FR 38999 Heads or Tales
Produced by Rupert Hine
Released on 1983
US CHART POSITION #92
Find it at GEMM
FR 38999 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I realize I’ve made fun of Kayak and Starcastle for looking like uberdorks, and I’d just like to say I’m sorry. Saga is way dorkier. Anytime you have more than three people with a mullet haircut congregating in the same place, you’re either gonna have a hockey game or a drunken fist fight (and sometimes both). However, prog and mullet just don’t go together. Progmullet. See, it sounds ridiculous. But enough about their heads, and onto their tales. (Or “tails” as the people who printed the inner record sleeve spelled it oh god why can’t they ever get anything right in Canada.) Since this is my first adventure in the land of Saga, I had no expectations. And my initial reaction was that the music was too compressed to be called prog. (Okay, my initial reaction was Are they part of some mullet cult?, but we’ve covered that already.) As I understand it, Saga moved toward progressive pop as so many keyboard-heavy prog bands have done. Thus Heads Or Tales inhabits that half-world between arena rock and new wave. There’s no question that the band has chops, but you don’t get much of an opportunity to flash them during a four-minute song. On the five-minute songs, more of an opportunity. And even Kayak (a Dutch band) had better lyrics. For example: “Like a cat clings to an icy roof, He keeps a slow pace, tight hold, anxious view” (courtesy of the immortal “Cat Walk”). I had no idea cats could cling to ice because, frankly, some ideas just aren’t worth thinking about. (Maybe if I mullet over more, hee hee.) There was a lyrical high-mindedness at work on Kayak, Asia and Kansas that isn’t working on Heads Or Tales. Musically, they’re as sharp as a knife, but it's kind of a pointless knife.

FR 38999 back cover FR 38999 lyric sleeve
FR 38999 back cover FR 38999 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE FLYER    (lyrics by Jim Crichton, music by Jim Crichton/Michael Sadler)    3:37
  2. CAT WALK    (lyrics by Jim Crichton, music by Jim Crichton/Jim Gilmour/Ian Crichton)    4:24
  3. THE SOUND OF STRANGERS    (lyrics by Michael Sadler, music by Michael Sadler/Jim Crichton/Jim Gilmour/Ian Crichton/Steve Negus)    4:09
  4. THE WRITING    (lyrics by Jim Crichton, music by Jim Crichton/Michael Sadler)    4:14
  5. INTERMISSION    (lyrics by Michael Sadler, music by Michael Sadler/Jim Crichton/Ian Crichton)    5:28
  6. SOCIAL ORPHAN    (lyrics by Michael Sadler, music by Michael Sadler/Jim Crichton)    3:24
  7. THE VENDETTA (STILL HELPLESS)    (lyrics by Michael Sadler, music by Michael Sadler/Jim Crichton/Jim Gilmour/Ian Crichton)    3:55
  8. SCRATCHING THE SURFACE    (lyrics by Jim Gilmour, music by Jim Gilmour/Jim Crichton)    5:26
  9. THE PITCHMAN    (lyrics by Jim Crichton, music by Jim Crichton/Michael Sadler/Ian Crichton/Jim Gilmour/Steve Negus)    5:46

CREDITS

IAN CRICHTON -- guitar
JIM CRICHTON -- bass guitar and keyboards
JIM GILMOUR -- bass guitar and keyboards
STEVE NEGUS -- drums, percussion, electronic percussion
MICHAEL SADLER -- lead vocal and keyboards
Stephen W. Tayler -- recording engineer
Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz -- art direction and design
Larry Williams -- innersleeve photo
Stephen Durke -- front and back illustrations

return to SAGA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
CAN 1983 Maze LP ML-8007  
US 1983 Portrait LP/CD/CS FR/RK 38999 lyric sleeve
UK 1983 Epic CS 40-25740  
GER 1983 Polydor LP 8154 101  
JPN 1983 Epic LP 25-3P-437  
US   Steamhammer CD SPV-74392  

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2006 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.