Friday, March 27, 2015

Fingerpickin' Good: Renbourn Free

Hello and welcome to a Folky Fingerpickin' Friday. It's another tribute post to another departed legend today, I'm afraid.
It is my sad duty to inform you, if you don't already know, that guitarissimo John Renbourn passed away from a heart attack at age 70 yesterday morning. Needless to say he leaves a legacy and reputation as one of the greatest instrumentalists of ours or any other lifetimes.
Fingerpicking virtuoso, Pentangle co-founder, solo artist, teacher, storyteller. All that needs to be said is if you leave behind the kind of beautiful footprint from your being alive that John Renbourn has left us from his, you'd have led a very rich and impressive life indeed.
I spent all day yesterday working on a remaster that might be worthy of such a seminal, watershed performer and musician... JR could be a tough one to showcase on his own, as he was always surrounded by other luminaries onstage at almost all times. I decided upon this gorgeous solo set, captured beautifully by Australian radio in 1987, that features John at center-stage and at the absolute peak of his formidable six-string Samurai powers.
This didn't need much at all, believe me... all I felt was a tad lacking was the high end attack transients of the guitar, which were slightly muted by the Dolby B used on the original cassette. I used some Sound Forge 9 Graphic Dynamics groove juice (with a splash of goofa dust) and that was all... I always try to do as little as I feel is required and this was already in tip-top condition. I also moved one track marker so the DJ intro (which I patched at the start to begin with a somewhat complete sentence) can be skipped; the fade-up of the applause that begins the show is now at the start of Track 02.
John Renbourn
RSL Club
Balmain Hotel
Sydney, Australia
   September 1987   

01 DJ introduction
02 My Sweet Potato
03 Great Dreams from Heaven
04 Lord Franklin
05 Watch the Stars
06 The Cannonball Rag
07 Little Niles
08 The Lazy Farmer
09 The West Wind/The Blarney Pilgrim
10 Lindsay
11 Sandwood Down to Kyle

    12 The Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill/The Mist Covered Mountains of Home/The English
13 Cherry
14 The White House Blues
15 Candyman
16 DJ outro

Total time : 1:15:55

John Renbourn - acoustic guitar, effects, vocals
Mitch Greenhill - electric guitar on Tracks 14 & 15

2nd generation FM cassette, remastered by yours truly
It's an incalculable loss, but JR has joined Bert Jansch in the Great Beyond, and of course we have the endless wellspring of standard-setting music he leaves us as he exits our world. Pull this undercirculated gem down -- it really is a rare glimpse into the songbook of John's solo repertoire, on a gig where for once he wasn't in the company of various other heavyweights and he could command the stage alone -- and enjoy it forever as a tribute to one of the most seminal and skillful guitarists that will ever live, in full free flight and shining bright three decades ago Down Under.--J.
8.8.1944 - 3.26.2015

1 comment:

  1. alas... another giant moves on.
    i hadn't heard, but i'm not surprised. it seems like a weekly event now that one more figure who changed the sound of music is gone.
    thanks for the chance to remember him listening to this performance.