For the first time, Eric Woolfson’s 'POE More Tales of Mystery and Imagination' (released in 2003) has been re-mastered at Abbey Road and is being released on 180gsm vinyl with a gatefold sleeve and printed inner bag. Its release on 2nd December 2016 commemorates the 7th anniversary of Eric’s loss on the same date in 2009. It is also being released to coincide with Universal’s 40th Anniversary Box Set release of the original Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination album, which will include a double vinyl, 5.1 BluRay and 60 page book.
‘If you remember me, I am immortal’ - Eric Woolfson 1945-2009
Eric’s sleeve notes when this album was first released in 2003: "My fascination with the world of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) began more than thirty years ago. It led to the creation of the Alan Parsons Project and the first album ‘Tales Of Mystery And Imagination – Edgar Allan Poe’ in 1976. At that time, I already had in mind a volume two of ‘Tales’, but a change of record labels took the APP in other directions.
Some years later, I decided it was time for me to revisit my hero, Poe, or “Eddy” as his friends called him. The first result of this was a stage musical and a concert version of ‘POE’ which tells the story of his extraordinary life and works.
I realized that half of the songs in the musical contained the basis for a possible follow-up to ‘Tales’ and after preliminary work in my own studio, I went back into the legendary Abbey Road Studios where ‘More Tales Of Mystery And Imagination’ was completed. During the recordings, I had the immense good fortune to be introduced to Steve Balsamo.
His remarkable voice lifted the tracks to a level I had not previously experienced and I pay full tribute to him and the many other talented and dedicated musicians, singers and studio engineers without whom I could not have fulfilled my dream of making a worthy follow up.This current work includes many of Poe’s most famous tales and poems but also includes glimpses of episodes in his life. A life, in many cases, even more bizarre and tortured than his literary works.
The supreme irony of this literary giant surely lies in the fact that though constantly in poverty or debt for nearly all of his life, a copy of his first published poem ‘Tamerlane’ would sell at auction today for over half a million dollars. It is probably the highest priced item of classical American literature. In death he also achieved world-wide success and acknowledgement as the genius who devised the genres of the ‘Detective Novel’ and ‘Science Fiction’.
To me, the greatest compliment that has been paid to recordings of my work is that they are ‘Cinematic’ and while listening, if you close your eyes, you can see pictures. Without wishing to intrude into the creative imaginations of the listener, I have included a brief reference to the literary work or event in Poe’s life that originally inspired my work.
The instrumental ANGEL OF THE ODD is the title of one of Poe’s quirkiest stories. WINGS OF EAGLES expresses the way he saw the world. The commonplace becomes distorted into fantasy. Reality assumes an overwhelming intensity, creating an emotional roller-coaster for his turbulent emotions. Poe as an infant was introduced to gin and laudanum (an opiate), by an exhausted, though well-meaning nanny. Little wonder that this led to problems throughout his life. Shortly before his death, Poe was found badly beaten and left for dead outside a tavern which had served as a polling station in a local election. TRAIN TO FREEDOM was inspired by the atmosphere of the political campaigning that might have prevailed in that bar.
Untimely death was a recurring feature of Poe’s life and works. Possibly, his inability to come to terms with the death of his mother when he was three years old, found an outlet in so many of his stories of premature burials and the beautiful, though ghostly heroines of his poetry. All of this is reflected in SOMEWHERE IN THE AUDIENCE. It was the sound of words even more than their meaning that enthused Poe. His poem THE BELLS is an outstanding example.
To me, the most graphic of Poe’s tales is THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, which tells the story of a helpless victim of the Spanish Inquisition. THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE is the first detective novel and Poe’s fictional sleuth. C. Auguste Dupin was the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes some sixty years later. TINY STAR is a further reflection on the mother who died when Eddy was three years old. The song is a remembrance of a lullaby that she might have sung.His marriage to his young cousin Virginia inspired GOODBYE TO ALL THAT. She, like his mother, was to die at age twenty four. Rufus Griswold was a jealous rival. Although he was Poe’s literary executor, when Poe died, he wrote a poisonous obituary and did everything he could to bury his works along with the man. Despite Griswold’s efforts, Poe eventually took his rightful place as one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time. The song, IMMORTAL is a reflection on the presence of Poe’s everlasting spirit.”
SOMEWHERE IN THE AUDIENCE is a selection of music from four of Eric Woolfson's musicals - Gaudi, Gambler, POE and Dancing Shadows.
- Vocals have been recorded by leading West End and Broadway performers and three songs from Woolfson's Dancing Shadows musical are released for the very first time.
A recent review by broadwayworld.com says:
" The recording is incredibly well produced and expertly engineered... The selection of performers delivering the numbers has clearly been thought out and not one number can be faulted. Woolfson's music is very emotive and well structured. His storytelling abilities are second to none...I can highly, highly recommend it. Woolfson is a genius and I sincerely hope some of his shows will be heard - and seen - by a larger audience."