In addition to being called Ship of Fools, this album is credited to John Renbourn's Ship of Fools, signaling that it is not a Renbourn solo album, but rather a group effort. Previously, Renbourn has used the credit "the John Renbourn Group," but since the personnel is different, he seems to have opted for a new moniker. The chief difference is that, in this case, the female singer is not his old Pentangle partner Jacqui McShee but rather Maggie Boyle, who takes lead vocals on four of the ten tracks, in addition to playing flute. Tony Roberts plays wind instruments, as he did in the John Renbourn Group, with Scott Breadman, producer Mitch Greenhill, and Michael Tempo adding various percussion instruments. Renbourn is joined on the guitar by Steve Tilston, who also adds mandolin. The music is stately traditional British folk in Renbourn's familiar manner, and the mixture is also familiar, with "Cobbler's Jig/Maltese Brawls" the instrumental and the album concluding with an a cappella hymn, "Travellers' Prayer." The album is thus a worthy successor to the John Renbourn Group albums A Maid in Bedlam and The Enchanted Garden.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann