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Nektar Magic Is a Child album cover
2.98 | 160 ratings | 16 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Away from Asgard (5:30)
2. Magic Is a Child (4:06)
3. Eerie Lackawanna (3:29)
4. Midnite Lite (4:27)
5. Love to Share (Keep Your Worries Behind You) (4:07)
6. Train from Nowhere (4:12)
7. Listen (6:02)
8. On the Run (The Trucker) (4:41)
9. Spread Your Wings (4:40)

Total Time 41:14

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
10. Away from Asgard (original demo) (6:18)
11. On the Run (alternate mix) (4:43)
12. Train from Nowhere (alternate version) (4:12)
13. Midnight Lite (live) (5:07)

Bonus tracks on 2006 / 2013 Japanese remaster:
10. Away from Asgard (original demo) (6:18)
11. On the Run (alternate mix) (4:43)
12. Train from Nowhere (alternate version) (4:12)

Bonus tracks on 2014 remaster:
10. Away from Asgard (original demo) (6:18)
11. On the Run (The Trucker) (alternate mix) (4:43)
12. Train from Nowhere (alternate mix feat. Robert Fripp) (4:12)

Bonus disc on 2014 remaster - Live 1977, New York:
1. Midnite Lite (4:35)
2. Train from Nowhere (3:47)
3. Remember the Future Part 2 (9:13)
4. Away from Asgard (5:32)
5. Crying in the Dark / King of Twilight (12:02)
6. Magic Is a Child (4:32)
7. Recycled (10:57)
8. Eerie Lackawanna (3:24)
9. Oh Willy (8:46)
10. On the Run (The Trucker) (4:52)
11. Spread Your Wings (6:08)

Total Time 73:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Alan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards, synthesizer, vocals
- Derek "Mo" Moore / bass, vocals
- Ron Howden / drums & percussion, vocals
- Dave Nelson / guitar, vocals

- Larry Fast / synthesizer
- Julien Barber, Kermit Moore, Michael Commins, Anthony Posk / strings
- Stephan Galfas / string arrangements
- Robert Fripp ("Walt Nektroid") / guitar (6,12)

Releases information

Producer, Arranger: Nektar, Jeff Kawalek
Electronics, Sounds: Paul Higgins
Mastering Engineer: Bob Ludwig
Engineer: Jeff Kawalek
Assistant Engineer: Pete Roulinavage
Lighting "Creative Lights": Mick Brockett
Lighting Coordination: Rab Murdoch
Lighting Director, Stage Design: Pete Lango
Album Design: Basil Pao (AGI)
Cover Photography: Chris Callis
Group Photography: David Gahr
Cover Model: Brooke Shields
Management: Derek "Mo" Moore, Ken Sander

Recorded at the House Of Music, West Orange N.J. March to August 1977

LP Bacillus Records - BAC 2050 (Germany, 1977)
CD Dream Nebula Recordings / Eclectic Discs - DNECD 1211 (UK, 2005) [includes 4 bonus tracks]
CD WHD Entertainment, Inc. - IECP-10058 (Japan, 2006) [includes 3 bonus tracks]
CD Belle Antique - BELLE 132139 (Japan, 2013) [includes 3 bonus tracks]
2CD Cleopatra - CLPN639 (US, 2014) [includes 3 bonus tracks + bonus CD]

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Prog Network & projeKct for the last updates
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NEKTAR Magic Is a Child ratings distribution

(160 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

NEKTAR Magic Is a Child reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, this record is hard to analyze, because the songs are quite varied. Mainly, it consists in sophisticated hard rock, a bit progressive. The guitar sounds quite like the good American hard rock bands. There keyboards are omnipresent: piano, organ... They sound varied. The bass is very present and very good. The drums too. The guitar solo on "Listen" is outstanding: hear this echoed sound!!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Sounds like p... perhaps they could have done better

"Magic is a child" was Nektar's first album without founding member Roye Albrighton on guitar and vocals. In his place comes Dave Nelson. Whether Nelson can be held responsible for the direction the band heads off in here is doubtful, but there is no doubt that there is a distinct move away from prog into prosaic AOR.

Things start of reasonably soundly, with the safe prog of "Away from Asgard", and the poetic ballad of the title track. Things take a decided dip though with "Eerie Lackawanna" and "Midnite light". For those familiar with STARCASTLE's sudden migration to AOR on "Real to Reel", the effect is similar here. The songs are far too lyrical with at best average melodies and a real dearth of instrumental breaks. By the time side one finishes, we seem to have drifted into AIR SUPPLY territory with "Love to share", a song whose concept borrows liberally from Cat Stevens' "Father and son".

Side two is an improvement, although the opening "Train from nowhere" is a bit too DOOBIE BROTHERS. "Listen", which was written by the band prior to Albrighton's departure, is clearly the best track on the album with some fine guitar work. The song has similarities with WISHBONE ASH's ballads such as "Everybody needs a friend". Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets, and we end with a further couple of nondescript pop rock pieces.

Given Nektar's lack of commercial success throughout their excellent prog period, it was perhaps inevitable that they would seek to move in a more commercial direction eventually. It is to their credit that it took until their seventh album for them to do so. It is probably no coincidence that the change came about when the band moved to Polydor records. Nevertheless, this is a poor album both by their standards, and indeed by any standards. It does have some redeeming features, but the overall impression is of a band who have run out of ideas, but who are desperate for commercial success. Nice sleeve by the way.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Since the beginning, NEKTAR always have kept the same line-up until 1976 until a mini earthquake shook the foundation of the band when guitarist-lead singer, the heart of the group ROYE ALLBRIGHTON left the band. That would have been a big blowto any band, but NEKTAR somehow managed the situation quite well. They found a good replacement in american DAVE NELSON.

We are now in 1977 and you know this was not the time to write great prog epics anymore, so for sure we were not expecting A TAB IN THE OCEAN part2. Moreover, it was already long ago that NEKTAR produced a real prog album, so don't be surprised to find here again a rock songs album! Yes, 4-5 mns rock songs that could fit for any FM -radio format. But there are real good jewels on this album. Also, not everything of the past is forgotten.

The arrangements are clever with a lot of prog touches- nice keyboards from FREEMAN, especially, on piano, nice harmonies. The new guitarist sounds...well, very american, some good hard rocking, but never too far from its predecessor like in EERIE LACKAWANNA. This is not straight rock without imagination, it's well thought, well arranged like the instrumental parts on TRAIN OF NOWHERE or the great LISTEN.

The title track MAGIS IS A CHILD is a little jewel with a beautiful melody, a great harpsichord playing throughout the whole song with a string quartet that makes this song the most proggish on this album.A real wonder! Obviously, this is the most commercial album released by NEKTAR so far; nothing wrong with that when the music is good. I am sure songs like SPREAD YOUR WINGS or AWAY FROM ASGARD were written with the intent of reaching radio airplay-which they didn't-

This is an album that can be listened with pleasure; just don't look for complexities, time changes or experiments; Don't try to find any remains left from JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EYE. There aren't any! This is even hard to imagine that it is the same band that made these 2 albums; 2 worlds apart.In a way , it is. At the beginning, they were recording in 1970 Germany in a burgeonning krautrock scene; Now they are living in 1977 New JERSEY at the time recording companies were putting pressure on their bands to record more straightforward FM-radio oriented music.

This is the last NEKTAR record i am reviewing presently as i was never interested to listen to their next albums. I read about them, confirming my intuitions, that there will never be another JOURNEY TO THE CENTER of something again.

The next album MAN OF THE MOON will see the return of ROYE ALLBRIGHTON, but MO MOORE and RON HOWDEN were not present. The 4 original members will reunite again in 2003-2004 and release a live album recorded at the Nearfest held NEW Jersey where they would revisit their old classics . Now the band is still touring and recording, but only with ALLBRIGHTON and HOWDEN as original members.

NEKTAR was a good band, but never one of the best of the prog world !!they never were in premier league, but 2 albums of them JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EYE and TAB IN THE OCEAN belong to the best recordings ,prog music has produced.

Thanks for that; especially JOURNEY!!

I forgot to mention the cover is gorgeous and the girl gracing it is a 13 years old BROOKE SHIELDS!!


Review by ZowieZiggy

But this is not new of course. "Nektar" made its entry into the "Psyche / Space" rock category thanks to their first two albums which were very good and truely belonged to this genre. After these, it was a long suite of average studio albums and sub-par live ones which had nothing to do with their great debut ones. It is also the first time in their history that they will wait for two years to release an ablum; but this might of course be due to the fact that one of their founding members has left the band (Roye Albrighton).

Music here is rather dull. The worse being the ridiculous "Eerie Lackawanna". Another funky / pop tune like they have already produced on "Remember The Future". Absolutely dispensible. Just press next to avoid total boredom. After an infect intro, "Midnite Lite" turns out as a good pop song, somewhat Supertrampish. Not too bad.

This album is not really good. A bit of a childish rock ballad ("Love To Share"), another funky and uninspired one ("Train From Nowhere".

In this ocean of indifference, a song like "Listen" is of course welcome. But let's not get too gorgeous about it. It is just a relief when you compare it to the rest of this album. "On The Run" also has its good rocking passages. But these popsish "It's been so long..." chorus are really awful. They ruin this song, unfortunately.

This album sounds more "American". It is defintely not a milestone in "Nektar" 's career; but there won't be a lot IMO (two of them, in their earliest days and that's it). Two stars.

Review by kenethlevine
1 stars Whatever distinctiveness NEKTAR might have claimed in their earlier years had been vanishing for a couple of releases, and their main calling card was Roy Albrighton, who left after "Recycled". A couple of years later, with a new guitarist Dave Nelson, they emerged with more democratic structure and their first album with no redeeming qualities.

The 1970s have a bad reputation among some. While some of this rap is unjustified, a listen to "Magic is a Child" points out all the pitfalls of a decade growing long in the tooth. Indeed, this could have been produced by any number of non progressive 1970s bands, most of them one-offs. This was music nobody wanted, and it's safe to say that only NEKTAR's pedigree saved it from complete obscurity. But that reputation was built on their first few albums, particularly "Remember the Future", and this 1977 disk bears utterly no resemblance to that classic. Gone are the sunshiney melodies, harmonic riffs, fantastic lyrics and interconnected themes. All that remains are rote 1970s guitar solos, trite tunes, faux-rousing choruses and ineffective and tasteless humour. Even the "harpsichord" in the title cut sounds treated and released.

After I scored with "Remember the Future", I kept looking in vain for some other sign of the force behind that concept, and kept being disappointed, but the search ended here for good. "Magic is a Child" only its mother could love.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Nektar was and still is one of my fav band from progressive rock movements from the '70's. I don't know but I feel that this band was always in the shadow of other big names from that period. Nektar release some very good albums in early to mid '70's , even better in places then the masters, but with all that they had a moderate succes in this field. Now Magic is the child released in 1977 is a step in other direction from the band. After the excellent and one of my fav prog albums ever Recycled, Nektar steps in a more accesible direction, not entirely comerfcial or mainstream side of prog but quite enough to see thet they are ready for a change in sound. This phase of the band is perhaps and almost sure because of the departure of the main man of the band, the songwritter and a solid pile in Nektar's music - I'm talking about Roye Albrighton. Now, Magic is the child is not entirely bad, is like I'm listning in places to Styx or Forigner, the band focused more on short pieces, quite pale in comparation with their older sound, but not bad, only diffrent and less exciting arrangements overall. Some good pieces grace the album like opening track Away from Asgard , Listen or title piece Magic is a child are worth purchase the rest are quite ok but nothing realy enjoyble to the max. A so so Nektar album, not bad as a whole but not something special either, I will give 3 stars tot his one, with indulgens, is very far from previous works , even to previous album just released a year prior.
Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Magic is a child, or, to be a bit more precise, magic is a floating Brooke Shields with glowing feet by a waterfall. Nektar were trying to hold on to the magic without Roye Albrighton, and Dave Nelson seemed game for the challenge. The shifting away from the band's early psychedelic freakouts continued dramatically here, but there's no mistake that this album is still very much prog, and one I consider more entertaining than a lot of other progressive groups' efforts around this time.

The album starts off on an upbeat note; a jaunty and fun ride away from Asgard and towards the land of somewhat poppish yet very adventurous prog rock. Within its 5:30 frame there is enough material for 3 songs due to its various ideas and licks compacted into a not so epic runtime. This makes the song busy, yet a ton of fun. The music is played reasonably tight, which underscores how far they've strayed from the ultra space rock of their early days.

Other aspects distinguish this effort from their early days (and space rock in general), those being the growing influence of the southern boogie bands at the time and a straight 70's rock plus an AOR touch to a decent portion of the songs. It's a strange blend, and certain songs work better than others as a result, but when it works, it COOKS. Train from Nowhere cooks like a fresh buttocks on sauna coals. The best track on the album, it pinballs its way between heavy jazzy prog rock and Steve Miller style boogie deftly with some memorable licks and one killer little guitar solo. It's the kind of song you could play in some southern country bar without angering the locals, although they'd probably think someone spiked their mugs of Budweiser with some "funny stuff".

A couple of songs don't work out so well: Eerie Lackawanna isn't so bad due to the funky guitar playing, but it does sound like The Doobie Brothers playing naked Twister with Lou Rawls in late 70's easy listening mode. Then there's Love To Share with it's cribbing of some riffs right out of The Beatle's He Said She Said as a homage, sounding considerably goofy as a result despite the coolness of the riff itself.

Those looking solely for the unabashed tripped-out rock of early Nektar might at least dig Listen, which definitely goes down easy with a few bong hits, although don't expect to journey into the center of your own eyeballs. Spread Your Wings is another fun number, basically a straight up rock song with a bit of complexity thrown in for good measure, although the musical embellishments might not be immediately apparent since the focus would most likely begin with the cock rock lyrics. LOOK OUT LADIES, NEKTAR'S IN TOWN!

Is it a great album? Not really, but it has plenty of stellar moments and is a hell of a good time if you don't throw this on expecting a rehash of their early 70s music. Prog music for those who drink cheap beer, in which quantity matters more than quality. Keep on chuggin'.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Judging from the ratings here, this probably isn't the best place to start when investigating Nektar's catalog. But this is the album I found many years ago in a used record store, and here is where I began.

The album is mostly arena rock, with a definite leaning toward prog. If this style was indicative of Nektar's career (I presume it is not), they would be a great fit in the crossover genre. On most of the tracks, the songs are fairly conventionally written, but there are some prog flourishes, mostly in the instrumental sections, that spice things up.

I'd have to say that the songs that intrigue me the most are all on the second side of the LP. Train From Nowhere has a great Gentle Giant-like break, and Spread Your Wings has a very cool rhythm.

This is not a bad album, but doesn't make me want to hear more.

Review by Progfan97402
2 stars Time has certainly been more kind to Down to Earth for me, than when I first bought this in 1995 (I still think the horns and female backup vocalists needed to go). Even Recycled, which I haven't owned as long. But Magic is a Child is really where I felt Nektar sunk, and just about everyone lays the blame on Roye Albrighton's departure. Roye departed Nektar because he was the one member a bit reluctant to move to the United States, and he wasn't liking the fact they weren't working on a new album for 1976 (Recycled was released in the States in '76, although released in Germany late in '75). So comes an American named Dave Nelson. I really can't tell if Roye's departure was to blame or not, prog was already on the decline around the time of Recycled (Recycled isn't a favorite of mine, although it's grown on me some, it gives me reminders of prog's decline in the second half of the '70s), and Magic is a Child just sounds like Nektar adjusting to the changes to more simplistic songs. "Away from Asgard" sound like they were trying to sound like Yes, and it's not bad, and even if the title track is a bit repetitive, I do enjoy it, but a lot of it was the band desperately trying to go commercial (I know they did the same for Down to Earth, but amidst all the horns and female backup vocalists, you can still recognize it as Nektar). Larry Fast does bring in some nice synths from time to time, but this album really didn't leave an impression on me. In fact last time I gave it a listen, I bailed out near the end of side one. At least I paid next to nothing for it.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Nektar meets later years Genesis in a very good album! "Magic is a child", "Midnite light", "Listen" and "Spread your Wings" are a quartet of songs that could easily fit in a best of Nektar compilation (the more pop-oriented side of it), and the yet another different music approach by Nektar in t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1600575) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album isn't a conceptual, but I'm not dissapointed in it. Opposite it's detached record in a Nektar's discography! "Magic Is a Child" opens with song, which in a small time interval accommodates many unusual twists with not poor instrumental parts without vocals(as in all of this album) an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1280406) | Posted by grom63 | Saturday, September 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Magic is A Child has suffered from prejudiced critics over the years who can`t stop comparing it to thier previous more psyched-out material which, at best, acquired them a loyal cult following on both sides of the Atlantic. By 1977 when this album was released many prog bands were changing forma ... (read more)

Report this review (#148184) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Like some prog groups of the time, Nektar was going thru some personnel changes & also giving up the epic length tracks for shorter more concise songs. The overall sound reminds me of what Le Orme & PFM were putting out, but the difference, & I know I keep repeating this about Nektar, but the son ... (read more)

Report this review (#118905) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An excellent album, with some very strong pieces. Favourite "Listen" - what a track! Always a bit disappointed when it ends - should have been much longer, but contains one of the best guitar solos known to man and a huge, melancholy sound. Side two preferred, has a far more dramatic lineup (with ... (read more)

Report this review (#68691) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After a string of good albums, Nektar started losing ground with Recycled. Then, the damage was really done when guitarist/main singer Roye Albrighton left the band. That leaves Magic is a Child with rather plain sounding vocals and plain guitar playing. Worse yet, the music is less progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#64247) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nektar on hold? No not really...they´re just concidering their territory. And they´re still here,shorter numbers...but still heavy guitars and key´s a plenty. Nektar goes pop...ahem sort of!!! I like it!!! ... (read more)

Report this review (#19114) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Monday, December 29, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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