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John Renbourn Group

A Maid In Bremen Live At Roemer, Bremen Feb. 14th 1978

Review by Gary Hill

John Renbourn was probably best known as part of the band Pentangle. I know a lot of people consider that group to be progressive rock, and I suppose progressive folk might apply. Personally, I've never thought it fit for them as well as it did for act that have some similarities. The old-world folk music at the heart of this performance really fits with the music of his old band, though. This is a live show that still holds up well all these years later.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
I Am A Maid That's Deep In Love
There is a real sense of traditional music in the mix on this opening piece. The guitar work is intricate and the arrangement is lush and rich. This falls under the category of folk music, but there is quite a bit of world music at play, too.
Death And The Lady
Even more old-time music based, this has a dramatic vocal arrangement. It's an intriguing tune.
Westron Wynde
This is an acapella track featuring Jacqui McShae.
Sweet Potato
There is an up-tempo arrangement to this piece. It features some smoking hot acoustic guitar work and a sound that leans toward bluegrass music. It's a classy instrumental.
John Barleycorn
A classy old-time number, this is one of the highlights of the set.
Turn Your Money Green
Part acoustic blues rocker, part folk-rock and part old-time music based, this is another standout. It has some killer jamming later in the track.
My Johnny Was A Shoemaker
Another old-school folk number, I like this quite a bit. It has some dramatic layers of sound over the top of it.
To Glastonbury
This piece is not a big change. For some reason I don't think it's quite as effective as some of the others here. The tabla solo at the end is a nice touch.
Gypsy Dance/Jews Dance Neusiedler Melody
An energized old-time music jam, this is solid.
The Maid On The Shore
Imagine a more traditional-music based Renaissance. I bet it would sound a lot like this. I love this song. In fact, it might be my favorite of the album.
A Maid In Bedlam
The multiple layers of vocals serve this number well. The track is another traditional folk based tune of the old-time variety.
Sidi Brahim
This instrumental has some killer world music tendencies and even works toward jazz at times.
Cruel Sister
Another that isn't a big change, but rather a particularly effective example of the kind of thing we've heard throughout, I like this a lot.
Kokomo Blues
I love the cool music of this folky tune. This does have some blues in the mix, making me think of Canned Heat just a bit. It's a fun tune and another highlight of the set.
Will of Winsbury
A mellow old-world melody makes up the concept of this number. it's a pretty and quite dramatic piece of music.
 
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