Alan Parsons

Band members                             Related acts

  line up x  (2019)

- Ian Bairnson -- guitar

- Tom Brooks -- keyboards

- Pat Caddick -- keyboards

- Carl-Magnus Carlsson -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Vinnie Ciesielsk -- trumpet

- Vinnie Colaitua -- drums, percussion 

- Todd Cooper -- sax, vocals, percussion

- Nathan East -- bass

- Andy Ellis -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Guy Erez -- bass

- Michael Fitzpatrick -- cello

- Lou Gramm - vocals

- Steve Hackett -- guitar

- Jordan Huffman - vocals

- Jeff Kollman -- guitar

- Jared Mahone -- vocals

- Mark Mikel -- vocals

- Jason Mraz -- vocals

- P.J. Olson -- vocals

- Alan Parsons -- guitar, keyboards, vocals, percussion

- Jeff Peterson -- bass

- Angelo Pizzaro -- keyboards

- Doug Powell -- backing vocals

- Tony Rosacci -- guitar

- Jake Shimabukuro -- ukulele

- Danny Thompson -- drums, percussion

- Dan Tracey -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- Oscar Utterstrom -- trombone


  line up x (2023)

- Kim Ballad -- sax

- Joe Bonsamassa -- guitar

- Tom Brooks -- keyboards

- Todd Cooper -- cello, lead vocals, backing vocals

- James Durbin -- guitar, vocals

- Guy Erez -- drums, percussion

- Tabitha Fair -- lead vocals, backing vocals

- Scott Hunt -- backing vocals

- Jeff Kollman -- guitar

- Mika Larson -- guitar

- Matt McCarrin -- keyboards

- Mark Mikel, -- lead vocals, backing vocals

- Jeff Marshall -- guitar

- P.J. Olsson -- lead vocals, backing vocals

- David Pack -- lead vocals

- Alan Parsons -- lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar

- Doug Powell -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals,

- Tommy Shaw -- lead vocals, backing vocals

- Chris Shutters -- backing vocals

- Dan Tracey -- lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar







- Alan Parsons Project



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Secret

Company: Frontier

Catalog:  024391 094358

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: sealed; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 30994

Price: $60.00

Hearing 2019's "The Secret" probably marked the first time I'd thought about, let alone listened to an Alan Parsons album since the mid-'90s.   Not a swipe at Parsons, but when you have a stressful job and a busy family life, what little spare time you find, just doesn't lend itself to pulling out one of his records.


Alan Parson's first release since 2004's "A Valid Path", the self-produced "The Secret" was of course a concept piece.  Like many Parsons projects, the plotline wasn't particularly clear, but the majority of tracks were apparently inspired by his love of magic.  I found this online quote:  "Magic has always been a passion of mine, I am a member of The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.  I've also worked with the Japanese magic company Tenyo, writing instruction books and catalogs for their tricks.  I dabble with magic myself in my free time, so an album with magical influences was a natural progression."  While magic may have been the underlying theme, there didn't appear to be a cohesive plotline across the eleven tracks.  Material like 'One Note Symphony', 'As Light Falls', 'Miracle' and 'Soiree Fantastique' all referenced the topic, but in different ways.  Musically it made for a collection that was very much a throwback to prime mid-'70s Alan Parsons Project territory.  As a big fan of those albums, this set readily reminded me of "I Robot", "Pyramid" and "Turn of a Friendly Card".  The big difference this time around was the inclusion of some big name collaborators.  Admittedly former Genesis lead guitarist Steve Hackett (lead guitar on the instrumental 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice') and former Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm (vocals on the power ballad 'Sometimes') probably didn't make much of an impact with the under twenty crowd.  In contrast, Jason Mraz's participation on 'Miracle' probably did attract some under 20 attention.  If I had one criticism of the album it has to do with the sheer number of big ballads.  By my count there were six with side two closing with three in a row.  Too many ...   I guess it's a minor thing.  You see the phrase "nice comeback" all the time, but I'll argue that this was the real deal for Parsons, though outside of his core fans, nobody seemed to be paying much attention.  Shame.  Their loss.


"The Secret" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Sorcerer's Apprentice (instrumental)   (Paul Duka - arranged by Tom Brooks - Alan Parsons) - 5:47   rating: *** stars

Well, I'm a big fan of "Fantasia" and I like Steve Hackett era Genesis.  That said, this collaboration on a cover/reinterpretation of Paul Duka's classic composition just didn't do much for me.  It might have something to do with the images of Mickie Mouse and marching brooms that still occasionally haunt my dreams.  I will admit that the track sounded amazing on a pair of quality headphones, or good '70s speakers.  

2.) Miracle  (Guy Erez - Andy Ellis - Alan Parsons) - 3:25   rating: **** stars

I'll admit I wasn't expecting much from a collaboration with Jason Mraz - Shame on me for being a skeptic.  Mraz's lightweight voice was a perfect compliment to this breezy, radio-friendly pop ballad.  And the damn refrain was like aural crack cocaine.  Hard to believe it didn't return Parson's to the top-40.  Oh wait; there was no mindless rap segment and no auto tuning ...  I found brief interviews with Parsons and Mraz where they talked about recording the tune.  


I met Jason two years ago through a neighbor who grows coffee on his ranch. Jason wanted to grow coffee himself and our neighbor, Jay was kind enough to introduce us since we had mutual musical interests. For 'Miracle’, Jason recorded his vocals in Dallas while I listened in Santa Barbara and we sent files back and forth, resulting in this song. Thus proving that you don't necessarily have to be in the same studio with someone to create music." - Parsons

  "I loved it. It sounded like a song right off of 'Eye In The Sky'. As if no time had passed, proving time might just be a construct after all" - Mraz

3.) As Lights Fall   (Dan Tracey - Alan Parsons)- 3:59   rating: **** stars

With Parsons handling lead vocals, I had to wonder why he was always reluctant to take the spotlight.  He certainly sounded good to my ears.  Musically 'As Lights Fall' was very much a sonic throwback, recalling the sound and feel of his mid-'70s catalog.  Hopefully the lyrics weren't meant to be taken literally - "this will be my last call ..."   Parsons even did a cute, career spanning promotional video for the tune: 

4.) One Note Symphony  (Alan Parsons - Todd Cooper - Tom Brooks) - 4:43   rating: **** stars

'One Note Symphony' should send science and space geeks into aural ecstasy.  Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the title is based on the Schumman Resonance which is the universal sound the Earth makes as it travels through space - 7.83 hertz (you can hear the tone at the start of the song).   With Todd Clark on lead vocals, musically the song reflects a classic Parsons arrangement and song structure.  It could easily have fit on "I Robot".  The spoken word snippet is a nice nod to author Arthur C. Clarke  with the words "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" nicely tying the track back to the "magic" theme).  YouTube has a promotional video featuring Parsons and company performing the tune with the Israel Philharmonic:

5.) Sometimes  (Pat Caddick - Alan Parsons) - 5:08   rating: ** stars

Having recovered from prolonged health issues, admittedly former Foreigner front man Lou Gramm sounded quite good on 'Sometimes'.  A big, somewhat anonymous, radio-friendly power ballad, the tune would not have sounded out of place on a Foreigner album.  It actually wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Billy Joel album.  The problem wasn't Gramm's instantly recognizable voice (though he sounded like he was trying to make up for not liking the tune by powering his way through the performance), rather the bland and forgettable song ...


(side 2)

1.) Soiree Fantastique   (Todd Cooper - Doug Powell - Tom Brooks - Alan Parsons) - 5:27   rating: **** stars

Beautiful ballad with nice, if somewhat stereotype French musical touches - Paris back street accordion flourishes...  Todd Cooper's finest moment and worth hearing for the gorgeous vocal harmonies ...

2.) Fly To Me  (Mike Mikel - Jeff Kollman - Alan Parsons) - 3:45   rating: **** stars

The ballad 'Fly To Me' featured Mike Mikel (of Dark Ocean Colors and The Pillbugs fame) on lead vocals.  Initially the track struck me as yet another pretty, but forgettable ballad, but after a couple of spins it struck me that Mikel's performance bore more than a passing resemblance to John Lennon with the guitar solo reflecting kind of a George Harrison vibe.  Extra star for the first rate influences.

3.) Requiem    (Todd Cooper - Doug Powell - Bob Cooper - Alan Parsons) - 4:02   rating: *** stars

'Requiem' found Parsons and company dipping their toes into a big band arrangement ...  Another one that initially didn't do a great deal for me.  Echoes of Michael Buble crossed with the late George Michaels ...  It actually sounded like it was written for some kind of movie soundtrack.  And while it isn;t my favorite performance, I'll admit that Todd Cooper turned in a killer vocal on this one.  

4.) Years of Glory   (P.J. Olson - Alan Parsons) - 4:05   rating: **** star

Olson's inspiration for 'Years of Glory' came at least partially from the loss of his son.  Knowing that, as a parent I found the song almost painful to listen to. The song was stunning beautiful with Todd Cooper's sax solo reminding me of a good Al Stewart song.   The subject matter is one of those life events we all pray we never have to endure ...  Longtime Parsons sidekick Ian Bairnson provided the blazing guitar solo.

5.) The Limelight Fades Away   (Jordan Huffman - Dan Tracey - Alan Parsons) - 3:36   rating: *** stars

And just when I thought I'd gone into ballad overload the chorus of 'The Limelight Fades Away' hit my headphones. Nice AOR tune that had quite a bit of radio potential.  Can't say I know much about Huffman other than he toured with Parsons and is Parsons' son in law.  

6.) I Can't Get There From Here   (Patrick Johnson - David Russo - Jared Mahone - Alan Parsons) - 4:38   rating: *** stars

Johnson apparently wrote the song after Parsons and long time collaborator Eric Woolfsen ended their partnership.  It then made it into his film "5-25-77" (the day the original "Star Wars" film was released).  This version featured Jared Mahone who sure sounded like The Zombies Colin Blunstone.  Another sweet ballad which sadly pushed me over the edge into a diabetic coma.  Built largely on clips from Johnson's film, there's a video for the tune at:




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  From the New World

Company: Frontier

Catalog:  024391 120455

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: sealed; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00


I wish I could say I loved 2022's "From the New World.'  It occasionally sounds like classic Alan Parsons Project, with a distinctive retro feel that actually made me pull out a couple of his older releases (many which I had not looked at in twenty plus years).  As you'd expect, the sound was crystal clear throughout and Parsons again recruited an interesting group of collaborators including super guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Gospel singer Tabitha Fair, Ambrosia's David Pack and Styx's Tommy Shaw.  It was obviously a treat to listen to a new Parsons album and I enjoyed about half of the collection, particularly the stripped down, up-tempo performances like 'The Secret' and 'Uroboros' (featuring Tommy Shaw on lead vocals)  Elsewhere the album suffered from an overabundance of ballads. While I love a sweet ballad as much as the next person, hearing three in a row ('Don't Fade Now', 'Give 'em Love' and 'Obstacles') all but brought the album to a standstill.  Even more of a curiosity, a couple of these performances just sounded out of place.  Featuring James Durbin on lead vocals, 'Give 'em My Love' was a country ballad. Parson's re-purposing of Antonin Dvorak's 'New World Symphony, Second Movement' as 'Goin' Home' sounded like something off a Broadway cast album.  Similarly, seemingly intended as a tribute to the late Ronnie Spector, the closer 'Be My Baby' just sounded like a last minute addition to fill out the album's running time  Oh it was a nice gesture and Tabitha Fair's performance was lovely, but what was the song doing here?  Not that every Alan Parsons album had to have a unifying concept ...  And what was with Ioannis Vasilopoulos' uninspired artwork?  I guess the best thing I can say is I liked parts of the album.  I just didn't love it.  


"From the New World" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fare thee Well (Alan Parsons - Doug Powell - Todd Cooper) - 4:33  rating: *** stars

A big, ponderous, heavily orchestrated ballad, I have to admit 'Fare thee Well' effortlessly captured the classic Alan Parsons sound.  Part of the sense of familiarity came from the fact the opening synthesizer pattern recalled 'Sirius' from 1982's "Eye In the Sky".  As you'd expect, the tune featured a shiny melody and tasteful vocals from Todd Cooper.  With lyrical nods to numerous Alan Parsons Project tunes, the track was apparently a nod to Parsons' late songwriting partner Eric Woolfson who had passed on back in 2009.   Again, the song sounded a lot like earlier Parsons efforts, with a touch of David Gilmour thrown in the blend.  That was a good thing for Parsons fans, but if you were hoping for something a little different - not here.

2.) The Secret (Alan Parsons - Mark Mikel - Jeff Kollman) - 4:13 rating: **** stars

The title track from the 2019's album of the same name ...  You're left to wonder why 'The Secret' was left off the earlier album.  Featuring Mark Mikel's 's dry voice, the track ditched some of the earlier orchestration marking a return to a more pop-oriented sound.  In the process the performance reminded me of some of his earlier offerings.  Nice Jeff Kollman guitar solo.

3.) Uroboros (Todd Cooper - Doug Powell &- Alan Parsons)- 4:05 rating: **** stars

'Uroboros' returned to the theme of Parsons revisiting past glories - in this case one needed look no further than the cover of 1985's "Vulture Culture" which featured the "Uroboros" (or "Ouroboros) concept on the cover.  In case you wondered, it refers to an ancient Egyptian symbol of life reflects a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.  Tapped as the album's first single,  the track  featured Styx's Tommy Shaw on lead vocals.  As a child of the '70s I grew up on a seemingly never-ending stream of Styx , but I have to admit I was never overwhelmed by Shaw's performances.  That made this one of the album's biggest surprises - Shaw's performance was really good.  His voice proved a great match for the song's AOR-progressive leanings.  Here's a link to the promotional video which also included a series of references to the APP past catalog: Alan Parsons - "Uroboros" ft. Tommy Shaw of @styxtheband - Official Music Video - YouTube

4,) Don't Fade Now (Alan Parsons - Guy Erez - Andy Ellis) - 4:12 rating: **** stars

With Parsons and P.J. Olsson sharing lead vocals the ballad 'Don't Fade Now' offered up a pleasant folk-tinged ballad.  Quite different from Parsons' normal sound and maybe because it was quiet and laidback, I enjoyed it.  I was also surprised by how melodic Parsons' voice was.  He's never been a great singer, but on this one he sounded warm and comfortable.  Even better were Joe Bonamassa's guitar solos.  Can't say the same thing for the promotional video which was pretty new-age-ish and bland: Alan Parsons "Don't Fade Now" Music Video (HD) - YouTube

5.) Give 'em My Love (James Durbin - Julian Colbeck - Alan Parsons) - 3:17 rating: ** stars

I'd never heard American Idol participant (season 10) and Quiet Riot lead singer (2017-19) James Durbin before. His country-tinged voice took a moment to get acclimated to.  Durbin had a nice enough voice, but 'Give 'em My Love' just seemed totally out of place on this album.   A pretty country ballad, you'd be hard pressed to find a song that had less of an Alan Parsons feel.  Not even a nice Joe Bonamassa solo could make up for that disconnected feeling.  Imagine Blake Shelton picking a rapper on "American Idol".  YouTube has a promotional clip for the song where Durbin wrote in and commented on the track: "We wrote the song for the Masterclass recording session, though I’d had the chorus idea for a while. We tell our loved ones “give em my love” when they go to visit family or friends, what if we said it to loved ones in their final moments of life to bring this love with them as a beacon to souls who’ve already passed, so they know they’re not forgotten. Writing, performing & recording this song was very therapeutic for all involved."  Here's a link to the YouTube clip: Alan Parsons - "Give 'Em My Love" ft. @JamesDurbinOfficial - Official Lyric Video | @alanparsons - YouTube


(side 2)

1.) Obstacles (Alan Parsons - Mark Mikel - Jeff Kollman) - 3:32 rating: ** stars

Mark Mikel handled lead vocals on the ballad 'Obstacles.'  The song's most interesting facet was how much Mikel sounded like APP's David Paton.  At least this one sounded like an Alan Parson song; albeit not a very good one.

2.) I Won't Be Led Astray (David Minasian - Kim Bullard - Alan Parsons) - 4:36  rating: *** stars

Hey we haven't heard a slow number in a while ...  Yeah another ballad.  Admittedly this one had one thing going for it with David Pack handling lead vocals (Parsons on backing vocals).  Unfortunately the song was a bit short on melody, though the refrain was nice. Bonsamassa tried to inject a little energy into the proceedings, but it just never hit critical mass.  Perhaps because of Pack's participation the song was tapped as a single and was accompanied by a bland video: Alan Parsons - "I Won't Be Led Astray" ft. David Pack, Joe Bonamassa - Official Music Video - YouTube

3.) You Are the Light  (Alan Parsons - Dan Tracey - Keith Howland) - 4:33  rating: *** stars

Thankfully 'You Are the Light' spared is another ballad, instead showcasing a mid-tempo pop tune.  Featured Parsons and Dan Tracey on lead vocals, the song featured a catchy, but anonymous melody.  It would have been better were it not for Parsons flat and uninspired vocals. Tracey's contributions simply buried Parsons.  Should have let him handle lead vocals.

4.) Halos (Alan Parsons - P.J. Olsson - Dan Tracey) - 4:14 rating: **** stars

Well the song title sounded like an Alan Parsons product.  Musically the track started out reminding me of a mash-up of Norman Whit\field (great bass line) and Phil Collins-era Genesis, before drifting off into Pink Floyd soundscapes.  Must say I really liked P.J. Olsson's whispery vocals.  One of my favorite performances, though the abrupt ending was a disappointment. This is another song accompanied by a promotional video: Alan Parsons "Halos" Music Video (HD) - YouTube.

5,) Goin' Home (Antonín Dvorák - William Arms Fisher - Tom Brooks - Alan Parsons) - 4:45  rating: *** stars

Nothing against classical music - some of the world's most beautiful art is reflected in classical pieces.  In fact 'Goin' Home appears the be based on the second movement of Antonin Dvorak's 'New World Symphony'. With Parsons and Tom Brooks providing lyrics, the result was pretty, but sounded like something pulled off a Broadway cast album.  Parsons vocals were ..  well they were certainly heartfelt.

6.) Be My Baby (Alan Parsons - Jeff Barry - Ellie Greenwich - Phil Spector) - 2:42 rating: ** stars

Ronnie Spector passed on during the recording sessions which was apparently the inspiration for including a cover of The Ronnettes 'Be My Baby.'   The original stands as the classic version which bodes poorly for any cover. Featuring Tabitha Fair on vocals and Joe Bonamassa on guitar, the cover is a nice tribute, but it sound out of place on the album.