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Batt, Mike - 1977 Schizophonia

ARTIST: Batt, Mike
ALBUM: Schizophonia
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1990, Epic, 460208-2


LINEUP: Mike Batt - vocals, keyboards * Chris Speeding, Roger McKew, Les Thatcher, Alan Parker - guitars * Herbie Flowers, Les Hurdle, Rick Kemp - bass * Clem Cattini, Terry Cox - drums * Ray Cooper, Cor Anglais, Anthony Candem - percussion * Chris Karan - tablas * Brian Cole - steel guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Ride To Agidir * 02 Berber's Prayer * 03 The Walls Of The World * 04 Insh'allah * 05 The Fires Of Rabat * 06 It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time * 07 Bouree * 08 Railway Hotel * 09 Voices In The Dark * 10 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood


Anyone remember The Wombles? It seems they were popular British television characters, similar to the American Banana Splits dressed in heavy costumes playing rock music for the pre-teen set. Composer Mike Batt was chief song writer for The Wombles and having heard a couple of their singles, they weren't too bad and kinda fun. Of course, Batt was far more than a bubblegum pop writer (not that there's anything wrong with that) composing music for the award winning film 'Watership Down' as well as recording a handful of solo albums that moved closer to progressive rock and are definitely worth hearing, especially 'Schizophonia'.

The Songs
Side one is essentially a concept surrounding the Moroccan battle against the French two centuries ago. Beginning with 'The Ride To Agadir', this song is a near perfect mixture of World music and progressive rock and the mixture of ethnic beats with classical orchestrations via the London Symphony Orchestra is mesmerizing. Side two's opening instrumental 'The Fires Of Rabat' follows the same path as the previous conceptual masterpiece. 'It Seemed Like A good Idea At The Time' is nothing but pure pop with a nostalgic twist. Sort of like The Beach Boys meeting up with early Moody Blues at an Ice Cream social. Delightful stuff as is the Cover of J.S Bach's 'Bouree' and the beautiful 'Railway Hotel' which again brings to mind the Moody Blues at their very best. Closing the 'Schizophonia' out with the classic 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' with full Orchestra is sheer genius. Here we have a completely different take on the song made famous by The Animals in the 60's and it works almost to the point were it becomes something altogether new and fresh.

In Summary
For fans of the Alan Parsons Project, Intergalactic Touring Band, Moody Blues and Jeff Wayne's monumental 'War Of The Worlds' album, 'Schizoponia is essential listening. Other recommended Mike Batt albums include 'Tarot Suite', 'Six Days In Berlin' and 'Zero Zero' to name just a few and Batt continues to work between the classical and pop world producing albums for Justin Hayward and is responsible for creating and producing the female classical foursome Bond. The man has taste!

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#1 | swazi on November 20 2011 23:35:59
Back in the days a colleague used to drive me crazy by constantly humming this song "Ride to Agadir". He just couldn't stop. lol!

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