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Renaissance Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 album cover
3.41 | 40 ratings | 9 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prologue live (7:31)
2. Can you understand live (10:23)
3. Carpet of the sun live (3:32)
4. Running hard (9:39)
5. I think of you (3:06)
6. Black flame (6:26)
7. Mother Russia (9:20)
8. Ocean gypsy (7:08)
9. Trip to the fair (10:52)
10. The vulture fly high (3:07)
11. The young prince and princess as told by Scheherazade (4:04)*

Total Time: 75:08
* Track 11 is actually "Festival preparations".

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Camp / bass, pedals, vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic guitar, vocals
- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Tout / keyboards, backing vocals

Releases information

Cd. Sire/Warner 9 26129-2 (USA)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates
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Buy RENAISSANCE Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 Music

RENAISSANCE Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RENAISSANCE Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1990, Renaissance's 1970s albums were not available on CD so this compilation was a godsend for those of us who wished to upgrade, the first volume of a pair covering the band's career from the dawn of the classic 'Annie Haslam' era to its end in 1980. Volume 1 covers material originating on Prologue [1], Ashes Are Burning [2], Turn Of The Cards [4] and Scheherazade And Other Stories [3½] though the Prologue and Ashes Are Burning songs are taken from the Live At Carnegie Hall album, presumably due to licensing issues.

As compilations go it is a fair stab and reasonably representative. The song Ashes Are Burning is sorely missed [included on Volume 2 due to lack of space] but otherwise its parent album is adequately represented by excellent live versions of Can You Understand and concert favourite Carpet Of The Sun. Prologue is under-represented, only a live version of its title track is used - Kiev and/or Rajah Khan should also have been included but no live version would have been available to the compiler. The standout tracks from Turn Of The Cards are here - Mother Russia and Running Hard - as are all three 'short' songs from Scheherazade And Other Stories. The real issue is why the extraordinary Song Of Scheherazade was cut to an unsatisfactory four minute excerpt instead of omitting three marginal inclusions [I Think Of You, Black Flame and The Vultures Fly High], a change that would have made this a much more attractive proposition.

Fans will always take issue with track lists of compilations as some favourite or other is left out, but in reality most of the essential songs are present here or on Volume 2. Thanks to the internet, CD editions of the source albums are now more readily available, thus reducing the desirability of this set. However, it still appears in the record racks of major retailers so for anyone curious about Renaissance's detailed orchestrations and melodic Prog songs, and would like an overview of some of their best work, this would be an excellent place to start.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars In the early 90´s it was not easy to find Renaissance´s discography on CD, so a friend bough this compliation (along with volume II). I remember I did not have enough money to do the same, borrow them and recorded those on tape. For years this was the only way to hear those classics with a better sound than my quite wore out vinyl copies could provide. But are they still worth now?

Well, the song selection is quite good, but due to some contractual issues at the time, it seems that only the Sire original releases could be used. So, it meant that some of their most well known songs were only available for this CD in the form of live recordings (taken from 1975´s Live At The Carnegie Hall). although I like that double album, those tracks are not up to their studio recordings, specially Prologue. Well, I guesss that was the best they could do then. There are some great stuff, but Scheherazade´s suite is only represented here with a small piece.

Renaissance is one of those bands that are much better appreciated when you hear the whole album (at least their classic foursome: Prologue, Ashes Are Burning, Turn Of Cards and Scheherazade). With the new remastered CDs available, this two volumes look a bit odd. If they had the studio versions of the aforementioned songs I´d recommend to a newbie who wanted to know this great group without having to buy all their albums. The way it is, it is still good, but missing something. You better get their original works anyway, even if you´re new to Renaissance. They´re worth it. 2,5 stars.

Review by Gooner
4 stars Great compilation from the albums "Turn Of The Cards", "Scheherazade" and "Live At Carnegie Hall". I'd always found the aforementioned albums uneven, but certainly the best tracks have been pulled from them and inserted within the contents of this compilation(with the exception of "I Think Of You", which is a sappy love ballad that belongs on Heart's "Dreamboat Annie", not a respectable Renaissance prog.rock compilation). For that reason, it gets docked 1 star. Harumph!
Review by kenethlevine
3 stars In general, including live material on a compilation is not a good idea, unless, as in the case of the title cut of "Ashes are Burning" by Renaissance, it is so extended and superior as to be a different song. Here on the first of two compilations released when most Renaissance albums had not yet seen CD release, the first 3 cuts are all from "Live at Carnegie Hall". Two of them, "Prologue" and "Carpet of the Sun", simply lack the sharpness of the studio versions. "Can You Understand" is a pretty good version, however. But there was simply too much outstanding material from both albums left out of the compilation, and too much from "Scheherazade" included. Luckily, the bulk of the groundbreaking "Turn of the Cards" is here, especially "Black Flame" and "Mother Russia". It's a decent compilation for those on a budget or who just want a taste, but ultimately you'll want to spring at least for the reissue of their second album, "Ashes are Burning".
Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is a great starting point for people unfamiliar with Renaissance, although for fans, this will likely prove unnecessary. There is a fuse of jazz and classical elements, as the piano is by far the leading instrument throughout- yet it is Annie Haslam's far-reaching voice that takes the spotlight. After a lengthy and stellar introduction to "Can You Understand," Haslam begins to sing one of the groups best songs. Her voice is exquisite throughout all of the music, and the players are incredible in their respective roles. Another favorite of mine is "Carpet of the Sun," which sounds phenomenal, as Hasalm's voice just wavers and bends in ways I never thought possible. There is amazing piano and bass work throughout, and the drums a great job of complimenting the music in a tasteful. A few of the tracks are live, but most are studio. This is not a perfect compilation, of course, but it is rather close. The bottom line is this: For those unfamiliar with the musical group Renaissance or desiring to for once hear the amazing lead vocals, this is a fantastic starting point. Given the amount of music that is present, it is for sure a worthy initiation.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars it says a lot about the way record company executives thought about their once popular progressive rock acts that, as late as 1990, a group like Renaissance, who once filled major arenas around the world, had nothing available on compact disk. This, the first of two volumes, helped to fill that void.

I must say that Annie Haslam has one of the purest, and most beautiful voices in all of progressive rock. This collection underscores that position. From song to song, the clarity and power of her vocals is just wonderful.

The collection covers the early years of Renaissance's career. Since the first few albyums were released on Capitol Records, this set, on Sire, uses the live versions from "Live At Carnegie Hall" instead of the studio recordings. That's really the only flaw, as that album, at least the mix used here, was not all that well recorded.

Otherwise, the album shows the band at it's peak, and contains a good mix of their most popular as well as some of their best songs.

This, and volume 2 are a good starting point for a Renaissance exploration.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 284

'Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1' is a compilation of Renaissance and was released in 1990. This is a compilation that includes tracks from four studio albums of Renaissanace. So, it includes one track from their third studio album 'Prologue', released in 1972, two tracks from their fourth studio album 'Ashes Are Burning', released in 1973, four tracks from their fifth studio album 'Turn Of The Cards', released in 1974, and four tracks from their sixth studio album 'Scheherazade And Other Storis', released in 1975. These four studio albums belong to what is usually considered their golden era. These four albums are also the first four albums that belong to their second and better incarnation.

''Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1'' has eleven track. The first track ''Prologue'' was released on ''Prologue''. This is essentially an instrumental song, despite it has female vocals, but there are no lyrics and the vocals only singing the melody. Musically, it shows the strong influence of the classical music on their work. The second track ''Can You Understand'' was released on ''Ashes Are Burning''. The song begins with a fantastic and incredible classical piano solo and the rest of the song is performed in a magnificent symphonic folk/rock style. The vocal performance of Haslam is brilliant. This song has a rare and superb electric guitar solo performed by the guitarist of Wishbone Ash, Andy Powell. The third track ''Carpet Of The Sun'' was released on ''Ashes Are Burning''. It's a simple and beautiful song with a perfect and nice orchestral work. It's a very melodic piece where Haslam offers her great vocal talents and a very nice and peaceful ambient. The fourth track ''Running Hard'' was released on ''Turn Of The Cards''. It's a brilliant piece with a strong classical influence that begins with a fantastic piano introduction. It has fine piano melodies, good drumming and is brilliantly sung by Haslam. The fifth track ''I Think Of You'' was released on ''Turn Of The Cards''. It's a very short and mellow ballad, nice and pleasant to listen to. Despite be a good song it hasn't the same quality level of the songs on that album. I think it's too much conventional and soft for my taste. The sixth track ''Black Flame'' was released on ''Turn Of The Cards''. It's a beautiful and very melodic ballad with a nice touch of medieval music. Here we have the perfect harmony between the acoustic guitar of Dunford and the piano of Tout, brilliantly performed by both. Once more we have good choral work and some beautiful vocals. The structure of the song is simple, but very interesting too. The seventh track ''Mother Russia'' was released on ''Turn Of The Cards''. This is a massive classic and sophisticated piece that combines perfectly well the clear influences of the classical Russian composers and the political vicissitudes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian dissident against the regime in the USSR. It's one of the most beautiful pieces made by Renaissance. The eighth track ''Ocean Gypsy'' was released on ''Scheherazade And Other Stories''. It's a perfect track and one of the classic songs in the Renaissance's catalogue. This is a romantic and melancholic ballad, which fits well with Haslam's voice. It has great piano work, nice guitar acoustic performance, wonderful vocal performance and a great work of the chorus. This is a song with an excellent melody and an emotional atmosphere. The ninth track ''Trip To The Fair'' was released on ''Scheherazade And Other Stories''. It's one of the best songs of the band with a fantastic and amazing piano work by Tout and a great vocal performance by Haslam. The story is about a dark tale of strange happenings at the fairground and the music provides the perfect atmospheric picture to the song. The tenth track ''The Vultures Fly High'' was released on ''Scheherazade And Other Stories''. It's an energetic song built upon a beautiful vocal harmony. It's the weakest song on that album but it maintains the high quality level of that album and the typical Renaissance's sound. It's a song with a beautiful melody and the vocal performance of the chorus is brilliant. The eleventh track ''The Young Prince And Princess As Told By Scheherazade'', is one of the parts of the suite ''Song Of Sheherazade'' which was originally released on ''Scheherazade And Other Stories''. It's among the most adventurous pieces of work they have produced. The sections come across as separate tracks at times, breaking the continuity and making the piece seem fragmented. This part has lilting harmonies, tubular bells and some wonderful flute melodies.

Conclusion: This is a great introduction to Renaissance's music catalogue, covering their career from 1972 to 1975. These albums belong to their second and best known incarnation. Despite the undeniable quality of the two albums of their first Renaissance's incarnation, 'Renaissance' released in 1969 and 'Illusion' released in 1971, these four albums are in general considered their best. They belong to what is considered Renaissance's golden era. About the tracks, they're in chronological order. They're all very well representative of the band and represent some of the best tracks of them. So, I've nothing to say against the choice made by the band. In reality, they're all great tracks. So, we may say, this is a good compilation, but non an essential purchase. We can always question the need of these compilations of progressive rock bands. They can never substitute the original studio albums. I think 3 stars is the right rating to it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars From 1990, this is Part 1 of a two volume package of Greatest Hits by Renaissance. And, a fine selection it is! Classics such as "Running Hard", "Can You Understand", "Black Flame", "Mother Russia", and "Ocean Gypsy" are here, some regular versions, some shortened, some even live. Not a bad tune in ... (read more)

Report this review (#733614) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a great compilation album from their early days with Sire records, probably their strongest period. It features some of their best music from Turn of the Cards, Scheherazade and Other Stories, and Live at Carnegie Hall. The only bad thing is that it is missing their best song of all, ... (read more)

Report this review (#20126) | Posted by Gianthogweed | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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