Frontiers Records is pleased to celebrate PRETTY MAIDS’ Thirtieth Anniversary with the release of the band’s first ever live 2CD/DVD package entitled “It Comes Alive (Maid in Switzerland)” on March 23rd in Europe and March 27th in North America.
Excellent addition to any prog-folk music collection.
A Maid in Bedlam is credited to the John Renbourn Group, not to John Renbourn alone, and that is an important distinction, since this is not another album of Renbourn's acoustic guitar stylings. It really is the work of a group, consisting of Renbourn on guitar and vocals, his Pentangle partner Jacqui McShee on vocals, Tony Roberts on vocals and wind instruments, Sue Draheim on vocals and fiddle, and Keshav Sathe on tabla and finger cymbals.
An R&B band that only played pop to get on the charts, Manfred Mann and its various permutations ranked among the most adept British Invasion acts in both styles. South African-born keyboardist Manfred Mann was originally an aspiring jazz player, moving toward R&B when more blues-oriented sounds became in vogue in England in the early '60s. Original Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones was one of the best British Invasion singers, and his resonant vocals were the best feature of their early R&B sides, which had a slightly jazzier and smoother touch than the early work of the Rolling Stones and Animals…
Perhaps the most telling tune on Shoulda Been Home is the T-Bone Walker-influenced "Renew Blues," not because of the style, but because the slow blues fades out after just one tiny minute. By contrast, the mellow soul sway of "Out of Eden" stretches out to over nine minutes. Robert Cray has been heralded as a savior of modern blues, but the truth is Cray's music is much closer to the vintage soul of O.V. Wright and Otis Redding than the 12-bar form of B.B. King or Albert King. Granted, his punctuating Stratocaster guitar riffs borrow from the books of all the blues masters, but his songwriting and arranging don't. Often backed by arpeggiated guitar chords, Cray's vocals are front and center here, passionately leaning into these predominantly slow or mid-tempo tunes. By contrast, only a couple of cuts are upbeat enough to really get the knees a-shakin'. The infectious opening cut "Baby's Arms" – the best tune on the record – could have been a hit single for Stax Records, and Sir Mack Rice's upbeat "Love Sickness" was a hit for Stax Records. Meanwhile, "Help Me Forget," with its mellow, candlelight mood, could have been a hit for Barry White.