The Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery & Imagination – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

Alan Parsons’ concept album based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe was a TAS Super Disc for a while back in the day, and one can easily see why. The sound on the better pressings is big, solid and full-bodied with amazing resolving power and dynamics.

The best copies usually have exceptionally extended top ends. The best top ends are difficult to come by but they sure make a difference in the sound, revealing three-dimensional space that most copies do no better than to hint at. 

The upper harmonics of the instruments are reproduced beautifully here, and there’s ambience and air that are simply not audible on the average original pressing.

This was the first Alan Parsons Project album, and it features songs based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. It’s crazy music for sure, certainly not for everyone, but the recording is excellent, as you might expect from the man who engineered Dark Side Of The Moon, Abbey Road and mixed the first Ambrosia album.

The Raven is a highlight, featuring vocoder-enhanced vocals, a boy’s choir, big rock guitars and crazy synthesizers. Click the “AMG Review” tab above to learn more — they do an excellent job communicating what’s interesting about the music on this album. Those of you who like the first Ambrosia album may get a kick out of this one, as all four members participate in the festivities.

Demo Disc

Sonically the best copies are a real tour de force. I remember when this record came out in 1976. I used to Demo my stereo with it in fact. The opening track has really deep punchy bass and is very dynamic. It makes quite a splash if you turn it up good and loud and have big dynamic speakers.

Alan Parsons has a well-earned reputation as a man who knows how to get amazing sound out of other artists, so you can imagine what kind of impressive work he did when it was time to put his own name on the cover.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

A Dream Within a Dream (Instrumental)
The Raven
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Cask of Amontillado
(The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
The Fall of the House of Usher (Instrumental)

Side Two

i. Prelude
ii. Arrival
iii. Intermezzo
iv. Pavane
v. Fall
To One in Paradise

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

Tales of Mystery and Imagination is an extremely mesmerizing aural journey through some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most renowned works. With the use of synthesizers, drums, guitar, and even a glockenspiel, Parsons’ shivering effects make way for an eerie excursion into Poe’s well-known classics.

The EMI vocoder is used throughout “The Raven” with the Westminster City School Boys Choir mixed in to add a distinct flair to its chamber-like sound. Parsons’ expertise surrounds this album, from the slyness that prevails in “(The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather” to the bodeful thumping of the drums that imitate a heartbeat on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a lengthy but dazzling array of musicianship that keeps the album’s persona intact, while enabling the listener to submerge into its frightening atmosphere. With vocalists Terry Sylvester, John Miles, and Eric Woolfson stretched across each track, this variety of different singing styles adds color and design to the album’s air.

Without any underlying theme to be pondered upon, Alan Parsons instead paints a vivid picture of one of the most alluring literary figures in history by musically reciting his most famous works in expert fashion.