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The Sallyangie - Children of the Sun CD (album) cover


The Sallyangie

Prog Folk

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Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars This album's been sitting around here unreviewed for a little while so I'm taking pity on it.

Mike in particular and his sister, Sally to a lesser extent, would go on to do greater things. Not a lot to say about this album. Sally was 22 and Mike was 15. The music was recorded in 1968 and released in 1969. Mike would of course go in a just a few years to make Tubular Bells and Sally didn't do a solo album until 1978's Water Bearer (worth checking out if you're a Mike and/or Sally Oldfield fan).

Song Of The Healer would be reused by Sally on Water Bearer and is probably the proggiest track on the original album. The bonus disc in my CD version has three guitar improvisations, about 15 minutes worth altogether, from Mike, you might hear some formative Tubular Bells bits. The bonus disc wraps up with a couple of tracks by Sally from 1970 that are a little saccharine, but not unpleasant. Also of interest, David Palmer, I think the D.P. of Tull fame is credited with musical arrangements for two violins, viola, cello, and harpsichord for two tracks on the original album.

In the end I find it more interesting as a historical document. The music's not bad but this is one I'd probably have passed on it if I had heard it first.

Report this review (#207657)
Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars As you can see in the bio, this work was mainly due to Pentangle's guitarist John Renbourn who decided to produce two skilled teen-agers and gave them the support of Jethro Tull's David Palmer and Pentangle's drummer Terry Cox. The result was an acoustic-guitar based folk album with some (pretentious) experimental moments that can be forgiven because of the youthness of the duo.

The duo was composed by Mike and Sally Oldfield and I have to say that I always thought the B side was the A side and vice versa, as Transatlantic was used to print the disc information on one side only of the vinyl, so I discover now that Balloons, my favourite album's track, is not the opening.

Almost all the songs contain flute arrangements (Ray Warleigh). Without it, the two guitars and Sally's leading and Mike's background vocals would have been too "flat".

The Bach's excert from "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" is remarkable at the end of "Balloons". Some short tracks obtained by "torturing" the guitar's strings could have been avoided but they are very short so it's not a big problem.

I think this album is mainly important as document, but it contains good moments. Don't think to this as a Mike or Sally Oldfield's album. It's an interesting and promising work of two teens and this is haw it has to be intended.

Good but non-essential fits well. For Mike Oldfield's fans, this is one of the few opportunities to hear Mike singing.

Report this review (#285826)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Bearing in mind that Mike Oldfield was a mere shy kid of 16 when this album was made there is much to recommend this latest reissue on Esoteric. Yes, it would never be made today, and yes it is somewhat twee, but for students of the English folk explosion of the late 60's, it has a certain period charm. Mike and older sister Sally (the second half of the band name coming from Jansch's guitar classic `Angie') found themselves at the legendary Sound Techniques studio in the company of Pentangle's Terry Cox and flute veteran Ray Warleigh. The original album consists of sixteen short songs sung by both Mike and Sally (I personally had to check the credits to find out that the male voice was in fact Mike Oldfield) and the over-riding influence would appear to be the work of The Incredible String Band seen through younger eyes, without perhaps the acid influences. Cox and Warleigh add a certain authority to proceedings, and whilst the Oldfields appear to have disowned the album it is not without merit.

Of major interest is a 35 minute bonus disc which features a couple of non album singles and perhaps most importantly, a trio of acoustic guitar instrumentals from Mike Oldfield recorded at Sound Techniques during the sessions. These display astonishingly well developed guitar playing for a 16 year old, and a most unexpected surprise in the form of `A Sad Song For Rosie', which would later be re-worked as the `Northumbrian Pipes' section of Oldfield's masterwork `Ommadawn'.

The main album has not exactly dated well, but for Oldfield scholars this reissue should not be dismissed. In an interview around about the time of `Incantations', Oldfield spoke of the long guitar instrumentals he used to write, and now we finally have the chance to hear them for ourselves for the first time.

Report this review (#540594)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While this sole collaboration between older sister and younger brother OLDFIELD under the name of SALLYANGIE is at least of historic value, there is little evidence to suggest that it catapulted their solo careers. In Mike's case, his enthusiasm for "Opus 1" aka "Tubular Bells" motivated him to make the rounds of record company execs a few years later, but, if his participation in "Children of the Sun" had any impact, it appears to have closed more doors than it opened. As for Sally, it was Mike's own success that may have been the single most significant catalyst, though she held off until 1978 before releasing her first record.

With Sally being the elder by 7 years and the principal vocalist, this fledgling disk more closely resembles her later solo work than the more intricate instrumental excursions of Mike. Still, his furiously strummed acoustic guitars portend a virtuoso in the making, while his inevitably child like backing vocals contribute to a naivete of spirit. The flutes of Ray Warleigh and the string arrangements of JETHRO TULL's Dave Palmer play second fiddle to the jangly guitars while further sweetening the mixture. Apart from the female lead vocals, this can stand side by side with other artists of its time like NICK DRAKE, INCREDIBLE STRING BAND and FRESH MAGGOTS. Most tracks are relatively brief and have a not entirely finished air to them,

While none of the pieces have pierced the passage of time to become overlooked classics, the quality is uniformly sound, with "Balloons" and "The Murder of the Children of San Francisco" being favorites. While "Song of the Healer" is the only track to resurface more or less unaltered in Sally's discography (although it does not appear to have been on the original vinyl), "River Song" appears to be cut from the same cloth. Both of these are among the more progressive offerings here.

More recent reissues include bonus tracks, three of which are instrumentals by Mike, little more than expansion of exercises without sister's cooing on top, and 2 songs by Sally, which are more dramatically divergent from the mood of the original release. In fact they are very catchy and slick romantic numbers closer to the works of PETULA CLARK than anything Sally explored at least in the first and best known 5 years of her solo career. I admit I enjoy the contrast after almost an hour of ponderous psychedelia.

As pleasant as this is overall, and as much as I wish I could say that it's worth hearing on its own merits, I must conclude that, considered in the context of its time, this is distinctly average, but it gains a half star for historical credibility rather than sunny precociousness.

Report this review (#1948529)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars THE SALLYANGIE may have been a short-lived Prog-Folk duo, but both members went on to have long and distinguished solo careers, because they were none other than sister and brother duo Sally and Mike Oldfield! The SallyAngie recorded their one and only hippyish Folk album "Children of the Sun" in 1968. It would be another five years before Mike Oldfield stunned the world with his landmark "Tubular Bells" (1973) album. Sally Oldfield launched her long solo career as a Folk singer five years after brother Mike with the release of her "Water Bearer" album in 1978. The Oldfields were a very musical family - their brother Terry Oldfield was also a multi-talented musician who appeared on Mike Oldfield's "Hergest Ridge" (1974), "Ommadawn" (1975) and "Incantations" (1978) albums. Terry Oldfield also went on to establish a long solo career, specialising in his own particular brand of New Age World music. And so, it's time to travel back over half a century in time now to the late 1960's for Mike Oldfield and sister Sally's unique Prog-Folk offering, "Children of the Sun". The 2002 CD re- issue included a bonus disc, adding eight songs to the original fourteen songs on the album.

Right from the opening few bars of "Strangers", we're in very familiar territory with the honey-sweet demure vocals of Sally Oldfield. She's best-known for the song "Mirrors" from her first "Water Bearer" album in 1978. Sally performed the song on Top of the Pops and the single reached #19 in the U.K charts, although the hippyish Sally Oldfield would be the last person to regard herself as a Pop star. One of the most surprising things about The SallyAngie album is hearing Mike Oldfield singing for the first time, when he's not normally noted for his vocal abilities, although he sounds in remarkably fine voice on this endearing Folk album, admirably accompanying his sister Sally in a duet. Mike Oldfield also provides accompaniment on acoustic guitar (obviously!) and there's the sound of a flautist to be heard too on this brief but charming 70-second-long opening introduction to the album. "Strangers" sounds more like two familiar old friends. We're off to meet "Lady Mary" next, a saccharine-sweet Folk song with some lovely harmonies and rich orchestration. Mike Oldfield even takes the vocal lead for a brief time on this song. There's no inkling of the masterpiece to come in five years time, when Tubular Bells was still a twinkling in Mike Oldfield's eye at this early stage in his career. The music on this charming Folk album so far sounds as delicately exquisite as a warm gentle breeze. And now we come to the title track and one of the longest songs on the album at five minutes long: "Children of the Sun". The song opens with a spoken introduction from Sally Oldfield before brother Mike joins in for a duet. This song sounds like the kind of pleasant pastoral Folk number that Peter, Paul & Mary or The Seekers might have recorded back in their heyday. The song certainly has commercial potential, had it ever been released as a single, although a warm and tender Folk melody probably wouldn't have stood much of a chance in the charts when they would have been up against some of the mighty giants of late-1960's Pop/Rock such as The Beatles. The fourth song "A Lover for All Seasons" continues in similar vein with another acoustic guitar and vocal duet, so there are no real surprises in store here. Although The SallyAngie are billed as Prog-Folk, you won't find many proggy elements here, as this is more of a traditional pastoral Folk album, but that's no bad thing as the gentle music contained within is very pleasing on the ears. The SallyAngie features a percussionist, although he's so low-key that you hardly even notice he's there. You certainly won't hear any pounding drums on this album. There's no sign of Mike Oldfield's trademark electric guitar sound to be heard either on this totally acoustic album, but it's still turning out to be a very agreeable Folk album judged on its own merits. Next up is the "River Song" which has a macabre sting in its tail, because despite the pleasant melody and the dulcet tones of sweet- voiced Sally, the lyrics reveal a shocking tale of a brutal murder, so there are no happy endings here. The frightful lyrics to this song bring to mind the classic Neil Young song "Down by the River", which also involves a murder. We'd better not delve too deeply into the horrifying lyrics of "River Song", so we'll move swiftly on to the next song, which is: "Banquet on the Water". We're on much safer ground here as this lovely song is all about going for a pleasant stroll along the river and stopping for a picnic with a romantic partner for company.

Side Two opens with "Balloons", the longest song on the album at five and a half minutes long. The song begins as a very twee- sounding lullaby that sounds so light and delicate, you feel it might get blown away like a balloon by the slightest of breezes, but don't let that put you off, because it's really a great song once you get past the first minute or so. This song comes the closest to Psych-Folk of any of the songs so far on the album. Not that you'll hear any psychedelic fuzz guitars, but the music is a hauntingly-beautiful Folk refrain, featuring some eerie-sounding harmonising and witchy chanting in the style of Comus, although nowhere near as creepy as those witchfinder generals of Psych-Folk. "Balloons" is a helium-filled uplifting highlight of the album. We're travelling right back in time to the world of Shakespeare now for "Midsummer Night's Happening". This fluty duet sounds like a typical Elizabethan madrigal that you might hear accompanying a medieval banquet, so watch out for those flying chicken bones and glasses being thrown into the hearth fire with gusto and gay abandon! Yes, this is definitely minstrels in the gallery music, so you'll know exactly what to expect here with this merry-making music. The intriguingly-titled "Love in Ice Crystals" conjures up a frosty image of some romantic brief encounter at the South Pole, which is not that far from the truth, as the lyrics are about making love on a rug in front of the warm comfort of a blazing fire when it's freezing cold and snowing outside. Listen out for the soaring echoey vocals on this song, the like of which you may never have heard before. They're really quite incredible! Side Two of this lovely album is so far turning out to be even better than Side One. The next piece of music "Changing Colours" is a brief prelude, featuring some offbeat twangy guitar strings where Mike Oldfield sounds like he's tuning his guitar up, so we'll leave him there and move on to the next song which is the aptly- titled "Chameleon", which follows on nicely from "Changing Colours". The enchantingly mystical lyrics to this haunting refrain deserve a special mention here:- "The king of Orion brings, The jewels from his belt and his sword, The emeralds shine through the trees, To dance upon the high forest lord, I am to you as I am to me, I am a star in a deep blue sea, I am the queen of a million queens, I am a ripple on a crystal stream, The three kings from the east bring gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh." ..... It's a complex tune in which Mike Oldfield cleverly sings in counter-point to Sally Oldfield, bringing a whole extra dimension to this engaging piece of music. The next brief 30-second-long acoustic instrumental "Milk Bottle" sounds just like a "born on the bayou" twangy country steel guitar, which it probably is! This leads us into the penultimate Psych-Folk song on the album, the ominously-titled "The Murder of the Children of San Francisco". Mike Oldfield's semi-whispered vocals sound quite sinister on this song, giving the song an ethereal other-worldly haunting atmosphere, which makes a stark contrast to Sally Oldfield's traditional sweet-voiced Folky tones. This is another album highlight in what is turning out to be quite an extraordinary album, featuring mainly traditional Folk songs on Side One, spiced up with some spookier off-kilter Psych-Folk tunes on Side Two. We're entering a twilight zone world now, as It's time to bed the album down for the night with the 14th and final song and what better way than with the "Twilight Song", a delightful Folk melody where Sally Oldfield's gorgeous dulcet tones carry you away blissfully to a land of sweet dreams and peaceful slumbers.

Mike Oldfield and sister Sally have come up with a very pleasant album of gentle pastoral Folk in their first musical outing together. It's not going to take the progosphere by storm, but it makes a pleasurable diversion to while away a warm summer's afternoon when we can all be transported back in time to the late 1960's and be "Children of the Sun" all over again. That's the theory anyway. If music be the food of love, then let Mike & Sally Oldfield play on forever!

Report this review (#2338543)
Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | Review Permalink

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