AL-9518 The Turn of a Friendly Card
Produced by Alan Parsons
Released on November 1980
Find it at GEMM
AL-9518 cover
[high resolution photo]

T his concept album about gambling is worth taking a chance on. Of the handful of APP albums I own, I return to Turn most often. The attraction goes beyond the obvious appeal of songs like “Time” and “Games People Play,” which are two of the Project’s most enduring hits. For me, it’s the presence of arrangements that prog fans could sink their eye teeth into: “The Gold Bug” and “The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part One)” stand out at the moment. True, the album still has one foot firmly planted in disco/pop, suggesting a hybrid of 10cc and Pink Floyd (in fact, Godley & Creme are credited with “sleeve concept” on this one), but its languid and dreamy sound pushes it closer to the prog camp. Eric Woolfson’s vocals in particular make an impression with a mix of masking and philosophical sleepiness on “Time” and “Nothing Left To Lose” that remains oddly compelling. Lenny Zakatek takes the lead on funkier cuts like “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” and “Games People Play,” Elmer Gantry on the opening “May Be A Price To Pay,” and Chris Rainbow shines on the madrigal-themed “The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part One)” and “Snake Eyes” (these two achieving some small success as singles). The concept seems to swing in and out of focus; I’m not sure what “Time” has to do with gambling, and “The Gold Bug” would seem to be an extension of their Poe-tic debut, but the record’s thoughtful and calculated arrangements tie things together. Though it tends to get lumped together with most of their albums from this period, Turn of a Friendly Card may be the best mix of instrumental mind candy and memorable pop songs in the Parsons canon.

AL-9518 back cover AL-9518 picture sleeve/label
AL-9518 back cover AL-9518 picture sleeve/label


  1. MAY BE A PRICE TO PAY    4:52
  2. GAMES PEOPLE PLAY    4:17
  3. TIME    5:05
  4. I DON'T WANNA GO HOME    4:54
  5. THE GOLD BUG    4:28
  6. THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD    (16:19 total)
    i. The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part One)    2:39
    ii. Snake Eyes    3:17
    iii. The Ace of Swords    2:58
    iv. Nothing Left To Lose    4:03
    v. The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part Two)    3:12

    All compositions by Eric Woolfson/Alan Parsons


IAN BAIRNSON -- acoustic and electric guitars
STUART ELLIOT -- drums and percussion
ALAN PARSONS -- additional keyboards, backing vocals, engineer
CHRIS RAINBOW -- vocals, backing vocals
ERIC WOOLFSON -- keyboards, vocals, executive producer
LENNY ZAKATEK -- vocals, backing vocals
Curtis Briggs -- orchestra co-ordinator
Sandor Farcas -- orchestra leader
Elmer Gantry -- vocals
The Orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera -- orchestra
Andrew Powell -- orchestral arrangements, conductor
Lol Creme & Kevin Godley -- sleeve concept

return to THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT discography

US/CAN November 1980 Arista LP/CS AL-9518 black picture sleeve
UK November 1980 Arista LP/CS DLART 1 inner sleeve
GER/SPA 1980 Arista LP/CS S203.000.320/D403.000  
YUG   Jugodisk LP LPS 1038  
US   Arista LP/CD AL5/ARCD-8226  


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