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A Song for All Seasons

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After spending the first half of the '70s crafting complex symphonic-rock epics, Renaissance took a more accessible turn on 1977's Novella. Though the band continued to blend folk, classical, and progressive rock flavors for their rich, mostly acoustic sound, the compositions on the 1978 followup, A Song for All Seasons, are shorter and the song forms more concise, tapping more consistently into the pop sensibilities that had always played at least a small part in Renaissance's stylistic mix. Of course, singer Annie Haslam's bell-like tones remain at the center of the songs, and plenty of big, bold orchestral arrangements frame the band's interplay. "Closer Than Yesterday" is downright Beatle-esque, and "The Northern Lights" (the only hit single the band ever had) is a straight-up pop song, with a fetchingly hooky chorus. Renaissance's longtime (nonperforming) lyricist, Betty Thatcher, has a diminished role here, but she straddled both sides of the album's pop-prog divide: she penned both the aforementioned hit and the 11-minute title track, a prog-rock extravaganza more in keeping with the band's signature sound.

Customer Reviews

Beware?!!! Of course, this isn't Scheherazade!

For THAT you'd need a complete catalog, but you won't find many of those here on the Toonz, not for what they deem obscure artists, at least. It also helps to be literate and either read or listen to song samples before purchasing. Doh! To do the trick you need the album "Scheherazade And Other Stories" which *I* found as a German import on disc years ago, but "Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 1" offered here DOES provide a 4 minute excerpt from the opus. As for Song for All Seasons" it stands as one of their more consistent efforts, with the two epic bookends "Day of the Dreamer" and the title track just leaping into their legendary mythos. Unfortch you can only get the latter on the anthology "Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 2", and THEN as an album only cut!!!! The rest is fine, but the track "Kindness (At The End)" transcends, as it showcases the superb bassist Jon Camp's deft touch as a dramatic singer, a rare priceless goosebump moment.

Brilliant Writing & Delivery-- A Band Fully Matured

Can't agree with some of the other reviews here. This was after Renaissance's high-water SALES mark (1978), but this album is every bit a part of thier creative peak. In some ways, they reached a song crafting maturity on this LP that they hadn't attained before. One regret-- where is the long 11-minute "A Song for All Seasons" title track that should be here (song #8 on the original LP)? It is classic Renaissance in the vein of 'Ashes Are Burning,' 'Scheherezade,' 'Mother Russia,' and 'Can You Hear Me?' You'll have to find it on 1001 Nights Vol. 2. Many great Renaissance songs were recorded in that latter half of their career (including 1977's beautiful 'Novella' album) and 'A Song for All Seasons' is one of them.

Critics Got this One Wrong

This is one of my favorite albums by any artist. The melodies across the board are superb, with only a couple of exceptions. I really can't say why some of the critics panned this album, because it contains Renaissance's finest, most naturally-occurring melodies yet. My favorites on here are Closer than Yesterday and Northern Lights. Only reason I can't give it five stars is that the songwriting slips a little bit toward the end. But in any case, this is my favorite Renaissance album.


Formed: 1969 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

The history of Renaissance is essentially the history of two separate groups, rather similar to the two phases of the Moody Blues or the Drifters. The original group was founded in 1969 by ex-Yardbirds members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty as a sort of progressive folk-rock band, who recorded two albums (of which only the first, self-titled LP came out in America, on Elektra Records) but never quite made it, despite some success on England's campus circuit. The band went through several membership...
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A Song for All Seasons, Renaissance
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