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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Ryan, Paul - 1976 Scorpio Rising
Ryan, Paul - 1976 Scorpio Rising

ARTIST: Ryan, Paul
ALBUM: Scorpio Rising
LABEL: Charisma
YEAR: 1976


LINEUP: Paul Ryan - vocals, keyboards, orchestral arrangements * Ray Roberts, Tony Hymas - piano * Dave Cakebread, John Bachini - bass * Kevin Stephenson, Kevin Peek - guitars * Tony Beard, Peter Wright - drums * Marilyn Stephenson - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Scorpio Rising * 02 Star * 03 Angel * 04 Heaven & Hell * 05 The Day That Anastasia Romanoff Died * 06 Sober Phobia * 07 Man In The Crowd (C'est La Vie) * 08 Take It All

One half of the duo Paul & Barry Ryan, the brothers made a big splash in the UK and Europe during the 1960's with a bevy of pop-perfect hit singles all of which turned out to be a little more than stressful for young Paul who suffered a nasty nervous breakdown in the later part of that tumultuous decade. Preferring writing, especially for Barry's solo career (remember 'Eloise'?) to the typical trials and tribulations of being in a successful pop band; Paul Ryan faded from the glaring spotlight for several years until somehow coaxed out of his self-imposed isolation to record what would be in the end, his only solo album for the progressively inclined Charisma label.

The Songs
I know a lot of pop aficionados who dislike 'Scorpio Rising' simply because as it's so far removed from Ryan's earlier swinging '60s offerings, but taken on its own I think it's a forgotten and worth hearing classic of orchestral prog. The stylishly lush and gradually climaxing orchestration of the title track recalls the late great John Barry or some obscure Italian film soundtrack setting the stage for the overall mood of the record is as dark and spacious as any early Vangelis record. The mid-70s albums of David Bedford are reasonable points of reference as well and I'm especially taken by the visions of cosmic loneliness found in 'Star' and the Renaissance meets Pavlov's Dog proggy pop of 'Angel' and 'Heaven & Hell', the latter's chorus dipping into Ryan's soft pop roots. It's a similar story on side two and it sounds like Ryan paid attention to the ELO school of choir effects on both the obscurely titled 'The Day Anastasia Romanoff Died' and the lyrically weird 'Sober Phobia' while seemingly giving up the ghost on the loungey final farewell 'Take It All' in which Paul in an overly emotional- the show must go on - vocal stance could almost pass for Leo Sayer sans the face paint.

In Summary
Ryan passed away from Cancer in 1992. Why he never recorded another album after 'Scorpio Rising' is unclear but it's an LP ripe for CD reissue and I'm somewhat surprised a company like Cherry Red hasn't picked up on it yet. In the meantime the vinyl is still easy to find and a big recommendation to prog lovers looking for that 'something different'.

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#1 | gdazegod on June 13 2011 13:46:27
I wonder if this is in the same league as William Lyall's music?
#2 | Eric on June 13 2011 17:07:46
Somewhat, a little more downbeat, but yeah...
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