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Sally Oldfield - Mirrors:  The Bronze Anthology CD (album) cover


Sally Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.05 | 3 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Even though this compilation leans heavily on SALLY OLDFIELD's early and best work, it still suffers from two common problems with disks of its ilk, one avoidable and the other endemic. The track order is quasi-chronological but where it breaks with the sequence it does so poorly, with ill-advised edits. But then, even had these issues been circumvented, much of the strength of her first 3 albums lies in their lovingly assembled wholeness. Sure, some tracks were interchangeable from disk to disk but the swap needed to be just so, to fit Oldfield's masterfully cultivated mood. Still, perhaps I carry this rant farther than necessary, and it's just possible an inductee to her music would find this compilation more than captivating as a unit, so on to the selections.

Most of the highlights from Oldfield's first 3 studio albums can be found on this 2 disk set. In particular, her sole hit "Mirrors", the medley of the "Quendi", and the title track from her stunning debut "Water Bearer" are all here. "Sun in My Eyes", "Boulevard Song"(possibly her best single song), "You Set my Gipsy Blood Free", and "First Born of the Earth" all make the cut from "Easy". "Celebration" is well accounted for by the title cut, "Blue Water", "My Damsel Heart", and "Mandala". These songs showcase her warm plaintive delivery and her penchant for folk and progressive influenced pop with hypnotic pagan-styled accompaniment. In fact, these arrangements are probably the only point of similarity with brother Mike's much more intricate and elongated excursions. At least during this early period, she provided a non judgmental refuge from the onslaught of more street-tough, blue-collar rock artists who were rapidly taking over the charts and winning over our favourite DJs.

I would have enjoyed a couple more tracks from "Water Bearer", like "Night of the Hunter's Moon" which is a splendidly haunting earth centered paean, or the folksy "Child of Allah". Still, one can't have it all I suppose, but I cannot forgive the edits on the "Quendi" medley, in which several of the crucial buildups are slashed and robbed of much of their potency as bridges between the segments of the suite.

As far as her final two albums for the "Bronze" label, the ultimate moniker for a record company that sets its sights at the lower ranges of the charts, they are so hit and miss that I can hardly expect my personal favourites to appear. Still, the absence of "Path with a Heart" suggests a lack thereof among this double disk's selection committee.

"Mirrors" represents a more than representative introduction to Sally Oldfield's prime commercial and artistic successes, and, on reflection, might be all that is needed for the curious would-be fan.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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