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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover

HERGEST RIDGE

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.93 | 396 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars My favorite MIKE OLDFIELD album that I happened to pick up for a dollar in a cut-out bin in the late 70s. Tubular Bells was amazing--like the Peter and the Wolf album for young people that used DAVID BOWIE for the story narration--but it seemed to garner much of its attention on the coattails of the William Friedkin film, The Exorcist. We were really unsure how much was 'hype' and association and how much of it was really critically worthy on its own merits. The quiet, under the radar Hergest Ridge (which refers to a very real geographic location that I climbed while hiking Offa's Dyke on the Welsh border) is a much more cohesive, beautiful piece of music than "Bells," and far less pretentious and show-off-y piece than Ommadawn. Plus, it has one of my favorite melody themes of all-time--the side 2 beginning 2 1/2 minute acoustic guitar piece--which is, thankfully, repeated at the end. Yes, the "loud" bass/organ section on side two does drag on a bit, and Side 1 doesn't grab one as deeply as Side 2, but the peaceful pastoral beauty is such an enjoyable 'break' from so much of the other frenetic music (and world) happening at the same time--or at any time. Between side 2 of Dark Side of the Moon and Hergest Ridge it's no wonder I was so ready for ENO's "Science," "Discreet," and "Ambient" albums.

DAVID BEDFORD is a genius.

If this were longer I'd give it five stars. 4.5 stars.

P.S. I have now become familiar with Oldfield's 1979 re-master of Hergest Ridge and, while at first resisted the added vocals, I have now become comfortable with them and understand and appreciate the more 'complete' feeling Mike must have had once he'd remastered it. I had no knowledge of the pressure and rush he was under when first composing and recording the follow up to Tubular Bells. It is even more remarkable, then, that this came out such a pastoral, medieval folkish masterpiece. Bump this sucker up to 5 stars! It is a masterpiece!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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