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The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn Of A Friendly Card CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

3.51 | 404 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars There are two big reasons that this "group" is listed on this site. The first is the enduring, impressive strength of their eye- opening debut LP in 1976 and the second is the fact that they were the first exposure for many young proggers to the genre and, therefore, carry a lot of nostalgic weight even though they became less and less progressive as the years went by. Here's the good news about "The Turn of a Friendly Card." It's a better record than the dismal, dull "Eve" album that preceded it. The bad news is that there's still nothing to get too excited about.

"May be a Price to Pay" has a promising intro with its bright, synthesized horn section but the song itself doesn't live up to its billing and turns into a rather pedestrian tune that doesn't merit much attention. The boring instrumental section sounds like something from the Montovani strings. If there's a saving grace to the project, however, it's the next track. "Games People Play" with its inimitable programmed synths at the beginning is just a great song despite its dated disco rhythm. The spacey, floating section in the middle followed by Ian Bairnson's excellent guitar solo (love that unadulterated strat tone!) made this cut one to turn up every time it came on the radio.

"Time" comes right on its heels and it's the runner-up for best tune on the album. I consider this one to be Pink Floyd lite and that's not a cheap poke. Both the subtle vocal from Eric Woolfson and the orchestral arrangement by Andrew Powell are superb. Lyrically this is a perfect song for a high school prom with its sad "farewell" subject matter. "I Don't Wanna Go Home" is an okay but ultimately unremarkable tune with a nice guitar lead from Ian and a somewhat mysterious ending. "The Gold Bug" is the odd duck here with its spaghetti western atmosphere complete with a whistler that evolves into a syrupy contemporary MOR instrumental.

"The Turn of a Friendly Card" is a suite of songs and ideas strung together with gambling as its focus. "Part One" starts by introducing the central melody backed by harpsichord and symphony, then transitions into the funky pop of "Snake Eyes." The orchestra reappears for "The Ace of Swords," a rock instrumental that at least offers some interesting changes along the way. "Nothing Left to Lose" is a decent tune but the lyrics just consist of one cliché after another and perhaps that was their intent. There's a brief dip into a reggae feel, then it becomes another rock instrumental where Bairnson's guitar work entertains once again. "Part Two" is nothing more than a revisit to the main theme and then offers yet another overly slick orchestral rendition of that melody to the end. Very corny.

For whatever reason the Alan Parsons Project is considered prog-related and, as such, their catalogue of work deserves to be fairly reviewed by unbiased music consumers like myself. With few exceptions there is very little imagination at work here. My honest assessment is that this album isn't an embarrassment but it will really only appeal to the APP diehard fan. Spend your money accordingly. 2 stars.

Chicapah | 2/5 |


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