In the early seventies I used to occasionally spend the weekend with a school friend called Tim. He had an older brother whose name is lost deep within the sands of time, and he had a poster of a beautiful woman on his bedroom wall.
He was also into a band called Renaissance and turned me on to albums like Turn of the Cards which are personal favourites to this day. It was, therefore, a particular thrill to interview Annie Haslam recently. If you missed it you can find the interview:
part one HERE,
part two HERE.
part three HERE
but I always vaguely wondered who the woman on Tim's elder brother's wall was.
Now, I'd always been vaguely aware that Renaissance was originally a band formed by ex-Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty, who left during the sessions for the second album, but I never actually heard anything from that lineup. Yesterday the lovely Anne-Marie from Gonzo sent me a whole pile of interesting things, including a DVD of the first Renaissance lineup, so when we had finished the day's activities and taken Sheri, the intern, back to her B&B I poured myself a tot of milk from the Kentucky cow, and Richard and I settled down to watch the DVD.
The first two tracks are indeed from the Keith Relf led lineup, and the sound of the band is completely different from the multi-layered orchestral finery of the later Renaissance albums, and my 30-something year mystery was solved. The woman on the poster on my mate's elder brother's bedroom wall was none other than Keith Relf's sister Jane...
However, then things got weird. I had always thought that Annie Haslam had joined the band after the two Yardbirds and Jane Relf had left. But in fact there was a brief interregnum of a couple of months when the band had two lead singers: Anne-Marie "Binky" Cullum and Terry Crowe.
Binky had a very good voice, albeit totally different from either Annie Haslam or Jane Relf, and Terry Crowe was massively reminiscent of Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, especially during the between song soundbytes, but as regular readers will know I can't abide a mystery. Both singers left the band after only short tenures, and I wonder what happened to them. When I went to bed last night I messed around with the laptop by my bed and found out that Binky is apparently working as a 'Massage Therapist', and that Terry is allegedly dead. But no-one could confirm or deny these stories with any citations or anything other than vague rumour.
So come on Gonzofolk. Get sleuthing. I need to know this stuff...
SOME USEFUL LINKS:
renaissancetouring.com/2012-2013 Tour Announcement · New Renaissance Studio Album · Grandine il Vento. Join Renaissance Updates mailing list ...
www.anniehaslam.com/Annie Haslam, born in Bolton, Lancashire, breast cancer survivor, became lead vocalist for Renaissance has now turned her music into 'dream expressionism' ...
Annie Haslam's artist page at Gonzo