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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 618 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I first heard this album in the very early 1980's, just after I had left school and started breaking away from all that conformity of education and family, etc, and just as I was starting to get serious about my own music. (I was a serious working musician for many years on guitar, voice, and composing/arranging across many genres, and this will probably influence my comments, hopefully in a positive way.

'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' blew my mind and I listened to it at least a hundred times over 2-3 years, and it was one of the main formative influences on my early musical tastes, along with music such as 'Tubular Bells', mid-period Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and Supertramp. All of the tracks on 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' appealed to me and I heard the album as a unified whole, rather than a collection of different tracks, and I always listened to the whole album from start to finish. I was especially taken by the literary influences, Arthur Brown's singing, some of the guitar work, the arranging, the engineering, and the use of choir. In a different way I was also very influenced by the extended orchestra based piece, 'The fall of the House of Usher', which greatly enhanced and expanded my understanding of what music, particularly orchestral music, could be. As a complete musical work in its own right, I think 'The fall of the House of Usher' deserves wider recognition, and I would recommend it to all serious music students as an example of interesting modern orchestral writing.

The only criticism I would make is that I am not very impressed by the 1987 re-mix. I only listened to the 1987 version 2-3 times, around 1995, and then gave it away. The Orson Welles narration is fine, but I didn't like the musical changes, particularly (if memory serves) the additional guitar solos. I think this is a good example of something that was an outstanding work in its original version, and which should have been left alone (apart from re-mastering for digital format, and maybe adding the OW narration). My advice is that, if possible, anyone who is seriously interested in this album should listen to the 1975 version first, and then the 1987 version later for comparison. However, my dissatisfaction with the 1987 version may just be because I was used to the 1975 version, and discovered it during a particularly formative and impressionable period of my musical and personal life.

I thought long and hard about whether it deserved four or five stars. However, even if strictly speaking it isn't prog rock, it is very close and is one of the best, and certainly most underrated albums ever released in rock music. I also think it has been a lot more influential than many realise or acknowledge. So I have decided to give this one a little extra and award the maximum score. Five stars from me!

| 5/5 |


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