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Ghost Canyon

Title - ‘DeLane Lea Studios 1973’
Artist - Renaissance

Cleopatra Records are releasing in this month of February and then March, two (2), yep, you read that right, two (2) RARE live albums from UK prog rock legends, Renaissance. This first one reviewed here today is DeLane Lea Studios 1973, with the follow-up live album, the 2-CD extravaganza Academy of Music 1974.

For those not in the know about Renaissance, they are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit ‘Northern Lights’ and progressive rock classics like ‘Carpet of the Sun,’ ‘Mother Russia,’ and ‘Ashes Are Burning’ (the latter track that is actually included on this 1973 live album, featuring both Andy Powell and Al Stewart).

They developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences. As was worldly commented on at that time, characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound were Annie Haslam's five-octave voice, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, synthesized bass guitar, keyboard synthesizers, and versatile drum work.

Phew, I know right, but combining all those sounds meant, at least at that time they stood out in a market that needed something new, something fresh. Something creative. Indeed, the band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 70s, and that region remains their strongest fan base even today.

DeLane Lea Studios 1973 is a captivating, caught-in-the-moment, live-in-the-studio recording that allowed Renaissance to simply perform to a small gathering of friends at this aforementioned, and historic studio venue. Indeed, and for the purists amongst you that take one look at the seven song long track listing, yes, the group sing nearly all the entire fourth album, Ashes Are Burning. And as noted above, the last-but-one track of the same name has them joined on stage by Wishbone Ash’s very own, Andy Powell and folk singer Al Stewart.