The history of Renaissance is essentially the history of two separate groups, rather similar to the two phases of the Moody Blues or the Drifters. The original group was founded in 1969 by ex-Yardbirds members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty as a sort of progressive folk-rock band, who recorded two albums (of which only the first, self-titled LP came out in America, on Elektra Records) but never quite made it, despite some success on England's campus circuit.
The band went through several membership changes, with Relf and his sister Jane (who later fronted the very Renaissance-like Illusion) exiting and McCarty all but gone after 1971. The new lineup formed around the core of bassist Jon Camp, keyboard player John Tout, and Terry Sullivan on drums, with Annie Haslam, an aspiring singer with operatic training and a three-octave range.
The original group's debut album was a then-groundbreaking meld of progressive rock with classical and jazz influences. Vocalist Jane Relf had a striking individual style, and the classical influence was unique for its time.
by Bruce Eder
1. Kings And Queens (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 10:59
2. Innocence (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 7:10
3. Island (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 6:01
4. Wanderer (John Hawken, Jim McCarty) - 4:05
5. Bullet (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 11:27
6. The Sea (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 3:06
7. Island (Single Version) (Keith Relf, Jim McCarty) - 3:37
Bonus Tracks 6-7
*Keith Relf - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Jim McCarty - Percussion, Vocals
*John Hawken - Piano
*Louis Cennamo - Bass Guitar
*Jane Relf - Vocals, Percussion
1974 Renaissance - Turn Of The Cardss
1977 Illusion - Out Of The Mist (2011 remaster)
1978 Illusion – Illusion (2011 remaster)
1963-68 The Yardbirds - Glimpses (five disc box set, 2011 release)
1964 The Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds (2007 Repertoire digi pack with extra tracks)