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Tracklist: The Meeting: 1. Me oh My 2. Silly Sunshine The Talking: 3. Bits of Your Life, Bits of My Life 4. For a Very Special Person 5. The Dreamer Flies Back 6. Misunderstood 7. Better Things Are Bound To Come The Walk Home: 8. On a Night In Winter The Joy: 9. On Top of My Own Special Mountain 10. Mary (the Painter) 11. All the Colours of My Book The Doubt: 12. Going Away Again The Sorrow: 13. A Chance to Be Free The Scorn: 14. I See You As You Used to Be The Grief: 15. Letters From Her 16. My Friend Line-up: Michael Richardson - vocals Anthony Mumford - bass guitar, vocals Richard Lane - lead guitar, vocals Christopher Jones - rhythm guitar, vocals Christopher Parren - electric organ, piano & harpsichord, vocals Barry Broad - drums John M. Hudson - piano, electric harpsichord (on 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, & 15). All words & music written by John M. Hudson. Vocal & instrumental arrangements by John M. Hudson & Forever Amber. Produced by John M. Hudson. Recorded at "Studio Sound" (Hitchin). Engineered by Mike Swain.
Prologue. According to the CD's booklet (and the Gibraltar Encyclopedia, by the way), Forever Amber's only "The Love Cycle" album musically represents "psych" (i.e. the well-known psychedelic Rock music). "A cross between early Pink Floyd and Zombies" (this is already a quotation).
The Album. I am asserting that the music of the only Forever Amber "The Love Cycle" album has nothing to do with the psych music and the creation of both mentioned bands, especially with the (Great!) early Pink Floyd - the real Fathers of Progressive Rock. Actually, most of the 16 songs of the album represent just more or less a good imitation of (very, very) early Beatles (1962-1963), when the band performed the most simple and shortest songs they ever played. There are just a few tracks that don't remind me of The Beatles both vocally and instrumentally: Misunderstood, On Top of My Own Special Mountain, I See You As You Used to Be, and Letters From Her (tracks 6,9,14, & 15). While both the latter songs are beautiful, completely acoustic ballads (they're the only that are performed without drumming, which is simply awful on this album). Misunderstood has a slight trace of a medieval feel, and On Top of My Own Special Way contains the nice organ and bass guitar solos in the instrumental arrangement. In other words, all these four songs are the best on the album, because (quoting myself) "Originality is the main trump of any true artist". It must be said that at least vocally, all the other 12 songs sound like typical early Beatles, except those few episodes in which all the band's vocalists sing together (do not confuse these choir parts with backing vocals that are always Beatles-esque here as well as all lead vocals). Instrumentally, there are, however, several tracks on the album that sound different from The Beatles absolutely. These are, of course, those songs that have organ parts (including solos) in their compositional 'schemes' ( we all know that The Beatles never did use the organ). But does it really matter to talk about the presence of organ in the band's equipment since the majority of instrumental parts they played are short and simple? And, after all, vocals played the main part in the creation of early Beatles. So I don't think there is a necessity to list the songs that feature organ parts.
Summary. There are, however, a few songs with instrumental arrangements that include some of the most primitive, yet progressive, elements. These are Silly Sunshine, The Dreamer Flies Back, and On Top of My Own Special Mountain (already mentioned above), which, with the longest and most diverse instrumental part, is undoubtedly the best song on the album. So, there are only six, more or less decent songs, out of sixteen on the album. Despite the fact that there are only six really original songs on the album, I am sure that most of the lovers of The Beatles will be pleased with "Forever Amber" as a whole.
VM. October 31, 2001
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