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Haslam, Annie: Woman Transcending

Woman Transcending is a collection of raritities from the solo career of former Renaissance vocalist Annie Haslam. The CD includes songs from throughout the beloved singer's solo years, focusing on tracks that were either never released or on albums that are hard to find or out of print. Fans of Annie's output throughout the years will certainly want to hear this collection, as there are plenty of gems on this release. Those who have followed her the last decade know of her love of painting and art, and a great work of hers is included as the cover on Woman Transcending, which immediately gets you in the mood for the personal music contained within.

Listening to many of these songs, you almost get a feeling of "why were some of these songs not major hits?" on plenty of occasions. Tunes like "Circular Motion", "Echo", and "You Don't Know a Good Thing" are catchy, addicting pop songs with just a touch of art-rock splendor, led by Annie's soaring vocals and melodic instrumentation. Be on the lookout for synthesizer whiz Larry Fast, who appears on a few tracks in this set, as he was part of Annie's band in the early 90's. She tackles a Mike Rutherford song, "Communication", which was recorded back in 1985, and quite honestly does a great job of it. This easily could have been on any of the latter Renaissance albums and been a great fit. Other highlights include the country/pop flavored pieces Annie recorded with the Carl Perkins family in 1998, "Beyond the Blue" and "One Last Time", both lush, soaring ballads with some tasty pedal steel guitar from Stan Perkins. The emotional take on "Somewhere Out There" is particularly heart wrenching, as it was a duet with Annie's brother Michael , who she recently lost to lung cancer. He had a great voice, and it's a shame they never recorded more than this one song together.

There's some quirky symphonic pop on "Hunter Trials", a track originally released on Poetry in Motion but works just fine here. Annie's charming vocal on this one is just magical, and surrounded by bubbly keyboards and sax makes for a fun listen. Most fans getting word of this CD however will be hoping for some of the recorded material Annie and Steve Howe put together in the mid-90's that never was completed or released. Well, we get one bone thrown our way in the form of "Lily's in the Field", a wonderful number with Annie's enchanting delivery floating over Steve's minstrel-like acoustic guitar mastery. With some added keyboards and symphonics from David Biglin, this is a magestic piece that will only whet the appetite for hopefully more to come from these sessions. Sadly, it's the only one included here, so let's hope that Annie and Steve unearth some more material someday. "Willow Song" is a gorgeous song that features Raphael Rudd on harp, and "My Eternal Love", a Bee Gees tune, sees guest Tony Visconti contributing bass, keyboards, and percussion.

There's something that just so honest and personal about Woman Trascending, but then again that's always been the style of Annie Haslam. Whether it was through her work with Renaissance or her solo material, Annie always created warm and intimate music that reeked of class and charm. If you have ever been a fan of her lovely voice and her music, Woman Transcending will be a must have in your CD collection.

Track Listing
1 Circular Motion
2 Parachute to You
3 Echo
4 You Don't Know a Good Thing
5 Communication
6 Beyond the Blue
7 One Last Time
8 Somewhere Out There
9 So Sad
10 Hunter Trials
11 Lily's in the Field
12 Willow Song
13 My Eternal Love
14 Decisions
15 Shadows
16 Reaching Out

Added: March 4th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Annie Haslam Website
Hits: 5628
Language: english

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