Friday, July 22, 2011

OMMADAWN - Mike Oldfield

YEAR: 1975

LABEL: Virgin

TRACK LISTING: Ommadawn (Part One), Ommadawn (Part Two)

BONUS TRACKS: Technically there is a hidden track called "On Horseback" by Mike Oldfield and William Murray which does not appear on the label or album cover

IMPRESSIONS: After the phenomenal worldwide success of his first album TUBULAR BELLS, Mike Oldfield was naturally pressured into producing a follow-up. This sequel was HERGEST RIDGE and it was quite different from the first album causing a sense of disappointment with his record label. However, I much prefer HERGEST RIDGE and OMMADAWN to TUBULAR BELLS as albums; TUBULAR BELLS is really only half a classic album (side one) while the latter two albums are both complete classics. We had TUBULAR BELLS since I was a tot but I first heard OMMADAWN when visiting my father's friend Ronnie's house. Looking back, I seem to have picked up a lot of my "eclectic tastes" from Ronnie and this was no exception. I happened to be reading "The Gormenghast Trilogy" by Mervyn Peake at the time and while I was stashed away in a corner armchair reading Ronnie put on the OMMADAWN record. I will forevermore associate OMMADAWN as the "soundtrack" to the Gormenghast books. As I say, OMMADAWN (and HERGEST RIDGE before it) are much more satisfying as complete albums than TUBULAR BELLS and both are among my favourite albums of all time. The added treat to OMMADAWN is the hidden track "On Horseback" otherwise known as "The Horse Song" which is one of my favourite songs. The sheer joyful abandon of the song never fails to lift me out of a funk.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Um......Ommadawn (Part One), Ommadawn (Part Two), On Horseback

FACT SHEET: OMMADAWN is Mike Oldfield's third album. It is a work in two movements with a "hidden track" song at the end entitled "On Horseback". Oldfield used a Celtic musical influence and utilized traditional instruments like the uillean pipes. This is the only album Oldfield recorded at his home at Hergest Ridge (although his previous album was entitled "HERGEST RIDGE"). Oldfield did not want "sensible lyrics" but just "sounds" so he asked Clodagh Simonds to write down the first words that came into her head. The lyrics she came up with were: "Daddy's in bed. The cat's drinking milk. I'm an idiot, and I'm laughing". The words were then translated into Irish and the word "idiot" translated into "amadan" which Oldfield "anglicized" to "ommadawn". The hidden track "On Horseback" was written and performed by Mike Oldfield and William Murray and commemorates their time riding horses around Hergest Ridge. As usual, Oldfield played many of the instruments himself and engaged other musicians known for their work in folk music i.e. Clodagh Simonds and Paddy Moloney; he also combined this celtic style with African influences by utilizing the drummers of Jabula. This would make OMMADAWN technically the first successful "world music" album.

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