Narrated by Robert Powell, this work was released by Virgin Records in 1975. Great album sleeve with a noteworthy credit being Mike Oldfield assisting on guitars. The album itself comprises of two parts, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner 1 & 2. Oldfield's association with David Bedford went back to The Kevin Ayers and the Whole World band. While Oldfield was flexing his creative muscle and getting frustrated within the confines of that band he confided more and more with David Bedford and struck up a strong rapport with the keyboard player that lasted long after 1975.
This is an unusual album, typical of a Virgin release for the mid 70's in that it allowed the artists to express freely their creative juices. Part one for me is the least accessible with long passages of of frenetic discord with some elements of calm. Remember David Bedford was depicting the mood around the Rime, doldrums, ghosts etc. all interspersed by Powell's narrative. Part two seems to lift up both in mood and in creative output not least some excellent guitar work from Mike Oldfield. The Queen's College Choir lend some pleasant vocal backdrops too. It is a strong work perhaps indicating that composer and keyboardist Bedford was thoroughly enjoying these experimental days. He did though have stronger studio output than this.
Indeed, the most accesible part of this album belongs to the performance of a nice tune called The Rio Grande, based on "a traditional sea-shanty" as Bedford said, sung by Queen's College Choir and soloists, accompanied by Oldfield's talent with his guitar. There are only two tracks on this CD. So you can't go straight to that part, which you may well want to. But the work's only 40 minutes long, and you need to hear it all.
In 1970's speak, it's an experience.
Part 1 – 20'29"
Part 2 – 20'38"
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