CD Reviews

Les Penning - 'Belerion'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 09, 2017    
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It's a true joy to listen to and leaves you with a warm feeling inside.

Anyone who has heard the timeless Christmas classic 'In Dulce Jubilo' by Mike Oldfield will remember the wonderful recorder playing it contained – this was supplied by Les Penning.

Penning has put together a variety of self-written and traditional songs, including some that were originally recorded for an Oldfield solo album in 1976. This album also features guitarist Phil Bates (ELO2) and multi-instrumentalist Robert Reed (Sanctuary/Magenta) and between the three of them they have produced an eclectic mix of musical ideas.

'Portsmouth' is a re-working of a traditional song by John Playford, the music evokes images of snow clad hills and dimly lit cottages. A wonderful new musical shine is added to the 'Bach Minuet', while 'Lyme' has some very emotive keyboard playing that adds a charm to the song.

The English countryside is a theme that runs through so many of the songs here. 'St. Clements Isle', a song written by Penning, is a beautiful melancholic piece, while 'Nobody's Jig' is not too far from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson and his solo material – a very enjoyable little ditty.

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One of the more familiar songs is 'British Grenadiers', a 17th century marching song that has graced many an old war time movie. There are some splendid Bodhran playing from Penning here amongst the wealth of instruments displayed.

The promo copy I had also came with a DVD as well which featured an interview with Les Penning where he chatted about his career, as well as that specific period in the mid-seventies when 'Portsmouth' and '... Jubilo' were made. There are also two promo videos for 'Portsmouth' and 'Sellinger's Round'.

The album as a whole is a true joy to listen to and leaves you with a warm feeling inside.

Ray Paul

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