Reviews Zone

Blonde On Blonde: Rebirth (Esoteric Recordings) Out Now

 


3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Newly re-mastered and expanded edition of “Rebirth”, the classic 1970 album by Welsh Progressive rock group Blonde On Blonde. Featuring a line-up of David Thomas (vocals), Gareth Johnson (guitars), Richard John (bass) and Les Hicks (drums), “Rebirth” was the second album by the band who hailed from Newport in South Wales.

Issued in 1970, the record followed on from the band’s debut, “Contrasts”, recorded for the Pye label the previous year and produced by Barry Murray. Signed to the Ember label, “Rebirth” was a huge step forward in creative terms for the band and saw them move further into a Prog’ rock direction. Original vinyl copies of “Rebirth” now demand huge sums among collectors, based upon the quality and originality of their music.

“Rebirth” was released after a personnel change that saw singer/guitarist Ralph Denyer joining Aquila and replaced by school friend David Thomas. Thomas’ introduction gave the band a tougher, rock-oriented sound. Their second album including Moody Blues-styled ballads, progressive rock songs and fuzz-guitar based rockers. In 1971 Richard Hopkins left, and was replaced by Graham Davis.

This edition has been newly re-mastered from the original Ember masters and includes three bonus tracks, two previously unreleased. The booklet features exclusive new interviews with David Thomas and Gareth Johnson, previously unseen photographs and fully restored original album artwork.

There are eight tracks from the original album, plus “Circles,” a B-side of a single, an alternate version of “Castes In The Sky,” which was previously unreleased and “Time Is Passing,” an also previously unreleased alternate version.

The band was originally formed in Newport in 1967 by vocalist/guitarist Ralph Denyer, drummer Les Hicks, bassist/organist Richard Hopkins and guitarist/sitar player Gareth Johnson. Named after Bob Dylan’s 1966 album of the same name. In 1968 the quartet left Wales for London, playing clubs such as Middle Earth, and appearing on the BBC TV series “How Late It Is”.

Their first album “Contrasts” included the Robin Williamson (of the Incredible String Band) covers “No Sleep Blues” and “I Need My Friend”, and a cover of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”. They appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival.

1970s “Rebirth” was released after a personnel change that saw singer/guitarist Ralph Denyer joining Aquila, replaced by school friend David Thomas. Thomas’ introduction gave the band a tougher, rock-oriented sound. Their second album included Moody Blues-styled ballads, progressive rock songs and fuzz-guitar based rockers. In 1971 Richard Hopkins left, and was replaced by Graham Davis.

 

By Christopher Weston

 

 


 

1 Stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 Stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 Stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 Stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 Stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’

 

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