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The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn Of A Friendly Card CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

3.49 | 361 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Turn of a Friendly Card, a loose sort of concept about gambling, was released in 1980, sold well in America, and just about dented the top 40 chart in the UK. It was the follow up to Eve, an album not, it is fair to say, universally critically appreciated.

This is, really, an album of two sides, one appreciably better than the other.

The first side is basically a collection of well crafted, well performed, and well sung pop rock songs, of which the easy highlight is Time, with lovely vocals by the wonderful Eric Woolfson, which bears a passing resemblance to Floyd instrumentally, although only passing. Of the remainder, veteran Lenny Zakatek sings on two pleasant enough tracks, one of which, Games People Play, was a hit single, whilst Dave Terry, formerly of Elmer Gantry and the subject of a minor legal scandal when trying to tour as a bootleg Fleetwood Mac, pops up on the pleasant opener May Be A Price To Pay. Basically, pleasant enough pop rock, without being remotely essential.

This changes somewhat with side two. Opener, The Gold Bug is a clever instrumental, with very nice jazzy sax supporting.

The main tour de force, however, is the title track, presented here as an epic track lasting over sixteen minutes, but is, in reality, five distinct pieces of music welded (lovingly) into a single opus. It works on every level. The third movement, The Ace of Swords, is a magnificent synth led instrumental that fairly races along, whilst avoiding the disco led beats of some of the first side work. The suite also greatly benefits from the services of the two finest APP vocalists, Woolfson on the achingly beautiful Nothing Left To Lose, and, for the remainder, the wonderful Chris Rainbow, whose voice I fell in love with when I first heard APP all those years ago. This suite has all that was great about this project; wonderfully lush orchestration, thoughtful and intelligent lyrics, sung with genuine passion and feeling, and some wonderful rock passages, perhaps best seen here with Ian Bairnson's passionate guitar burst at the close of the fourth movement. The real highlight, though, are those vocals. They are to die for.

This is a difficult album to rate. It was, by no means, the worst that APP released, but neither was it the finest. The first side was really only okay, fun to visit every couple of years, or so. Side two, though; that was something really rather special, so three stars for this, a very worthy addition to the canon, and worth exploring if you enjoy melodic prog from one of the finest exponents of such music.

lazland | 3/5 |


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