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Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the debut album by the progressive rock group The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1976. The album's avant-garde soundscapes kept it from being a blockbuster, but the interesting lyrical and musical themes — retellings of horror stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe — attracted a small audience. Critical reaction was often mixed, such as Rolling Stone, whose Billy Altman concluded that the album mostly failed at reproducing Poe's tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that "devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe's often terrifying works".
This album was released in U.K. originally with a different name. Simply called "The Alan Parsons Project" it was successful enough to achieve gold status but later that year the same album was released under the name of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"
"The Raven" features actor Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, with Alan Parsons performing vocals through an EMI vocoder. According to the album's linear notes, "The Raven" was the first rock song ever to feature a digital vocoder.
The Prelude of "The Fall of the House of Usher", although uncredited, is based on the opera fragment "La chute de la maison Usher" by Claude Debussy which was composed in 1908-1917.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination peaked at #38 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. "(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether" peaked at #37 on the Pop Singles chart.
01 "A Dream Within A Dream" [instrumental] – 3:43
02 "The Raven" – 4:01 (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
03 "The Tell-Tale Heart" – 4:40 (ft. Arthur Brown)
04 "The Cask of Amontillado" – 4:29 (ft. John Miles)
05 "(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" – 4:15 (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
06 "The Fall of the House of Usher [instrumental] - 15:04
I. "Prelude" – 5:51
II. "Arrival" – 2:36
III. "Intermezzo" – 1:06
IV. "Pavane" – 4:44
V. "Fall" – 1:07
07 "To One in Paradise" – 4:14 (ft. Terry Sylvester)
Alan Parsons - Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Vocals, *Producer, Engineer, Projection
Eric Woolfson - Synthesizer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Executive Producer
Leonard Whiting - Vocals, Narrator
Arthur Brown - Vocals
John Miles - Guitar, Vocals
Jack Harris - Vocals
Francis Monkman - Organ, Keyboards
Kevin Peek - Guitar (Acoustic)
Terry Sylvester - Vocals
Laurence Juber - Guitar (Acoustic)
Andrew Powell - Keyboards, Arranger
David Paton - Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
Ian Bairnson - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
David Katz - Violin, Leader, Orchestra Contractor
Burleigh Drummond - Drums
English Chorale - Vocals
Bob Howes - Choir, Chorus
John Leach - Percussion, Vocals, Cimbalom, Kantele
David Pack - Guitar
Smokey Parsons - Vocals
Joe Puerta - Bass
Daryl Runswick - Bass, String Bass
David Snell - Harp
The English Chorale and Played Ti - Choir, Chorus
Stuart Tosh - Cymbals, Drums, Vocals, Tympani [Timpani]
Billy Lyall - Piano, Drums, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Recorder, Fender Rhodes
Jane Powell - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
Andrew Hurdle - Bass
Christopher North - Keyboards