Posts Tagged ‘Dave Townsend’

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…)


%d bloggers like this: