, taking us through several thrilling changes. This is very much the Renaissance sound of old. I really do love this epic number. Of course, there’s a reason it’s the title track.
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