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.”
Vinyl LP tracklisting: Side One: 1. Angel Of The Odd 2. Wings Of Eagles 3. Train To Freedom 4. Somewhere In The Audience 5. The Bells
Side Two: 6. The Pit & The Pendulum Part 1 7. The Pit & The Pendulum Part 2 8. The Pit & The Pendulum Part 3 9. The Murders In The Rue Morgue 10. Tiny Star 11. Goodbye To All That 12. Immortal
CD Tracklisting: 1. Angel Of The Odd 2. Wings Of Eagles 3. Train To Freedom 4. Somewhere In The Audience 5. The Bells 6. The Pit And The Pendulum 7. The Murders In The Rue Morgue 8. Tiny Star 9. Goodbye To All That 10. Immortal
“The question I have been asked more than any other over the past 30 years is: “As you are the creator and writer of The Alan Parsons Project, and sometimes lead singer, why is it not called ‘The Eric Woolfson Project’? Or perhaps the ‘Parsons/Woolfson Project?" I describe the decision to call it ‘The Alan Parsons Project’ as both the best and the worst decision of my career.
The best, because I have enjoyed the benefits of the APP success without having to deal with public recognition and media attention. The worst because outside my family and friends, few people have any idea of who I am or what I do, which is a price, I have always felt, was worth paying. At the time Alan and I first met, he was known in the music business, having worked on Pink Floyd’s classic ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ and with the Beatles. I, on the other hand, was relatively unknown. As well as writing the songs and lyrics for the Project, I was also the manager and I felt it would be more beneficial to stay in the shadows with the main focus on Alan’s role as Engineer/ Producer.
When Tim Fraser-Harding at Sony Music asked me in 2006 if there was any unreleased material or alternative mix versions of tracks in the Alan Parsons Project archives my first thought was – probably not much. However, on investigating, I discovered many gems, which I had forgotten about in the 20 years since Alan and I worked together in the studio. Alan and I didn’t always agree on what would make a good Project recording.
It is no secret that Alan’s reaction on first listening to ‘Eye in the Sky’ and ‘Don’t Answer Me’ was less than enthusiastic and I had to argue hard for their inclusion. However, I didn’t always get my way and some songs fell by the wayside. In going through the archives we found abandoned songs or backing tracks of incomplete songs with little or no vocal line and some of these tracks have been included on the recently released, expanded edition APP albums in the untouched form in which we discovered them.
All of this gave rise to an idea that I could perhaps complete some of the unfinished works, together with other material that would unquestionably have been candidates for inclusion had Alan and I continued working together on more Projects, It’s often said that there can be a certain magic for the listener when a composer sings his own material. I certainly was gratified that when I did sing lead vocals on tracks such as ‘Eye in the Sky’, ‘Time’ and ‘Don’t Answer Me’, the reaction was very positive and they became some of our greatest hits. For this reason and in response to many requests and kind comments sent through the websites, all of the songs on this album use my vocals.
Alan Parsons is now based in the US and is more focused on performing live with a band these days. We have travelled along very separate paths since our last collaboration on the album Freudiana in 1990. So for this album, I have turned to two other talented recording engineers – Haydn Bendall and Austin Ince. It has been great fun working on these songs, in various studios, in the comfort of my own home and, of course, in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. I have very much enjoyed the experience of revisiting and completing songs from many eras of my writing life. I hope you enjoy the results!” Eric Woolfson – November 2008
Tracklisting: 1. Golden Key 2. Nothing Can Change My Mind 3. Rumour Goin’ Round 4. Any Other Day 5. I Can See Round Corners 6. Steal Your Heart Away 7. Along The Road Together 8. Somewhere In The Audience 9. Train To Wuxi; Immortal
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."
Tracklisting: 1. Chorus Of Hope 2. Tiny Star 3. Golden Key 4. Parca Guell 5. Somewhere In The Audience 6. Forbidden Fruit 7. What Kind Of World 8. Too Late 9. The Bells 10. Far Away 11. If I Could Write The Book Of Life 12. Halfway 13. Closer To Heaven
For the first time, all 17 songs from the ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ musical are presented on one album - Includes a combination of 9 of the original 'POE, More Tales of Mystery and Imagination' studio recordings, a new orchestrated version of ‘Tiny Star’, together with 7 recordings taken from the live Abbey Road concert performance.
Tracklisting: 1. Angel Of The Odd 2. Tiny Star 3. Wings Of Eagles 4. The Murders In The Rue Morgue 5. Blinded By The Light 6. The Pit And The Pendulum 7. The Raven 8. It Doesn't Take A Genius 9. The Bells 10. Goodbye To All That 11. The Devil I Know 12. Somewhere In The Audience 13. Trust Me 14. Annabel Lee / Let The Sun Shine On Me 15. Train To Freedom 16. What Fools People Are 17. Immortal