Tales Of Mystery And Imagination by Alan Parsons was another of my early teenage discoveries. It was an album that transported me to places within my mind that I never knew existed. I would listen to the song “To One In Paradise” and in my idyllic teenage mind, imagine myself floating through the sky towards the end of school and the start of my life proper. This was certainly one album that helped me through my difficult teenage years.
As most people from my generation who are into music would know, Alan Parsons was the engineer on Pink Floyd’s brilliant album Dark Side Of The Moon.
Anyone, no matter how talented, would probably think twice before making a progressive rock/concept album based upon the horror stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe, especially as their debut but I have to admit even the title of the album attracts and entices a person to want to have a listen.
Anyone who has heard it would agree, Alan Parsons did a great job in making this album which rocks, cradles and soothes as it takes you on a journey through its grooves.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the debut album released in 1976 by the progressive rock group The Alan Parsons Project.
The album’s avant-garde soundscapes kept it from being a blockbuster, but the interesting lyrical and musical themes — retellings of horror stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe — attracted a small audience.
The title of the album is taken from a popular title for Poe’s macabre tales of the same name Tales of Mystery & Imagination first published in 1908 and many times since under this name.
Critical reaction to the album was often mixed, such as Rolling Stone, whose Billy Altman concluded that it mostly failed at reproducing Poe’s tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that “devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe’s often terrifying works”.
This album was released in U.K. originally with a different name. Simply called “The Alan Parsons Project” it was successful enough to achieve gold status but later that year the same album was released under the name of “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”
“The Raven” features actor Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, with Alan Parsons performing vocals through an EMI vocoder. According to the album’s liner notes, “The Raven” was the first rock song ever to feature a digital vocoder.
The Prelude of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, although uncredited, is based on the opera fragment “La chute de la maison Usher” by Claude Debussy which was composed in 1908-1917.
The original version of the album was available for several years on vinyl and cassette, but was not immediately available on CD. This was due in part to Parsons’ desire to rework some tracks.
In 1987, Parsons completely remixed the album, including additional guitar passages and narration (by Orson Welles) as well as updating the production style to include heavy reverb and the gated drum sound of the 80s.
The CD notes that Welles never met Parsons or Eric Woolfson, but sent a tape to them of the performance shortly after the album was manufactured in 1976.
“A Dream Within A Dream” [instrumental]
“The Raven” (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
3. “The Tell-Tale Heart” (ft. Arthur Brown)
4. “The Cask of Amontillado” (ft. John Miles)
5. “(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
6. “The Fall of the House of Usher [instrumental]
7. “To One in Paradise” (ft. Terry Sylvester)
* Alan Parsons – Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Vocals, *Producer, Engineer, Projection
* Eric Woolfson – Synthesizer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Executive Producer
* Orson Welles – Narrator (1987 version only)
* Leonard Whiting – Vocals, Narrator
* Arthur Brown – Vocals
* John Miles – Guitar, Vocals
* Jack Harris – Vocals
* Francis Monkman – Organ, Keyboards
* Kevin Peek – Guitar (Acoustic)
* Terry Sylvester – Vocals
* Laurence Juber – Guitar (Acoustic)
* Andrew Powell – Keyboards, Arranger
* David Paton – Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Ian Bairnson – Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
* Chris Blair – Assistant Engineer
* Peter Christopherson – Photography
* David Katz – Violin, Leader, Orchestra Contractor
* Burleigh Drummond – Drums
* English Chorale – Vocals
* Bob Howes – Choir, Chorus
* John Leach – Percussion, Vocals, Cimbalom, Kantele
* David Pack – Guitar
* Smokey Parsons – Vocals
* Joe Puerta – Bass
* Tony Richards – Assistant Engineer
* Jack Rothstein – Leader
* Daryl Runswick – Bass, String Bass
* David Snell – Harp
* The English Chorale and Played Ti – Choir, Chorus
* Stuart Tosh – Cymbals, Drums, Vocals, Tympani [Timpani]
* Tom Trefethen – Assistant Engineer
* Pat Stapley – Assistant Engineer
* Aubrey Powell – Photography
* Storm Thorgerson – Photography
* Hipgnosis – Design, Cover Art
* Sam Emerson – Photography
* Colin Elgie – Artwork, Graphic Design, Layout Design
* Billy Lyall – Piano, Drums, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Recorder, Fender Rhodes
* Gordon Parry – Engineer
* Jane Powell – Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Andrew Hurdle – Bass
* Christopher North – Keyboards
(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)
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