CD Tuscany [Renaissance]  (CD 1300770),
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Tuscany [Renaissance] 
1. Lady from Tuscany
2. Pearls of Wisdom
3. Eva's Pond
4. Dear Landseer
5. In the Sunshine
6. In My Life
7. Race, The
8. Dolphin's Prayer
9. Life in Brazil
10. One Thousand Roses
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): GEPCD 1030
Michael Dunford; Annie Haslam; Roy Wood
Rob Williams; Dave Woolgar; Rob Williams
TUSCANY is the 10-song reunion record (featuring four of the five original band members) by Renaissance.
Personnel: Annie Haslam (vocals, background vocals); Michael Dunford (acoustic guitar, background vocals); John Tout (piano, harpsichord, keyboards); Roy Wood (keyboards, bass guitar, background vocals); Mickey Simmonds (keyboards, background vocals); Terence Sullivan (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Rob Williams; Dave Woolgar; Rob Williams .
Recording information: Astra Audio, Monks Horton, Kent, England; Astro Audio; Monks Horton, Kent, England.
Arrangers: Michael Dunford; Annie Haslam.
Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford re-formed a version of Renaissance for this album, which has its feet planted in two different decades. The opening track and "The Race" rely somewhat more on a synth pop sound than the group's classic sides, and "Dear Landseer" offers a somewhat angular melody and keening vocals by Haslam that are close in spirit to Kate Bush's early-'80s work. A lot of the album does retain much of the haunt count of their best '70s material, however, and none of what's here will displease longtime fans. "Lady From Tuscany" is a good way away from that classic sound, but "Pearls of Wisdom" could have been cut by the group 20-some years before. Haslam's voice doesn't have quite the glowing luster of her older sides, though she still sings very powerfully and does occasionally hit those high notes beautifully. Along with Mickey Simmonds (keyboards, arrangements) and Terence Sullivan (drums) rounding out the core group, the guest performers include Roy Wood (who sings backup on one song; plays bass, keyboards, and percussion on several others; and arranged the orchestral part on one track), John Tout, and Alex Caird. Wood's contribution as an arranger is significant, with "In the Sunshine" offering a bright, chamber-like accompaniment unlike anything heard from the group previously, and also featuring one of the warmest, most expressive vocal performances from Haslam of her entire career. The reach of the album exceeds the quality of the music, which often lacks the kind of excitement that the group's 1970s (and even their 1980s) albums displayed, though serious fans and those listeners enamored of Haslam's singing will want it. ~ Bruce Eder
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Giant Electric Pea GEPCD 1030
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