Wednesday, February 11, 2015

CD Review: New Live Albums From Renaissance Relive Seventies Career High

U.K. progressive rock band Renaissance have finally opened their vault, allowing Cleopatra Records to release two live recordings from the height of the band's popularity. First up is their 1973 "live-in-the-studio" recording at DeLane Lea Studios in Paris. The studio is famous for being used by some of the greatest artists in music including The Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd and others. The new release entitled "DeLane Lea Studios 1973" showcases Renaissance in their prime, just prior to their top 10 U.K hit "Northern Lights."
The new seven-song release begins with the ten-minute adventure of "Can You Understand?" which is an amazing live performance as lead singer Annie Haslam never sounded better. Her voice sounds angelic during their performance of "Let It Grow," before the band revisits the classic prog-rock of "Sounds Of The Sea," one of only two songs on this release from their prior 1972 album "Prologue." All of the other songs appeared on their, then current album, "Ashes Are Burning" as the twelve-minute title song features guests appearance by folk singer Al Stewart and Wishbone Ash guitarist Andy Powell. The song is electrifying as the instrumentation of the band is just outstanding. The album closes with the seven-minute rocking instrumental "Prologue." To find out more about one of the latest releases from Cleopatra Records, "Renaissance - DeLane Lea Studios 1973," please visit
Also, coming out soon is the ultimate live release from Renaissance entitled "Academy of Music 1974." It will be released through Cleopatra Records on March 31st and features the band during the height of their popularity. The band performed the show alongside a 24-piece orchestra that fills the recording nicely and gives an incredible feel to the show. This two-disc set is a compliment to the "DeLane Lea Studios 1973" release and sounds amazing, making you wonder why this was never released sooner.
The new nine-song album begins with the amazing instrumentation of "Can You Understand," which became an opening staple for the band as they introduce you to their brand of progressive rock music. Lead singer Annie Haslem's angelic voice shines amongst the acoustic folk backdrop of "Black Flame" and their heavier rock sound is displayed on ten-minute "Things I Don't Understand," which wasn't released until their next album along with the piano-driven "Running Hard."
The second disc continues the show with an eighteen-minute version of "Ashes Are Burning" which features Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash on guitar and Howard Stein on piano. This version of the song is the pinnacle of the show and possibly the height of their live repertoire during this tour as it takes you on a journey between soft and hard rock. The show closes, similar to their other newly released live album, with the mostly instrumental "Prologue" as Renaissance showcase their unique progressive folk/rock sound one last time for the listening audience. To find out more about this great new discovery and release from Cleopatra Records, please visit

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