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Magnum - 1985 On A Storytellers Night

ARTIST: Magnum
ALBUM: On A Storytellers Night
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 827609-1
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1985, Polydor, 827609-2 * 1985, FM Revolver, WKFMXD34 * 1993, Jet (UK), JETCD 1007 * 2002, Castle Music/Sanctuary, CMRCD557 * 2005, Castle Music, CMQDD1115 (20th Anniversary, expanded edition)


LINEUP: Bob Catley - vocals * Tony Clarkin - guitars * Mark Stanway - keyboards * Wally Lowe - bass * Jim Simpson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 How Far Jerusalem * 02 Just Like An Arrow * 03 On A Storytellers Night * 04 Before First Light * 05 Les Morts Dansant * 06 Endless Love * 07 Two Hearts * 08 Steal Your Heart * 09 All Englands Eyes * 10 The Last Dance


The early-mid eighties period saw the development of UK band Magnum, from being more than just a support band to a full-blown musical entity in their own right. Coming to attention during the late seventies, the band released a few albums of traditional UK pomp on Don Arden's label Jet Records, plus support tours with the likes of fellow 'brummies' Judas Priest and US rock legends Blue Oyster Cult. Their 1982 and 1983 efforts 'Chase The Dragon' and 'Eleventh Hour' consolidated on the work to date, thrown in there were a few appearances at the annual Reading Festival. By the time 1985 rolled around, Magnum were on the brink of something special - history will show that the album 'On A Storytellers Night' proved to be that special catalyst..

The Songs
Mixing mythical imagery and commercial pomp somewhere between Grand Prix and Asia, 'OASTN' has a balanced mix of songs onboard, skirting around the shorter intense bursts to the more drawn out passages akin to the best labor intensive prog bands out there. The latter is best reflected on the classic opener 'How Far Jerusalem' - with a dramatic keyboard intro. Plus we've got the fatalistic 'Les Morts Dansant' ('Dance Of The Dead'). Or there's the superb myth and magic of 'On A Storytellers Night'. Equally effective are the commercial fireworks of 'Just Like An Arrow', 'Before First Light' and the delicate AOR of 'Two Hearts'. The parping pomp hits home on 'Steal Your Heart', reminiscent of the aforementioned Grand Prix, while 'All Englands Eyes' follows in the same vein. The wistful ballad 'The Last Dance' finishes up on an air of grace and grandeur.

In Summary
Simply a 'must-have' album for any supporter of AOR and melodic rock - and one which sits quite nicely in my Top 50 albums of the eighties decade. The band followed this up with a couple of superb efforts: the commercial enterprise of 'Vigilante' and the chart success that was 'Wings Of Heaven'. Both albums well worth obtaining for those followers of British pomp. However, the pick of the bunch is this timeless classic, still making for great listening years after the event.

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#1 | george_the_jack on June 06 2008 14:38:25
JEWEL! Enough said!
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 10:43:26
Still a fabulous album 20 years on and proof that the Brits can do the Pomp thing just aswell,(if not better in this case) as anyone. The word 'Classic' gets overly used on a regular basis, this is one album in which that word is justified.
#3 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 13:45:08
All killer no filler.POMP Masterpiece.I love this album.
#4 | swazi on November 22 2011 22:46:56
Very close to brilliant. Nuff said!
#5 | george_the_jack on November 23 2011 17:58:57
What about the Sanctuary reissue? Is it any good?
#6 | gdazegod on November 23 2011 21:01:42
Both the Castle Music reissues (2002 and 2005) are not remasters I believe. However, the 2005 release is a 20th Anniversary set, which contains 2 CD's, the second being a disc full of demos. Here's a link:
#7 | george_the_jack on November 23 2011 22:26:05
Thank you George.I was just wondering about these sanctuary versions that float the net.It's from 2008.
#8 | code4 on October 20 2015 02:48:33
I would like to know how i missed this one in 15 years buying AOR cd's. I got Vigilante about 6 months ago and just got this one. I relatively (sometimes very much) enjoyed Vigilante but the majority of this album has blown me away.
#9 | Nick C on October 20 2015 16:22:21
Hahaha! code4, I'm going through the same, I've just spent the last month or so grabbing the remaining Magnum catalogue (I only had Kingdom, II and Marauder them in themselves I only picked up about 6 months back).
#10 | code4 on October 20 2015 18:05:40
Nice one Nick! I have a feeling this won't be the last Magnum cd i buy either now. I was ready to leave it at 'Vigilante' (at least for the foreseeable future) until i got this one. And I suppose the order i might get more magnum cd's in doesn't really matter now since as i've started in such an illogical way! (though something tells me to go backwards first of all). Cheers! Was great to hear
#11 | code4 on October 20 2015 18:21:27
Btw, just wanted to add that the characters on the cover art to this cd (one or two of them strongly so) reminded of a book we used to have as kids called Goblins by English artist Brian Froud. It was an illustrated book where things would pop out at you as you turned the pages. If you search Goblins Brian Froud with google images the second photo (going right from top to bottom) that comes up with the character with a big head above a human baby is the one in particular that brought this forgotten book right back to me like magic (after looking at the Magnum cover). In fact i thought these were so similar that i was almost expecting if i typed Goblins Rodn.. into google i was going to see Goblins Rodney Matthews pop up as the illustrator. Cheers

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