No 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 my father was insistent this record be played. My mother recalled, ‘he first heard it on ‘2UE’ with Mike Gibson one morning on his way to work around about the middle eighties‘.
I also 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 on a makeshift camping getaway they confided to me it was the bees-knees. At this time in my youth, a version of Introduction (The Journey of a Fool) from Tarot Suite was used as the theme for Sydney’s radio station, Triple M, but everyone was seemingly unaware of 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. Also, I have read my fair share of music blog posts in my life and talked to lots of music aficionados, but all were oblivious of Tarot Suite. Only when I searched it on Google did I find some positive 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 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.
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.