ARTIST: The Alan Parsons Project
TITLE: Tales of Mystery and Imagination
YEAR RELEASED: 1976
CHART ACTION: #38 US, #56 UK
SINGLES: The Raven (#80 US), (The System of) Dr. Tarr & Professor Fether (#37 US), To One in Paradise (#108 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, no
LINEUP: Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson with work from a whole punch of people from Pilot and Ambrosia, vocals from Arthur Brown, Jack Harris, Leonard Whiting, and Terry Sylvester, and narration from Orson Welles (!).
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut record from the proggy standbys somehow got a top 40 single (and not even the poppiest cut) with an album revolving around stories from Edgar Allan Poe.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson combined talents in 1974 as engineer and manager, and then decided to record tracks that fit their personal musical tastes and direction. The result was a very proggy, highly engineered and produced, album that utilized stories from Edgar Allan Poe as inspiration.
Gathering musicians and actors, they put together the tracks meticulously. It was crafted and polished, and at times seemingly rote and mechanical (especially if you know the APP’s later work).
Somehow, somehow, there was a Top 40 hit in all of this heavy prog, but it was the 70’s. It’s a decent enough record that skimps on the Poe in place of pretty heavy progressive elements. But at least most of the tracks move along at a pace.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Orson Welles isn’t in the original mix, but in the 1987 remix by Parsons utilized narration that Welles recorded and sent to Parsons after the original album. Also, the drum sounds were updated.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Demos and guide vocals, and both the ’76 and ’87 mixes are in a package.
GRADE B-: It’s bloated and bombastic, but it’s not terrible, and it is interesting in some places.