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NORTHERN FANTASIES

Busker

Symphonic Prog


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Busker Northern Fantasies album cover
3.11 | 5 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 - Northern Fantasies
- i. Overture
- ii. Run Sun
- iii. Atlantic Fisherman's Saga
- iv. Uncle Alexander Newfoundlander
- v. Inverness
- vi. Winterlude
- vii. Chanson de la Rose
- viii. Coureurs de Bois
- ix. Looney Bird
- x. Watersheds Suite
- xi. Mid-Western Farming Man
- xii. Harvest
- xiii. Prairie Rondo
- xiv. Dangerous Dan McGrew
- xv. Rocky Mountain Fanfare and Fugue
- xvi. Lumberjack's Song (Fifi)
- xvii. Gastown
- xviii. Sun Running over the Ocean
- xix. La Mer
- xx. Finale


Total Time 45:48

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Steve McCann / Keyboards, Bass, Guitars, Vocals and Percussion
- Randy Dawdy / Drums, Congas, Tympani, Vocals and Percussion

Thanks to bhikkhu for the addition
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BUSKER Northern Fantasies ratings distribution


3.11
(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (20%)
20%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

BUSKER Northern Fantasies reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars "Northern Fantasies" is a loose concept album, based on Busker's travels through Canada while touring in the '70s. It is not a story about Canada, as much as music inspired by impressions of the experiences. The variations are almost as vast as the country itself. That is really the charm of this album. Instead of a few epic pieces, it is a series of smaller vignettes. All of the songs represent a different aspect, yet as a whole, it is very much representative of the homeland.

Musically, the strongest comparison can be made to E.L.P. However, there is that unmistakable, but always intangible, North American quality. One of E.L.P.'s most impressive stats was that they achieved such a huge sound with only three musicians. Busker did it with only two, and more efficiently. These guys had the chops to play, and the vocals are very strong as well.

The album begins very E.L.P. inspired, but the third track brings the first real taste of the land. Well, actually, the sea would be more accurate. "Atlantic Fisherman's Saga" is a lovely ballad, and truly captures the intended feeling (the use of a concertina helps a lot too). The theme continues in earnest on "Uncle Alexander Newfoundlander," as it is an authentic sea shanty. "Inverness" is an Irish folk song, and hints at the diversity of Canadian culture (see, it's not all just French and people that sound like they come from Michigan's upper peninsula). "Winterlude" is a nice transition, and really does sound wintry. This bridges to the obligatory French section. "Chanson de la Rose" is another venture into the folk realm, but it is on "Coureurs de Bois" that things get really interesting. Steve and Randy are talented musicians, but they were also paying attention to what was going on in the rest of prog world. This is a great representation of the French theatrical style. On "Loony Bird," they start to transition even further into avant territory. More twists and turns ensue, but I think I should have piqued interest enough by this point. There is still half the album to go. Suffice to say that the journey continues, and is neatly wrapped up by the "Finale."

"Northern Fantasies" originated as a multimedia show, but never became a fully realized project while the band was in full swing. It's a shame too, because it's quite good, and perhaps could have given Busker the attention they needed. The project was resurrected, and more studio work was done, which is why it has a 2007 release date. It sounds very much of the '70s, but not too dated for modern tastes.

It is finding gems like this that make all my work worthwhile. This is a lost treasure that deserves to be found. It may not be an absolute essential, but you will be glad to have it in your collection.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Following 23 years after their previous effort, Busker returns as recording artists in a nice manner with this production.

The album, containing one long epic divided into 20 parts, is a rather mixed affair; where the opening and ending sequences for me at least came across as the weakest - partially due to a somewhat synthetic sounding atmosphere to many segments in the sequences making up these parts of the production.

The middle part of the composition is a quite enjoyable affair though, with visitations to folk, jazz and classical inspired tidbits more or less heavily spiced with vintage symphonic rock - and as I hear it quite a few humorous escapades too.

But although light of heart and spirit at times; this album as a whole seems to be a tribute to Canada in general and perhaps the Northern parts of it in particular; from the title of this creation, the choice of names for the individual parts and the big red maple leaf on white printed on the CD - this appears to be a musical celebration of all the good the country of the maple leaf has to offer.

And should be sought out by proud Canadians into symphonic rock in particular; and should be of interest to non-Canadians into the same music too.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars BUSKER are a two man Canadian band who put out five albums between 1976 and 1984. I'll relate some of the information from the liner notes. The idea for this album was conceived in the early seventies and they actually recorded it in the form of a four track demo and performed it live as a multi-media show complete with quadraphonic sound system and two projection screens for slides for film. "Northern Fantasies" fermented while BUSKER took to the road for more than a decade. This of course took them coast to coast across Canada and this album is really the band sharing their impressions of this vast country. Even the cd itself has the Canadian flag on it. I'm a proud Canadian as well, and while I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, this feeling is alway tested this time of year when Winter descends upon us (haha).

As much as I applaud the idea behind this album i'm having a really hard time with the music. We get 20 tracks over 46 minutes and a lot of variety too.Too much variety for my tastes.The vocals are good, it's just songs like "Inverness", "Mid-Western Farming Man" and "Lumberjack's Song" that turns me completely off. There are good songs too but as a whole I can't even offer up 3 stars.

The two reviewers above me obviously feel differently, so take my opinion with a grain of salt if you will.

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Northern fantasies is Busker latest album since now from 2007. I review so far their 1979 album Impressions of a city and I like it what I've hered, so I decided to review all their album, but randomly. This album show a much mature Busker in comparation with their older albums, here the symphonic prog moments melted very well with more folky elements and even some jazzy moments aswell, makes from this album a pleasent listen. Is a concept album divided in 20 pieces and is about Busker members who traveling across Canada when touring in the '70's. Pleasent arrangements, some good keybords arrangements aswell, nothing realy impressive or grounbreaking but to my ears very pleasent, all, from voice to instrumental passages. Still today after so many albums they are very unknown to larger public,maybe because this release was made after more then 20 years break. So a good album for sure who desearve 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Full Disclosure : Is it considered fair or unbiased to write a review for an album if you were involved in its making? I don't see why not, as long as you stay honest with yourself. In the late 70's and early 80's I performed sound engineering duties for BUSKER both live and in the studio ... (read more)

Report this review (#263609) | Posted by JD | Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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