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John Renbourn's Ship of Fools

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Album Review

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.


Born: 08 August 1944 in Torquay, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the '60s and '70s, John Renbourn was one of the leading lights of the British folk scene as the founder of the eclectic and innovative folk-rock band the Pentangle, who added the melodic twists and structural freedoms of jazz to the dark but compelling traditions of U.K. folk. After leaving the group, Renbourn went on to a distinguished solo career, where he broadened his repertoire to include classical guitar, and he earned an international reputation as an instrumentalist with remarkable technical...
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John Renbourn's Ship of Fools, John Renbourn
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