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David Bedford

Crossover Prog

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David Bedford The Rime of the Ancient Mariner album cover
3.11 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part I (20:32)
2. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part II (20:38)

Total Time 41:10

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bedford / grand piano, Lowrie organ, Challenger GEM organ, church organ, piano strings, recorders, chime bars, winebottlephone, Glorfindel sound machine, flute, violin, cymbals, gong
- Mike Oldfield / guitar
- Diana Coulson / vocals
- Lucy Blackburn / vocals
- Classes 2 and 3 from Queen's College / choir
- Robert Powell / narrator

Releases information

Virgin Records

Thanks to paulindigo for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DAVID BEDFORD The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

DAVID BEDFORD The Rime of the Ancient Mariner reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Narrated by Robert Powell this work was released by Virgin Records in 1975. Great album sleeve with a noteworthy credit being Mike Oldfield assisting on guitars. The album itself comprises of two parts, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner 1 & 2. Oldfield's association with David Bedford went back to The Kevin Ayers and the Whole World band. While Oldfield was flexing his creative muscle and getting frustrated within the confines of that band he confided more and more with David Bedford and struck up a strong rapport with the keyboard player that lasted long after 1975.

This is an unusual album, typical of a Virgin release for the mid 70's in that it allowed the artists to express freely their creative juices. Part one for me is the least accessible with long passages of of frenetic discord with some elements of calm. Remember David Bedford was depicting the mood around the Rime, doldrums, ghosts etc. all interspersed by Powell's narrative. Part two seems to lift up both in mood and in creative output not least some excellent guitar work from Mike Oldfield. The Queens College Choir lend some pleasant vocal backdrops too. It is a strong work perhaps indicating that composer and keyboardist Bedford was thoroughly enjoying these experimental days. He did though have stronger studio output than this.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars The least we can say is that Bedford's "rock adventures" with the Ayers & Oldfield crowd are certainly not representative of his own solo works, as his NSWE and Star's End albums have shown us so far. To be honest, his orchestral re-working of Olfield's Tubular Bells (a major commercial success) is no less representative of it either, and it's certainly not the present ambitious project of an adaptation of the famous poem from Samuel Taylor Coleridge (into two movements, one aside), which gives its name to the present album. With Bedford playing most of the instruments himself, save Oldfield's guitar parts and the vocals (narration and others), this album is slightly easier of access to more mainstream progheads, but still dissonant enough to discourage many of them, although the discordant tone or dissonances are not very pronounced, compared to his previous works. A vry XIXth Century graving artwork graves the album's sleeve, the whole thing released on Branson's Virgin label.

The opening movement is the more difficult half of David's adaptation, often bordering on the discordant and dissonant, with many keyboards interlocking and/or clashing, and Oldfield's strident guitar twitches adding a certain kind of eeriness to the ghostly ambiance. The narration goes on through the album no matter how the gentle or dissonant the musical backdrop is, and even gets magnified by the dramatic dynamics around the second third of the movement, adding a bit more speed to a generally very slow album. The closing movement starts on a few verses before entering a slow church-organ-lead, later joined by Oldfield's gentle guitar and later a female choir taking things ever so gently on the grandiose and lyrical side (despite a certain amount of cheesiness), despite keeping a slightly-dissonant feel throughout most of the movement.

I believe that Bedford's adaptation of Oldfield's TB album attracted him a lot f attention and that, as a result, this album sold lots more than it would've normally, but I'm not sure many mainstream music buffs appreciated it to its just value. Those who actually like narration albums, like Wakeman's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, might actually love this album, and if not nearly as cheesy as the latter, it's definitely more challenging because of the light dissonance.

Latest members reviews

1 stars What a mess. This album sounds like a recording of someone trying to pretend to be able to play the piano with no musical knowledge. The record starts off with promising organ chords, but then something goes wrong. You hear a bunch of unrelated piano parts on top of each other with notes interfer ... (read more)

Report this review (#2960726) | Posted by Hrychu | Thursday, October 12, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If one thinks of sequences of albums on Virgin Records in the 1970s, which artistes spring to mind? Mike Oldfield, obviously. Gong, natch. Tangerine Dream, most definitely. Henry Cow? Hatfield and the North? Steve Hillage? Maybe even Ivor Cutler. My older sister's boyfriend (twelve years senior ... (read more)

Report this review (#2543202) | Posted by trout.phosphor | Sunday, May 16, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an album that shows Bedford on middle ground, so to speak; not as hardcore avantgardistic as some of his recordings but not as accessible and prog-compatible as others. It still leans more towards the avantgarde side than to any form of prog save the most experimental though. Mike Oldfiel ... (read more)

Report this review (#184069) | Posted by splyu | Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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