This 77-minute, 16-song compilation is made up of the highlights of the first two albums by Michael Dunford's Renaissance, and may be the most convenient way to access the offshoot group's work. The re-recordings of '70s-era Renaissance songs (with Stephanie Adlington on vocals) are done with the emphasis on acoustic instruments, with lightly textured orchestrations and some fairly involved overdubs picking up the slack from the missing amplification. There is no personnel or composition information (apart from a mention of Adlington) much less any annotation about the songs, but the overall results are satisfying if not exactly earth-shattering. Adlington's vocal range is very impressive, and she makes a stunning vocal entrance over the acoustic guitar on "Things I Don't Understand," though, in much of the material here, she lacks Annie Haslam's sense of drama, with the result that the re-recorded songs are a bit more languid than the originals. On the other hand, her enunciation is very different from Haslam's, and she tends to luxuriate in every syllable and nuance of the lyrics, even if her emotional delivery is a bit cold. Similarly, most of the new repertory (principally from the Dunford group's first album) lacks the dramatic arc that Haslam would likely have given the songs, although the cuts off of The Other Woman album are a bit louder than we ever thought of the old Renaissance as being. They rock a lot harder and may be jarring to longtime fans, though they also have a level of musical excitement that is lacking in the re-recordings of the old compositions.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder