Tarot Suite – Mike Batt and Friends (1979)

Tarot Suite - Mike BattNo other album was played as often in our house during my youth than Tarot Suite by Mike Batt (with the London Symphony Orchestra). My father adored this album like no other. When my parents entertained new friends at our house my father was insistent that this record be played. Like my father I had this urgency to get this album out there. I played songs from Tarot Suite for school friends in the hope that they would reaffirm it’s ‘greatness’ and low and behold they did. At the time a version of Introduction (The Journey of a Fool) from Tarot Suite was used as the theme for the Sydney, Australia radio station, Triple M. Yet everyone was seemingly oblivious to its origin.

All Music Review by Dave Sleger:

Mike Batt’s second solo release on Epic, Tarot Suite, was inspired by the 22 major arcana trump cards of the tarot deck. If the listener wants to make sense of the concept of this album, the insert provides a handy description and explanation of the various cards and how they relate to the music. If not, Tarot Suite certainly holds its own as an artfully and literate collection of orchestrated rock & roll.

To this day it boggles the mind how underappreciated and unrecognized this album is. It doesn’t even have it’s own Wiki-page. It is scantily mentioned in Mike Batt’s wiki-bio.  Believe me I have read my fair share of music blog posts in my life and talked to lots of music aficionados, yet still no mention of this album. Only when I searched it on Google did I find some glowing music reviews such as the one above. Despite that, it’s as though it never existed.

I still consider Tarot Suite one the greatest albums I have heard and I don’t put that solely down to my having succumbed to unbridled nostalgia. The album’s opener ‘Introduction (The Journey of a Fool’) and Imbecile (presented below) are probably in my top 20 favorite songs. Two other standouts on this album are Lady of the Dawn and Run Like the Wind. Overall the album is a real trip when listened to in its entirety.  To me the album has a medieval-mythological movie soundtrack feel. The only other music I’ve heard which faintly resembles it is Mark Knopfler’s The Princess Bride soundtrack and Dylan’s Street Legal (which is my favourite Dylan album by the way) particularly Changing of the Guards and No Time to Think which has medieval tarot card references in it.

To give you just a small taste of the magnificence and originality of this album; below is the riveting Imbecile sung with full gusto by the much-maligned singer Roger Chapman:

I would normally put ‘Related Articles’ in this section of my post, but there just isn’t anything noteworthy available on this album. It remains perplexing to me and will continue to be so I gather until I rest my weary head.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music, Reflections
12 comments on “Tarot Suite – Mike Batt and Friends (1979)
  1. macalder02 says:

    The video is enjoyed. Good music.

  2. badfinger20 says:

    I’ve listened to it 4 times. It’s really good. Nice balance of styles in it. Thanks for sharing this… I love his voice.

    It reminds me of something else…the style and I can’t put my finger on it.

    • I’m glad you liked it Bad! ‘Imbecile’ and the album’s opener ‘Introduction (The Journey of a Fool’) are probably in my top 20 favourite songs. Two other standouts on this album are ‘Lady of the Dawn’ and ‘Run Like the Wind’. Overall, the album is a real trip when listened to in its entirety. All the songs are available on you tube. To me the album has a medieval-mythological movie soundtrack feel. The only other music I’ve heard which faintly resembles it is Mark Knopfler’s ‘The Princess Bride’ soundtrack and Dylan’s ‘Street Legal’ (Which is my favourite Dylan album by the way) particularly ‘Changing of the Guards’ and ‘No Time to Think’ which has medieval tarot card references in it.

  3. Tarot with Kerstin says:

    This album … got me started on the road to becoming a tarot reader, lol. I was 12, and loved the music (most of it) but also the cards depicted. But yes, how popular was the Triple M theme out of this? I agree … not many knew 🙂

    • Wow, that album definitely had a big impact on you if that’s the case. You took it very literally as it were! lol Interestingly an ex gf of mine in Melbourne was a Tarot card reader as well.
      You are the first person outside of my family who I have come in contact with that listened to that album. It’s relieving to know we weren’t the only ones! Thanks for commenting.

  4. David says:

    I think the Triple M play was a bit of Rory Gallagher magic, but my understanding is they copied the Tarot Suite – used a local guitarist Kevin Borich instead.

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