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Jon Anderson - The Promise Ring CD (album) cover

THE PROMISE RING

Jon Anderson

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4 stars Absolutely brilliant album. Completely different from his other works, with a strong Celtic flair of Irish traditional music throughout. "Are You?" being the cream of the tracks on this album, one of Jon Anderson's best songs to date. And other top songs are "Born to Dance" and "O'er" A must for Jon Anderson fans.
Report this review (#26959)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars What a quandry! Two stars or three stars for this album?

I suppose I really should start out by trying to define what my quandry is. The Promise Ring is a solo album by Jon Anderson that features Celtic sounding songs played by competent musicians. So this should interest those people who like prog folk. A weird genre, it is true, but groups like Fairport Convention and The Pentangle have managed to make some great music in it. (Don't get me started on Jethro Tull. You'd be happier not hearing my opinion.)

Anyhow, back to my review. OK, this is not bad, but the thing about it is that it's all so damn happy. Yes, the album is slickly produced with good musicians. Yes, Jon delivers an above average (even for him) vocal performance. Yes, this is just barely proggish. But all of this happy positiveness is suffocating.

The last track is O'er. Jon reuses this as much as Yes reuses Roundabout (or maybe even more.) So it's quite possible that you heard this on Animation or on Yes's Open Your Eyes release or live. It's a good tune and it sure is cool that Jon came up with it through lucid dreaming. But when I tell you that it is the LEAST positive tune on The Promise Ring, you should shudder.

Anyhow, here is how I resolved the 2 or 3 star rating dilemna. I looked up the ratings that I gave to other Anderson albums. I gave Three Ships and Song of Seven 2 stars. That's probably about where this one belongs.

Anyhow, this is ok. If you like prog folk or like Jon's music, you will probably enjoy this. But don't expect in any way a masterpiece.

Report this review (#182230)
Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars I like Folk rock and I like Jon Anderson, the combination of the two is a very interesting idea. The result, however, is not that interesting. It is by no means horrible, just not very interesting. The songs sound a bit unfinished and has a (Irish) pub rock feeling to them. This was no doubt the intention, but as I said, the result is simply not that interesting. This could have been a great album with some more electric guitar and proper rock drums and some keyboards added perhaps.

O'er is a great song, but we have heard this one before - it is the same song as Boundaries from the Animation album.

No Jon, you can do better than this!

Only for fans this one.

Report this review (#190173)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I liked Jon Anderson voice from some Yes albums, and from his collaborations with Vangelis. Even his debut solo album was good enough for repeating listening.

Not later solo works. After I tried to listen some his solo albums (after good debut work) at the very beginning of Anderson's solo career, I just missed any interest to him.

The Promise Ring could be a good Christmas gift ( for Celtic folk lover). Anderson voice is in a good form, the musicians play very competent folk, even with some proggy elements. That's all.

All songs are the same - same melody, same tempo, same vocals range. Just one never- ending song. Anderson is full of optimism (children should like this music). Whenever there is much more folk, than rock, all music sounds very monotonic and faceless.

I believe this work could be a kind of not very successful Christmas gift: you will listen it once, and will forget few hours later. Some enthusiasts could repeat listening during next year Christmas.

Report this review (#259574)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Of course, it is not progressive rock, and what? Jon Anderson is a giant of the progressive music and he is still destined to the Great Things. He especially can to combine different music styles to one, called the progressive music. The Promise Ring is a set of wonderful folk songs, traditionally arranged and full of love, humor and goodness with a drop of sadness and nostalgia. The majority of tracks are rhythm-oriented (jigs and reels), inspiring dance pieces which can make You optimist for an hour. Try stop jumping when You are listening to title track, "My sweet Jane" or Born to dance"! Four and half stars.
Report this review (#321127)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars I like Celtic music. I have a number of vinyls of early Clannad, some albums by De Danann, Alan Stivell, and some "minor" folk artists like "Veronique Chalot". I also like Jon's voice and this album has both.

I want to start from track 3: "Timing of the Known". I don't know, and I don't think that's a traditional song, but it can give us a clear idea of how strong the folk roots of Joa Anderson are. With a keyboard and a guitar instead of the fiddle and leaving the percussion as they are, this song could fit into Olias of Sunhillow. It's something that I've never realized before.

We won't find in this album dark or sad songs like "The Trees They Do Grow High". It's all made of happyness, flowers and good sentiments, as usual in Jon's solo works. There are songs which sound like Christmas carols, as in "3 Ships" and of course, nothing really progressive.

I quite like this album but its limit is in the fusion of the two styles (folk and Jon) which doesn't work perfectly so at the end this is nor a regular Anderson's album neither a folk one.

For die-hard fans.

Report this review (#1055572)
Posted Monday, October 7, 2013 | Review Permalink

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