I had a long drive from Westchester county back to New Jersey tonight, involving holiday shopping traffic around two major malls, a Hudson River crossing and a lot of toll booths. All made significantly easier with the re-issued Renaissance Live At Carnegie Hall.
I’m firmly convinced that Renaissance was primarily an East Coast, Philly to Boston, late baby boomer phenomenon. The best description I’ve heard of their music is “electric folk,” but sparse adjectives don’t do justice to Jon Camp’s amazing bass lines, or Annie Haslam’s vocals, or composition that draws on Russian literature and Persian folklore. Nearly 30 years after its release, I still get shivers when I hear Annie Haslam hit the final notes of “Scheherazade” or “Ashes are Burning.” Annie Haslam has an unheard-of five octave range. All the more amazing to me since I have about two octaves and one of them is consistently out of whatever key we’re in.
What happens when you take all-time favorite vocalist (Annie Haslam) and mix with all-time favorite guitar player (Steve Howe) on top-five all-time favorite Yes composition (Turn of the Century)? You can find out on Tales from Yesterday, a CD of Yes covers. It’s magic.