Tales of Taliesin: The EMI Years Anthology 1975-1981

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Lynch
When it comes to Soft Machine, it seems like Karl Jenkins can never catch a break -- even here. Open up the booklet accompanying this double-disc compilation taken from the group's Jenkins-led Harvest/EMI years, and you are greeted by the package's largest photograph -- of Mike Ratledge. A photo of Ratledge would make perfect sense on any Softs compilation covering the band's entire history, but this comp is about Jenkins more than any other single musician, and, in fact, Ratledge only features on the first five out of 25 tracks here, since he departed after the 1975 Harvest LP Bundles. So how about a Jenkins rather than Ratledge photo, at least this one time? As far as the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Lynch
When it comes to Soft Machine, it seems like Karl Jenkins can never catch a break -- even here. Open up the booklet accompanying this double-disc compilation taken from the group's Jenkins-led Harvest/EMI years, and you are greeted by the package's largest photograph -- of Mike Ratledge. A photo of Ratledge would make perfect sense on any Softs compilation covering the band's entire history, but this comp is about Jenkins more than any other single musician, and, in fact, Ratledge only features on the first five out of 25 tracks here, since he departed after the 1975 Harvest LP Bundles. So how about a Jenkins rather than Ratledge photo, at least this one time? As far as the music -- the most important thing here, obviously -- and especially Sid Smith's "set the record straight" liner notes are concerned, the comp does a better job, but there are still problems. Smith effectively counterbalances the often prevailing notion that the Jenkins-led Softs were Soft Machine in name only, and when Allan Holdsworth unleashes his utterly relentless guitar solo from Bundles' "Hazard Profile, Pt. 1," the introductory salvo that introduced Holdsworth to his largest audience thus far, you are likely to be as wowed as any mid-'70s Softs fan who was willing to give the band's then-newest lineup a try. And there are certainly key tracks here -- "Bundles," "The Tale of Taliesin," "Out of Season," the live "Odds Bullets and Blades, Pts. 1-2" and "Huffin'" -- that demonstrate not only the skill of the musicians, but also how Jenkins tailored his composing, with its tricky meters, thematic and melodic sensibilities, and spacy floating synth interludes, to a Soft Machine sound that arguably harked all the way back to the landmark Third. But as is often the case with compilations linked to a specific label above all else, there was apparently a perceived need to touch upon all four of the Softs' Harvest/EMI albums, including 1981's Land of Cockayne, a rather bloated and ponderous effort that saw even fans of Jenkins' '70s Softs work begin to kick around that "in name only" phrase. By featuring four tracks from Land of Cockayne -- and also including fully 11 tracks from 1978's Alive & Well CD and its 2010 expanded edition -- Bundles and the 1976 John Etheridge-showcasing Softs are arguably given short shrift on Tales of Taliesin. And in fact, some of the few tracks that were included from Bundles and Softs might've been traded out for others "The Man Who Waved at Trains," "Ban-Ban Caliban" to improve the variety and quality of the comp overall. Still, there is some killer idiosyncratic jazz-rock here, and it's good to see positive attention directed toward a Soft Machine era that is often unjustly dismissed.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/2/2011
  • Label: Esoteric
  • EAN: 5013929738126
  • Catalog Number: 2973812
  • Sales rank: 206,732

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Hazard Profile, Pt. 1 (9:20)
  2. 2 Gone Sailing (0:58)
  3. 3 Bundles (3:14)
  4. 4 Land of the Bag Snake (3:37)
  5. 5 The Floating World (7:09)
  6. 6 The Tale of Taliesin (7:21)
  7. 7 Out of Season (5:31)
  8. 8 Second Bundle (2:37)
  9. 9 Nexus (0:49)
  10. 10 One Over the Eight (5:26)
  11. 11 Number Three (2:25)
  12. 12 The Nodder (7:14)
Disc 2
  1. 1 White Kite (3:00)
  2. 2 Eos (1:20)
  3. 3 Odds Bullets and Blades, Pt. 1 (2:18)
  4. 4 Odds Bullets and Blades, Pt. 2 (2:35)
  5. 5 Puffin' (1:17)
  6. 6 Huffin' (4:41)
  7. 7 K's Riff (4:40)
  8. 8 Song of Aeolus (3:42)
  9. 9 Soft Space (8:19)
  10. 10 Over n' Above (7:23)
  11. 11 (Black) Velvet Mountain (5:08)
  12. 12 Sly Monkey (4:58)
  13. 13 Panaramania (7:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Soft Machine Primary Artist
Jack Bruce Bass
Allan Holdsworth Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar, 12-string Guitar
Roy Babbington Bass Guitar
Steve Cook Bass Guitar
John Etheridge Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Karl Jenkins Synthesizer, Piano, Conductor, Oboe, Electric Piano, Soprano Saxophone, Mini Moog, Synthesizer Strings, Pianette
John Marshall Percussion, Drums
Dick Morrissey Tenor Saxophone
Alan Parker Rhythm Guitar
Mike Ratledge Organ, Synthesizer, Electric Piano
Tony Rivers Background Vocals
Alan Wakeman Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ray Warleigh Bass Flute, Alto Saxophone
Rick Sanders Violin
John Perry Background Vocals
Stu Calver Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Soft Machine Producer
Allan Holdsworth Composer
Roy Babbington Composer
John Etheridge Composer
Paul Hardiman Engineer
Karl Jenkins Arranger, Composer, Director
John Leckie Engineer
John Marshall Composer, Director
Paul Northfield Engineer
Bernie O'Gorman Engineer
Neil Richmond Engineer
Mike Thorne Producer
Alan Wakeman Composer
Bill Harman Orchestra Leader
Sid Smith Liner Notes
Ben Wiseman Mastering
Terry Evenett Engineer
John Temperley Engineer
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