Friday, March 28, 2014

Tales From The Progressive Oceans Part. 15

                    RENAISSANCE: Scheherazade & Other Stories (1975)
  When the term 'Symphonic Prog' comes to my mind, this album is always the first one I think of.
Maybe because of the really very good classic-like arrangement in the songs, or maybe because of the 24 minute-long epic 'Song of Scheherazade' which covers all the B-side of the album (In the vinyl version of course), with a whole orchestra participating in it.
 "Scheherazade and Other Stories" is concidered if not the best album of Renaissance, then definetely one of their 2-3 best releases in their long career. The classic line-up is present here, including Annie Haslam in vocals, Jon Camp on bass and vocals, Michael Dunford (who recently passed away) on guitars and backing vocals, John Tout on Keyboards and backing vocals, Terence Sullivan on drums and backing vocals, and Terence Cox who does the orchestral arrangements.
  The album is separated in two main parts in my opinion, and that's more obvious in the vilyl version. The first part which is the first side of the album, and contains 3 wonderful songs, and the second part which is the epic 'Song of Scheherazade' in the second side of the album. Contrary to popular belief 'Song of Scheherazade' is not based on Nikolai-Rimsky Korsakov's "Scheherazade" but there are a few music motifs that might bring to mind his work. The lyrics are based on the famous Arabian tale "1001 nights" as you can easily understand, and tells the story of Schererazade and the Sultan.
  It's rather unfair in my opinion that many people when talking about this album seem to forget the rest of the songs here, and concentrate only to the 'Song of Scheherazade'. This is really pitty, because the first side includes 3 songs, and all of them are top notch! The albums starts with the wonderful 'Trip to the Fair' with the almost 3-minute-long piano intro, which is about Annie Haslam's first date with the musician & composer Roy Wood. Second song is 'The Vultures Fly High' which is another wonderful song, and for sure one of their best works. The first side of the album is closing with 'Ocean Gypsy', which is one of their most famous songs ever.
  I stronly recommend this album to all those who are intrigued by Progressive Rock, and most especially by 'Symphonic Prog'. It's a "Must Have" album without a second thought!
 If I had to rate it, I would give 4.5 out of 5.0 stars easily!
In the following video you can listen to 'Ocean Gypsy' from this album...