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EXCALIBUR III: THE ORIGINS

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

Various Genres


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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Excalibur III: The Origins album cover
3.49 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Origins Pt.1(CÚcile Corbel,Martin Barre,Moya Brennan) (3:34)
2. Saman (Fairport Convention, Jeremy Spencer, John Helliwel, Les Holroyd, Mick Fleetwood) (3:35)
3. Tamlah (Cillian Vallely, Fairport Convention, Martin Barre, Pat O'May) (3:24)
4. Evil Day (Dun Aengus, Fairport Convention, John Helliwell, Pat O'May) (3:31)
5. Iron Age (Brankica Vasic, Cillian Vallely, Didier Lockwood, Jeremy Spencer, Les Tambours du Bronx, Lulendo, Okna Tsan Zam) (5:11)
6. Motherland (James Wood, Jimme O'Neill, Konan Mevel) (3:36)
7. Skye Kohann (Skilda) (3:13)
8. Beltaine (Cillian Vallely, Fairport Convention, John Helliwell) (2:44)
9. Incantations (CÚcile Corbel, Jacqui McShee, Moya Brennan) (3:41)
10. The Promise (Bruce Guthro, Fairport Convention, Konan Mevel) (3:50)
11. The Legend Of Oisin (Dun Aengus) (4:09)
12. The Origins Pt. 2 (CÚcile Corbel, Moya Brennan) (3:54)
13. Fame And Glory (Fairport Convention, Martin Barre) (3:19)
14. Fir Mhor (Dun Aengus, Martin Barre, Ric Sanders) (4:36)
15. Sacred Lands (Konan Mevel, Moya Brennan) (2:51)
16. Roma (CÚcile Corbel) (1:47)
17. The Lost Season (John Helliwell, John Wetton, Martin Barre) (4:00)
18. Dun Aengus (Martin Barre) (3:24)
19. The Wind Of Celtic Dream (Alan Simon) (3:16)

Lyrics

Search VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Excalibur III: The Origins lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

artists as above, no details on specific instrumentation/vocals readily available

Releases information

Celluloid

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Excalibur III: The Origins ratings distribution


3.49
(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (57%)
57%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Excalibur III: The Origins reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars This would appear to be a case of "Third time lucky". The final installment of the "Excalibur" trilogy masterminded by ALAN SIMON comes closest to a coherent musical concept in its own right, and not just a tribute to the versatility of world renowned prog and Celtic acts, although it is that too. This strikes me as an improvement not only on its immediate antecedents, but going back to the ambitious but naively flawed MANDALABAND "Eye of Wendor" epic of the late 1970s.

"The Origins" is the most star studded of the "Excalibur" series, with members of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, FLEETWOOD MAC, CLANNAD, THE SILENCERS, SUPERTRAMP, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, RUNRIG, JETHRO TULL and JOHN WETTON (I didn't know whom to put him with these days) all excelling in the delivery of superior compositions. The melodies of "Saman", "Evil Day", "Fame and Glory", "The Promise", and especially "Motherland" and "The Legend of Oisin" are more memorable and committed than we have come to expect. The instrumentals like "Tamlah" and "Iron Age" project the "take no prisoners" and the stately orchestral and choral visions respectively. But it is in "The Lost Season" as the end of the opus approaches that we are led to frame "Excalibur" as a rock opera/musical best communicated live. I know it has been performed, and that Mr Simon has written other theatrical pieces, but he seems to have cranked it up a notch here, and one can sense the immediacy even through layers of studio-level soundproofed insulation. Sure, one begins to wonder if Moya Brennan can sing above a whisper anymore since younger sister ENYA went multi multi platinum, and "Fir Mhor" is a dreadful hard rock misstep, but these voices don't really have the floor.

While it still helps to have a minor in Rock or Keltia, preferably both, to fully appreciate the treasures herein, and even "The Origins" cannot match the glory of the legends on which it is based, but it is certainly the prime portal to the Excalibur Trilogy.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Even more myths and legends of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table

The King Arthur legend must surely be one of the most common themes for conceptual albums in all of Rock. Two well-known examples from the world of Prog are Rick Wakeman's The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table from 1975 and (side one of) Kayak's Merlin from 1981 (which, in my opinion, is much better than the re-recorded, Bard Of The Unseen-version, from 2003). A lesser known recent attempt at putting the King Arthur legend to progressive music is Gary Hughes' Once And Future King parts 1 and 2 (featuring such stars as Damian Wilson, Lana Lane, Bob Catley, and Arjen Lucassen). One positively obscure, but good, example that I recently discovered is Mentaur's Darkness Before Dawn.

French Folk musician and songwriter Alan Simon, not content to make just one album celebrating the King Arthur legend, has made three of them! Before Ken Levine's nice reviews brought my attention to these albums, I was familiar with the Fairport Convention album Fame & Glory that became the result of that band's multiple contributions to Simon's Excalibur project between 1998 and 2008. For this particular installment of this ambitious multi-album project, Simon has enlisted a wide range of well-known (and some lesser known) Folk and Prog artists including (in addition to Fairport Convention), Martin Barre of Jethro Tull, Les Holroyd of Barclay James Harvest, John Heliwell of Supertramp, Jacqui McShee of The Pentangle, John Wetton of King Crimson and Asia fame, and several others. The music is an appealing amalgamation of (Celtic) Folk Rock, New-Age, Symphonic Rock, and a slight touch of straight-ahead Rock, performed on a plethora of Folk and Rock instruments (with occasional orchestral backdrops performed by the Budapest Symphonic Orchestra).

I normally don't like these kinds of Rock musical projects, but this one is rather successful. There is always the overhanging risk in these endeavors that it will end up sounding too bombastic and overblown, but this album stays mostly clear of unnecessary bombast. There are however a few brief parts where it does veer into dreary Film Music territory. But it is soon brought down to earth again with the folky ballads, rockers, and lovely Celtic jigs. Thankfully, there is almost none of that awful Broadway Musical feel that plagued Kayak's 2003 Merlin re-make and parts of Gary Hughes' otherwise successful Once And Future King duo. Overall, Excalibur III could have been better if Simon fired the symphonic orchestra and edited the album down a bit.

Still, an enjoyable album, recommended for Folk Rock fans and fans of conceptual multi-artist albums.

Side note: The cover art is confusingly similar to Tempest's masterpiece album Turn Of The Wheel. I guess it depicts the same artefact (the round one with the heads - a Celtic shield perhaps?).

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