John Renbourn

John Renbourn

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John Renbourn's famous phrase was that "I started out trying to play like Big Bill Broonzy, and I'm still trying." On this early outing, the first to appear under his own name, you can, perhaps, detect some of the influence on traditional blues like "John Henry" and "Candy Man." But as a player, Renbourn had already very much developed into his own man, imaginative and complete in technique -- listen to the bonus instrumental take of "Wildest Pig in Captivity" to hear his very assured brilliance. Also in evidence is his love of early music, such as "Song," whose lyrics come from a John Donne poem, or his own "Plainsong." He'd already met up with fellow guitar player Bert Jansch, with whom he'd record and form Pentangle, and together they wrote "Noah and Rabbit." While hardly the greatest singer, there's an appealingly earnest quality to his voice, although he sounds a little strained on a cover of the folk classic "Blues Run the Game" (another bonus cut on the reissue). As debuts go, you'd be hard pressed to find anything much better in the folk cauldron that was London in the mid-'60s. The genesis of a master.

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