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SALLY OLDFIELD

Crossover Prog • Ireland


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Sally Oldfield biography
Sally Oldfield was born 8th March 1947 in Ireland. Musically she has been active since 1968, first forming the folk duo The Sallyangie with famous brother Mike Oldfield and releasing just one album.

In 1978 Sally Oldfield released her first debut album Water Bearer and became a cult favourite combining lots of vocal harmonies, classical and poetic influences, not to mention some pop charcteristics too. Most notably the single Mirrors was released off this album. She has released 15 albums since 1978 including live releases her last being Cantadora in 2009. Oldfield has always been devoted to the mythical and spiritual side hence this influences a vast majority of her works. In 1984 she relocated to Germany as she had a large following in Europe and also subsequent to the demise of her current label at the time, Bronze Records.

She has collaborated with numerous other musicians, most notably Steve Hackett on ' Voyage of The Acolyte and Mike Oldfield's various albums as well as Terry Oldfield.

Her music has all the ingredients of Crossover and is further enhanced by her many conceptual works released since 1978.You will find elements of complexity of folk, pop and just plain progressive soundscapes.

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Water BearerWater Bearer
Import
Msi Duplicate Numbers 1999
Audio CD$66.40
$19.98 (used)
Water BearerWater Bearer
Import · Remastered
Bronze 2004
Audio CD$74.73 (used)
Easy / CelebrationEasy / Celebration
Import
Cherry Red UK 2011
Audio CD$32.26
$12.99 (used)
Flaming StarFlaming Star
Eagle Music Group 2001
Audio CD$5.98
$0.01 (used)
CelebrationCelebration
Import
Castle Music UK 1992
Audio CD$39.90
$25.24 (used)
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SALLY OLDFIELD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SALLY OLDFIELD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 21 ratings
Water Bearer
1978
3.50 | 6 ratings
Easy
1979
3.80 | 6 ratings
Celebration
1980
3.00 | 5 ratings
Playing In The Flame
1981
2.92 | 5 ratings
Strange Day In Berlin
1983
1.95 | 3 ratings
Femme
1987
2.17 | 4 ratings
Instincts
1988
4.91 | 2 ratings
Natasha
1990
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Flame
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
Three Rings
1994
4.00 | 2 ratings
Secret Songs
1996
2.50 | 2 ratings
Silver Dagger
1997
3.91 | 6 ratings
Flaming Star
2001
2.50 | 2 ratings
Cantadora
2009

SALLY OLDFIELD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
In Concert
1982

SALLY OLDFIELD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SALLY OLDFIELD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sun In My Eyes
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Mirrors: The Bronze Anthology
2001

SALLY OLDFIELD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SALLY OLDFIELD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Water Bearer by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.82 | 21 ratings

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Water Bearer
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by dsbenson

4 stars Water Bearer is Sally Oldfield's first album. It's a very nice listen, and fits well into the woodsy style of the vocal work she was doing in the same era with her brother Mike and with Steve Hackett.

The songs are very lyrical and not very complex. I'd actually put this in the "New Age" category with a subcategory of Crossover Prog: I think of this album in the same way that I think of Enya's music. Ethereal, very pretty. Not a lot of "prog" substance here, but it's quite nice.

A while back, I though I'd revisit Sally Oldfield and listen to the rest of her catalog. Unfortunately, my experience seems to mirror that of others' on this site, judging by the quick falloff in the number of ratings after Water Bearer. Her voice, which sounds light and ethereal on this recording, gets old very quickly on every subsequent release, especially when she lowers her register and starts to imitate Kate Bush?unsuccessfully.

However, on Water Bearer she's singing much higher in her range, which works for her well. It's too bad Sally Oldfield started relying on so much fast vibrato on later recordings, as if she and her brother were imitating each other's style: her with vocal vibrato, and Mike Oldfield with lead guitar vibrato. In Mike's playing, it works for me. In Sally Oldfield's singing, it does not.

However, here on Water Bearer she's allowing herself to sing a lot of clear notes in a high register, which gives her a very pure and listenable tone.

Musically she seems to be influenced a lot here by her brother's ostinato repeating patterns as well, which gives the music a very familiar quality that helps. I think that's why this album is the one people gravitate to. On later albums, the songwriting seems a lot weaker and closer to pop. Unfortunately, Sally Oldfield didn't have the songwriting, singing or musical style to fit into a pop idiom.

Bottom line: stick with Water Bearer, and enjoy. But beware: some recent remastered releases chopped the album down from around 45 minutes to well under 40, for some reason I cannot fathom. Avoid those like the plague. The sonic improvements from the remastering (which are present, but aren't huge) are not worth sacrificing half or more of several of the songs.

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 Natasha by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.91 | 2 ratings

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Natasha
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by snelling

5 stars 'Natasha' is a beautiful album, close to her best, partly due to the fact that she wrote all of the songs (on her previous album 'Instincts', the three that she wrote were far and away the standouts-the rest was fairly mediocre). The passionate 'Break Through the Rock' begins the album very well, with powerful drumming and emotional vocals, along with her unique songwriting, setting the bar high for the rest of the album, which delivers very nicely. 'Clear Light' which blends into 'My Drumbeat Heart', reminds me of the 'Water Bearer' album, an album many consider her finest, and 'Song of the Mountain' recalls a theme from that album's title track. But it's 'In The Presence of the Spring' that brought tears to my eyes. The lovely chorus is among the very finest things that she has done. 4 and a half stars for this gem.

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 Flaming Star by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.91 | 6 ratings

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Flaming Star
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars What an unnoticed artist she is! Totally in the shadow of his brother Mike, as is their brother Terry too (the most New Age artist of them). To many of us Sally's angelic voice is heard on Steve Hackett's debut album, in the song 'Shadow Of Hierophant'. I had actually heard only one song ('Mirrors') from her solo output before this album. So I can't evaluate it against other albums, but its goodness made me think that she'd deserve much wider recognition (at least here in Finland her albums are hard to find).

This music is dream pop, electronica, Chill Out, trance, and of course some New Age with Celtic flavour too. It is programmed but the music doesn't become too sterile or mechanic at all. The production is nearly excellent. On many songs Sally weaves a shamanistic atmosphere; some sort of cosmic incantations indeed. All tracks work pretty well, but especially 'Samurai Of The Sun' is hypnotic. Sally's singing is used more like an instrument than as a vehicle for lyrics which are sparse.

13-minute version of 'Mirrors' is a bit too jamming and repetitive for my taste. It makes me think of the foolish 12" maxi-single extended versions (do such still exist?). But the album is very enjoyable if the mentioned styles interest you.

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 Water Bearer by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.82 | 21 ratings

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Water Bearer
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An album that isn't particularly complex musically, but is very rich.

Sort of proto new age. But some things that can fit under that umbrella aren't the same. I get the feeling that Sally was on a bit of progressive rush after her part in Voyage Of The Apocalypse. This is a drastic improvement over The Sallyangie. There is still a quaintness to the music and yet a sophistication to it. Very much a Sally project as she does many of the instruments as well as the vocals.

Mike may have been the proggier sibling, but Sally really shines on this. And Mike's influence is apparent even though he's not here. She does have a little Flowers.

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 Water Bearer by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.82 | 21 ratings

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Water Bearer
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Middle Earth music

Sally Oldfield began her career with brother Mike in a duet call The Sallyangie back in the 60s. Her first solo work "Water Bearer" was recorded in the spring of 1978 at the Roundhouse and at Chipping Norton Studios. It was her most progressive work in a long career that veered much more into mainstream music, though I've heard "Celebration" has nice moments as well. Oldfield is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist just like her brother and this album was completely written, arranged, and produced by her.

This highly sophisticated vocal showcase is just so impressive. Impeccable arrangements and many layers of beautifully played instrumental accompaniments grace each track. There are lots of hand percussions and exotic sounding instruments. The sound quality is crisp and clear, one reviewer I read noted her album had better sound than brother Mike's work from this period. The songs features Oldfield's beautiful "Annie Haslam-like" voice as the material delves straight into the fantasy worlds inspired by Tolkien. Truly this music is the soundtrack for your next Elven get-together at Rivendell. It can get a bit repetitive and a bit cheesy to be frank, but mostly it should please fans of prog-folk or crossover.

I enjoy "Water Bearer" on occasion and while quite pleasant and technically top-notch, I don't feel it is the important progressive work that many others do. 3 stars.

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 Instincts by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.17 | 4 ratings

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Instincts
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 2.5 stars, really. After the rather electronic Femme, Sally Oldfield releases Instincts in the following year. This album seems to mark a slightly return to her former sound. Ok, it is still mainly pop stuff with folk structures, but it is also less techno and more organic music: some of her trademark percussion and acoustic guitars are back . It is also more varied with even a little pop/jazz tune as a novelty (Ice On Fire). Although no song here has anything as strong as Silver Dagger or Andromeda Rising, I liked the inclusion of more straight celtic folk tunes like Olanders. Her duet with Justin Hayward (Moody Blues) on Let It Begin did not work, though.

All in all Instincts looks to me like a transitional album with elements from much of all she has done since her solo career started ten years before. Her beautiful, soothing voice is still intact. The arrangements are tasteful and creative, never falling into those annoying 80´s cliches. Production is very good. The song selection may not be great but is still above average. If you enjoy the more commercial side of bands like Clannad, this CD is recommended. If PA was a pop rock site this album would surely get a higher rating. But since there is almost no prog in here this is clearly for fans and collectors.

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 Femme by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1987
1.95 | 3 ratings

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Femme
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sally Oldfield has a long and prolific career since her start in 1978. So many CDs have been released since then that is hard to keep track of her musical trail over the years. Femme was recorded in 1987 and clearly shows that she kind of fell into the 80´s techno pop trap, like so many other 70´s acts, prog or not. The album is filled with those synths sounds and programmed drum machines of the time. So if you´re looking for the traces of her original mostly acoustic work, forget it.

Having said that, I must also say that not everything is lost here. I was surprised by the high quality of some the songs on Femme. At least two tracks, the opener Silver Dagger and the haunting Andromeda Rising, are great tunes with folkish structures and storytelling lyrics (think of Mike Oldfield´s Moonlight Shadow). Besides, her beautiful voice is still intact and she is capable of making even the most standard love song sound fresh and anew. Although that some struff in this CD is weak, none is really crap. Good pop songs that could have been hits. Somehow the musical market missed this opportunity to grace the charts with such outstanding singer.

Conclusion: if you´re a fan of Sally Oldfield, I still think it´s worth to check this out. She is still a great vocalist and her repertoire is not as bad as others have done at the same period. If you like pop music with some interesting folk influences you´ll probably like it. Rating: something between 2 and 2,5 stars.

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 Easy by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.50 | 6 ratings

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Easy
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sally Oldfield second album came only an year after her stunning debut. Sophmore albums are always something of a challenge for the artist, since the famous motto say: you have all your life to write your first record, but only six months to come up with the second. Worse still if the debut was a big success and you have the extra pressure to bring out something of the same caliber or superior. I guess the fact that the single Mirrors (from her debut) was an international hit only made things harder. Too much too soon?

Even 30 years after its release Easy sounds like a bunch of leftovers from Water Bearer. Compared to it, the songs seem weaker and the arrangements a little more conventional. Not that it doesn´t have some really great songs, like the opener Sun In My Eyes, a truly magnificent love hymn in all its glorious simplicity. Sons of The Free is another powerful tune that has all the right elements to make a classic: great hook, very inspired chorus, tasteful arrangement and a great perfomance of all involved, specially Sally herself usign her trademark multi tracked vocals for terrific effect. Hide & Seek is a highlight too, with its folkish atmosphere and reminding me of her brother Mike´s best works.

The remaining tracks unfortunatly are not par to those three and the placement of boring tunes like Answering Me at the beginning of the CD, leaving the strongest cuts at the end of side B of the original vinyl certainly didn´t help matters. Maybe things could be better if she had a little more time to work out her repertoire before entering the studio. But considering her inexperience as a solo artist and the pressures to follow the success of Mirrors, I think she did a quite good job in such short period.

Conclusion: sitll very good efford by this talented artist. 3,5 stars.

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 Water Bearer by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.82 | 21 ratings

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Water Bearer
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was quite surprised to find Sally Oldfield here in PA. And much more when I had the chance to listen to her debut album Waterbearer. I used to think of Sally as the sister of her more famous brother Mike. Yes, like most people who were alive on earth in the late 70´s I had heard her biggest (and only) hit single Mirrors. As much as I liked this song, I never felt really moved enough to actually go and get the CD. Maybe I was afraid of another big, prog related, disappointment like so many I had at the time.

So I was glad to see what a big surprise this work turned out to be when I finally gave it a shot so many years after it was released. Her music was a (then) very original mixture of celtic folk, ambient and what became to be known as ethinic or world music. In other words, she was at least some ten years ahead of her time. Small wonder it was so hard to label her work (and market it). No one had come up with the new age label at that period yet. If Waterbearer was released in the late 80´s or early 90´s she would probably enjoy a much better midia exposure and maybe commercial success like Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, etc.

There is a lot of Mike Oldfield´s music influence here, but she already had proved she had a sound of her own. I loved the clever use of percussion, acoustic instruments and synthesizers. Her multi tracked vocals are another great feature: Sally Oldfield has a real beautiful voice and she knows how to use it to maximum effect. Add some fine songwriting skills, excellent production and tasteful arrangements and, voilá!, a remarkable album was born in a time when most things progressive were going downhill. Fast!

Conclusion: maybe today her music does not sound as groundbreaking as it might had been in 1978, due to so many imitators that came after it. But it did stand well the test of time after all these years, it still feels fresh and exciting. if you like bands like Renaissance or Fairport Convention, then this is a must have. Waterbearer, to my delight, proved to be much stronger than just a bunch Mirrors look alike tunes. Rating: 4,5 stars.

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 Strange Day In Berlin by OLDFIELD, SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.92 | 5 ratings

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Strange Day In Berlin
Sally Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars My vinyl copy of this 1983 release, and Oldfield's last for Bronze records, has a totally different track order and a slightly different list, with "There's a Miracle Going on" replacing "This Could be a Lover". Here Sally has eschewed her folktastic past for a more electronic very mid 80s approach. Mystical lyrics are still the order of the day but they speak more of alienation and lost innocence. It's an odd comparison but I remember hearing a McGarrigle sisters album that sounded similar, a jarring reminder how even folk artists can be swept off their feet by technology.

Dispensing with the initial sick feeling, adding in a decade and a half or so of healing, and acknowledging the irreversible nature of changes set in motion on "Celebration" and confirmed by "Playing in the Flame", I have to admit that this is a pretty credible transformation. Particularly the visceral "Path with a Heart" and the so spacey "Million Light Years..." show that Oldfield could still muster a convincing composition and arrangement. It's true that "Meet me in Verona", the title track, and "She Talks Like a Lady" are nadirs of sorts, bland atonal exercises in bad girl persona that never worked for Sally, but both "Never New Love Could Get so Strong" and "There's a Miracle Going On" are partially redemptive, the former's electric piano and other synths complementing her deliberate vocal phrasings. It should appeal to Kate Bush fans or those who wish Ms Bush was a little less weird and a little more wholesome.

This is where my look at Sally Oldfield ends for the foreseeable future. I know little of her subsequent career but look forward to catching up at some point. it would have been nice if she had at least attained more critical favour for her adventurousness and influence on the likes of ENYA and LORRENA MCKENNITT in the decades to follow. But such recognition is hardly germane to an appreciation of this talented artist.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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