Incoming: Album of Early/Unreleased John Renbourn


Master guitarist was working on the project at the time of his death.

 By Blurt Staff

Legendary Brit-folk icon, the late John Renbourn, is set to have a trove of long lost tapes dating back to the early 1960s cut prior to his debut album for Transatlantic Records. Titled The Attic Tapes, it’s due Oct. 16 on the Riverboat label. The vintage collection of previously unreleased recordings and early works is, in the words of the late Renbourn (1944-2015), “What was happening to me at the time and a reflection of the general scene” in England then.

Among the songs are Renbourn originals as well as tunes by Jackson C. Frank and Davey Graham; appearing on the album are Graham, friend and guitarist Mac MacLeod (it was MacLeod who discovered the tape box in his attic) and Beverley Martyn, whose two tracks were recorded at a gig they shared with a visiting American, folk/blues artist Spider John Koerner.

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Renbourn’s notes were written only very shortly before his death in March, and he had put a lot of time into this project over the last couple of years, carefully selecting tracks, cleaning them and. He was looking forward to the release with great enthusiasm. Comments Riverboat, ‘Unfortunately we were due to send over the finished artwork to him the day after he passed away, so it’s really sad that he never got to see the finished product… He was also going to do some further digging to see if he could find out the dates, so unfortunately we will never know exactly when most of these recording were made.”

Renbourn of course was a mainstay of the British folk scene, solo and as a member of Pentangle. In later years Renbourn toured regularly, often in company with Stefan Grossman, Robin Williamson and Wizz Jones who he was touring and recording with at the time of his death. John’s last official album was 2011’s Palermo Show, itself his first album in 13 years.

Below, watch a fascinating interview in which the guitarist demonstrates various guitar styles of the ’60s common on the folk/blues circuit.

john renbourn on sixties guitar styles from sgafilms on Vimeo.

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