John Renbourn

BBC Live in Concert

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The late '70s were a very fertile time for John Renbourn. The solo albums he'd done had explored early music and blues -- the twin ends of a wide spectrum -- and in his post-Pentangle period he mined a lot of the terrain in between. This album -- recorded at BBC concerts on July 26, 1978, and May 21, 1980 -- shows how far he'd traveled. His work with Stefan Grossman had been documented on a couple of albums, but adding flute and tabla to the lineup, as well as reuniting with former Pentangle colleague, singer Jacqui McShee, offered more possibilities, as on "Great Dreams From Heaven" and another visit to "Trees They Do Grow High," which Renbourn and McShee had performed with Pentangle. "All Things That Rise Must Converge" kicks off with some splendid interplay between Grossman and Renbourn, but the best thing here is an epic version of the traditional "Plains of Waterloo" that travels through many moods. Throw in a couple of tunes that hit a Cajun mood and a short trip through Indian influence, and you have an album that offers a full indication of where Renbourn stood at the time -- as well as some very satisfying playing.

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