Posts Tagged ‘Alan Parsons’

ALAN PARSONS, FREE OF THE PROJECT, TRIES ANYTHING ONCE ON HIS PREMIER SOLO ALBUM

September 13, 2019

The first solo album by Alan Parsons. Fresh from a feud-riddled Freudiana with Eric Woolfson.

Before I begin the review I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Alan Parsons for his Grammy win for the 35th Anniversary Box Set release of Eye In The Sky. It’s always affirming when Parsons get some recognition for his work outside of the dreadful Pink Floyd album and the even more banal Beatles works. I would have liked to have seen him get more recognition for his I Robot album than he got for the other projects. This is yet another unpopular opinion I am sure, but if you want popular opinion, there are millions of other reviewers towing the label dictate. Read them!

Now…

Rock operas are no damn good! If we learn nothing else from this review, we should be at least advised that rock operas can destroy (what the modern music industry would consider) a golden goose. Imagine, you are the head of a record label. Some guy and his pal come to you with a crazy idea that they are going to do a concept album (a good thing), about Edgar Allan Poe. Now, seeing as the median reader age is just a touch younger than I am, Poe was considered the grandfather of Goth. So that would mean dark, forbidding tales of murder, mayhem, deceit, set to catchy prog-rock style tunes.

You would kick their asses right out of the building, never mind your office…

Except ‘some guy’ is Alan Parsons, fresh off of working with Pink Floyd on Dark Side Of The Moon, and having just hung out with The Beatles during their infamous ‘Rooftop Concert’ (the bloke in the orange shirt). Not to mention Al Stewart’s Year Of The Cat album, and Pilot’s debut album From The Album Of The Same Name. If that’s not familiar to you, I KNOW you have heard the Pilot song “Magic” if in no other form, it was bastardized in the commercial for the drug Ozembic. The other guy? Eric Woolfson who was a minor music mogul in that he was managing several bands. Most notably and recognizably Carl Douglas whose song “Kung Fu Fighting” became an annoyance in the mid-seventies. But most importantly, Woolfson was a songwriter. Something Parsons was still finding his way around, but gaining ground quickly being around Woolfson. They share credit on many Parsons Project songs.

And the label was 20th Century Fox. Now the faithful readers of this rag (all two of you) know how I feel about movie production companies owning record labels. I know each and every band member of Miracle Legion will say the same thing; no damn good. As I alluded to before, 20th Century was given a concept album about Edgar Allan Poe and after it, they gave Parsons/Woolfson the boot.

It was at this point, The Alan Parsons Project would truly begin…

(more…)

DAVID FITZPATRICK GREETS US WITH A WHIRLWIND THAT IS PARACHUTES IN HURRICANES

August 10, 2018

David Fitzpatrick puts his name on the line for Parachutes And Hurricanes. Photo courtesy the internet

I love Gary Tanin. I really do. He’s been a fan of this blog way back before it was this blog. The history between us goes back to when I was writing for Princeton Record Exchange. I don’t recall what review I wrote that garnered his attention there, but he came along when I decided to blow off the other two stores I was writing for and forge out on my own.

For that I will always be grateful. But I fear this is where all good things must end.

All throughout this blog’s history, I have made every effort to look for the unusual, the out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten path stuff. Having first been born and raised in the NJ/NY area, I was influenced by that fringe that was all around then. Free radios in cars blasted new and unusual stuff with the birth of FM radio. WPLJ, so on etc. So while I was getting the fresh info and news and new music, my family was imploding and my mother had to take me away from all that culture…

(more…)

THE MUSICAL COMET THAT IS LORD RUSS RETURNS WITH FUTURISTIC VISIONS OF THE PAST. HAVE YOU HEARD???

July 17, 2017

The newest take on some established songs, done Lord Russ style! Photo courtesy Russ Brooks

Lord Russ has a past with this blog. That sounds so sordid, doesn’t it? But that ‘past’ is a good one! Lord Russ found me while I was still with Princeton Record Exchange. He took advantage of my open position that “if you have the balls to accept what someone who knows something about music has to say about yours, bring it!” and brought me his first delightful album Heir Of Mystery! Easily the best “indie” (in the truest sense of the word, Lord Russ’ neighbor, Mark Mulcahy and his band Miracle Legion roadied for themselves on their recent reunion tour, set up, tore down, and loaded out, here’s a band that’s been on TV, David Letterman, Adventures Of Pete and Pete, too numerous to list, having to roadie their own shows because that’s how the record industry is now) disc to come my way this year. The fortunate part of the Miracle Legion show was the availability of two new releases, two double live CDs, one from Miracle Legion, and one from Polaris. The difference being, no Ray Neal in Polaris, his place was filled by another Lord Russ neighbor, Henning Ohlenbusch who played lead guitar and allsorts. The CT/Mass music scene is a very intriguing one. If what Fatso Jetson leader Mario Lalli claims is correct, the High Desert/Wonder Valley scene is dead.

But I digress…

(more…)

THE MASS EXODUS I HAD FEARED SINCE CHILDHOOD IS HERE NOW!

April 4, 2016

Sorry folks, no photos of album covers or artists performing live in this blog. In fact, we are embracing the here and now, with a morose eye towards the future. I never thought I would be posting something like this, but in the light of recent events (read: the massive amount of influential musicians who are passing away at a pace none of us can keep up with), I really had no choice. This was a necessity above and beyond my ordinary macabre nature.

For me, I think it started with the death of Alan Myers, the original drummer for Devo. It was a severe blow when a short time later, his bandmate and co-founder of Devo, Robert Casale also (and most definitely unexpectedly) passed away.

Then the onslaught began.

(more…)

LONG LOST ALAN PARSONS ALBUM THE SICILIAN DEFENCE SURFACES AS PART OF THE PARSONS COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION BOXSET

August 26, 2014
The chess themed CD that was used to leverage a contract between Clive Davis and Parsons/Woolfson.  Photo courtesy Sony/Legacy Recordings

The chess themed CD that was used to leverage a contract between Clive Davis and Parsons/Woolfson. Photo courtesy Sony/Legacy Recordings

The mythology behind the lost album, The Sicilian Defence, goes like this… The Project’s contract with Arista records was up for renewal. While the Project had scored multiple FM hits with tracks like “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You” and “Breakdown” from the magnificent I Robot LP, and even lesser hits like “(The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather” from their debut LP Tales Of Mystery And Imagination – Edgar Allan Poe and even “Damned If I Do” from the album recorded in tandem with The Sicilian Defence, Eve. So it isn’t like they didn’t have the leverage to say ‘If Arista wants us to deliver an album, we’ll give them an album!”.

But what kind of album would make a good negotiating tool to go up against Arista Records President Clive Davis…

Enter The Sicilian Defence.

(more…)

THIRD TIME IS TRULY A CHARM FOR ALAN PARSONS I ROBOT

October 9, 2013
The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year.  Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year. Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

My story begins many years ago, 1977 to be exact.  One of my early relaxation techniques was to enjoy some classical music, played at low volume, audible enough to induce calm, not loud enough to encumber sleep, at bedtime.

One night during my second year living in Scranton, my usual FM refuge, the local classical station made the industry standard decision of changing format to MOR Rock.  MOR standing for Middle Of the Road as in, they’ll play your average hit, something by Led Zepplin, ELO (who I love), Bruce Springsteen, but at the same time, play an entire album from time-to-time, some prog stuff, the average, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd (often) and if they went deep with acts like Genesis or King Crimson, it would be “Lamb Lies Down” or “Follow You, Follow Me” from the former (one for the Gabriel era, one for the Collins era), or ONLY selections from In The Court Of The Crimson King from the latter.

I happened to tune in for my nightly fix of musical sedation on one particular night and I heard a 70’s Macho-Manned-Deep-Voiced DJ bring a song from break and announcing that the new 107 was fast-approaching a new feature for their new format, their weekly album show featuring an entire album with only commercial breaks at the flip of side one to two (yes kids, we used to have to get up after a set number of songs and turn this big wax/vinyl disc over and reset it for the last batch of tunes).  I wasn’t sure of what to make of it, where is my usual monotone, refined, and in his own way, sedate radio personality who announces my FM version of Valium?

Testosterone Tom, my new night-time DJ at bedtime was saying the upcoming album was by Alan Parsons who engineered Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, was being featured with his second album (the first with enough mainstream success to garner being considered a weekly album feature) I Robot and yes, it is of the same concept as Asimov’s epic, classic novel I, Robot.  Notice the only change between the two titles is the removal of the comma after the “I” in the title.  This came about to the thinking of the late Eric Woolfson who, after a phone conversation with Asimov himself, came to the mindset that to circumvent the legal issue, the comma would be sufficient change enough to warrant an individual copyright.

They start to play the album while I am still trying to figure out where my symphonies went.

“Holy shit this music is amazing”, I thought to myself.  Sequencing synths cascading between individual headphones (closed ear, of course) ushering in dissonant organ tones, giving way to elegant soprano female solo vocal ad-lib.  I was hooked.  I sat through the entire album transfixed.

This memorization led to the purchase of one of Arista’s first acts signed to the fledgling label.  On one of those plastic discs.

The sound of the vinyl on my Krebstar (thanks Pete & Pete) HiFi was about the same as the FM broadcast, sans a few pops and clicks…  So I was elated to get my copy of the primary issue of I Robot on CD.  Then thirty years later an anniversary edition came out in 2007 with five bonus tracks, an unreleased track experiment that turned out to be the intro to the ‘rock’ structure of “I Robot”, three demos and a mash-up of examples or demos of each song into one, continuous song.

Well earlier this year, they came out with a thirty-fifth year anniversary version that has fourteen bonus tracks contained on a second CD, and an expanded booklet with new liner notes written by Parsons.  The above factoids about the album came from those liner notes.  These are worth the price of the disc alone.

Granted, some of the bonus tracks on the thirtieth anniversary edition are the same as on the thirty-fifth anniversary edition.  Those aforementioned five tracks, then some goodies we will discuss later on in the review.

Let me just say, if you need a reason to justify purchasing this new re-issue beyond new liner notes, (that is, for those of you who are not rabid Parsons fans) and nine new bonus features, in side-by-side comparisons in my usual review setting, the mastering on the new release was out of this world!!!  Then when you listen to the album tracks, astonishingly enough, they are cleaner than the thirtieth anniversary version!!!

The saying goes, ‘So clean you could eat off it’ but in this case, it is ‘So clean you can perform surgery on these tracks’.

Prepare the patient…

(more…)

CELEBRATING THE TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ALAN PARSONS LIVE ON TX2 CDS. GETTING OUR FILL OF SOMETHING WE THOUGHT MAY NEVER HAPPEN: ALAN PARSON LIVE!!!

April 15, 2013
Calling all Alan Parsons fans!  Find this disc, buy this disc!

Calling all Alan Parsons fans! Find this disc, buy this disc!

When I first heard The Alan Parsons Project, I was tuning into a classical music radio station to get my fill of relaxing music.  Little did I know, the station had changed formats and they were debuting the entire I Robot (at the time) LP.  Commercial breaks only from the end of side one to the beginning of side two.

When I first heard those sequenced synth sounds coming through my speakers, not only was I curious as to where my classical music had gone, but also I was very intrigued by what was coming through my speakers!  Ever since that day, I was hooked.  Then I started to hear more and more Alan Parsons songs on this station and others.  Then there were more tracks not only from the I Robot album, but new ones!

Now mind you, this was back in an era when there was no public internet and radio was still free.  So getting information on an artist was reduced to magazines, Creem, Rolling Stone, Circus, etc.  All these magazines stated unequivocally that The Alan Parsons Project was a studio project only.  Never to tour live.  Comprised of the best studio musicians and mates Parsons and long-time musical collaborator Eric Woolfson could muster.  Many of whom were already members of some of Europe’s greatest prog rock, pop and other genre groups.  David Paton of Pilot and Camel, Stuart Tosh of 10cc and also of Pilot, Ian Bairnson of (of all bands) The Bay City Rollers as well as being a sideman for Kate Bush, vocalists such as Lenny Zakatek and Allan Clarke, Dave Townsend and the list goes on and on.  Managing these people, their schedules and comprising a tour when the namesake of the band is one of the most sought after studio whiz-bangs in the industry and his cohort has little to no interest in going on the road (and has a rewarding career as a manager, songwriter and accidental vocalist) proved logistically impossible.  Until many years later…

(more…)

REMEMBERING TERRORIST ACTS? BURNING QURANS? FORGET ALL THAT AND HOP ON THE ALAN PARSONS HIT PARADE!

April 12, 2013
Alan Parsons Live Project.  Parsons (center) brings a crack squad of musicians to Lehigh University.  Photo by Lynn Vala

Alan Parsons Live Project. Parsons (center) brings a crack squad of musicians to Lehigh University. Photo by Lynn Vala


AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Another entry in our fabulous Friday Flashback series that revisits the posts that originally appeared on the syndication site  that became BouleBlog.  This time, we are setting up for the next new review which is the 2003 TX2 Records release of Alan Parsons Live!  Before we go there, why not take a few minutes and enjoy words and pictures about the September 11, 2010 appearance of the Alan Parsons Live Project at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center in the Baker Hall.  It was a magical night that took place in my back yard at the time.  I hope you enjoy this journey through revisionism…

Bethlehem PA – The man, the myth, the legend, Alan Parsons playing his ONLY east coast appearance (to date) fifteen minutes from my back door.  A dream come true, right?

As Sarah Palin might say, you betcha!  But I had no idea just how much of a dream come true it would be.

I am not going into Parson’s history, save to say you have heard his work.  You may not have heard his voice, or his playing unless you have purchased his recent rerelease remastered series of most of his catalog.  You HAVE heard his work BEHIND the recording console.  Need further proof?

Read on and be amazed…

(more…)

TODD RUNDGREN BRINGS HEALING PSYCHEDELIA TO THE KESWICK THEATER, 9-14-10

March 15, 2013

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is another entry in our Friday Flashback series which revives and gives a permanent home to blogs previously posted to the syndication websites.  Some have maintained these pages and I not only appreciate that, but will be drawing these historical posts from those sites.  This entry, featuring the Todd/Healing tour from Todd Rundgren is significant for two reasons:  First, this exact show has been released on two separate DVDs.  I would invite you to purchase those DVDs to compare what I saw to what is on those DVDs, but those DVDs are so meticulously edited, what is on the DVDs is NOT what we saw at the show.  The second reason is, in April of this year, Rundgren will release his first studio album of new material in almost five years (five years in September), State.  Here is the review of the original live performance, just be advised this is a consolidation of a two part review.  So grab a lovely beverage and find your most comfortable seat in the house, settle in and enjoy:

Rundgren welcomes you to his psychedelic world.  Photo by Lynn vala

Rundgren welcomes you to his psychedelic world. Photo by Lynn vala

Glenside PA – I will have to explain the two albums being played live by Rundgren and company at the Keswick Theater before we get into the review.  The first is the self titled album Todd.  It remains my favorite album by him to date.  Starting out with some backwards masking (sounds played backward) of a voice asking for a little fanfare, it maintains a non-stop adventure right to the protracted fade of the last track, recorded live with a chorus of audience members from both coasts and mixed together (long before digital signal stretching in Pro-Tools) in one track.

The second album is a collection of songs pertaining to the science (?) of psychic healing.  Side one of Healing deals with the voyage of one who is anointed with the power to heal, and the taxation of a greedy society, all clamoring for the healing touch.  Trivia time:  The bonus 7” vinyl that was included with the original 12” plastic waffle release was the single from the album called “Time Heals” and was the 7th original video aired on MTV’s broadcast debut.

There weren’t many videos to choose from then, and Rundgren and MTV are not the best of friends.  Read on for more dish…

(more…)


%d bloggers like this: