The Turn of a friendly card (album degli Alan Parsons Project del 1980)

Alan Parsons, prima di fondare il gruppo chiamato col suo stesso nome, lavorò in qualità di ingegnere del suono per Beatles e Pink Floyd. Nello specifico si fa un salto all’inizio degli anni ottanta quando, ormai da tempo sulla cresta dell’onda, gli Alan Parsons Project pubblicano un capolavoro da cima a fondo: THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD.

Parsons e Eric Wolfsons, fondatori del gruppo, si trasferirono a Montecarlo per ragioni fiscali e registrarono il materiale nello Studio Acousti di Parigi. Tra gli album a tema fra i più belli realizzati, tratta del gioco e dei rischi che esso comporta. Ecco allora May be a price to pay ad aprire le danze, con la sua splendida apertura di fiati, una botta di funk e l’interpretazione malefica di Elmer Gantry. Segue Games people play, motivo da impatto condotto dal sintetizzatore. Time è cantata da un melidico/malinconico Wolfsons su un motivo soffiato, dolcemente orchestrato da Andrew Powell. Gli assoli di Ian Bairnson alla chitarra spiccano in l don’t wanna go home. La strepitosa traccia strumentale The gold bug,spicca tra un fischio morriconiano ed un formidabile assolo di sassofono, preludio all’immensa suite di 16′ divisa in cinque parti introdotta da Turn of a friendly card, emozionante ballata arricchita dai sintetizzatori che passa il testimone a snake eyes, tra basso e tastiere, il racconto di un perdente al gioco dei dadi. La medievale The ace of swords, dove Parson suona il clavicembalo, vanta un bel cambio di ritmo con l’avvento dell’orchestra. La struggente Nothing left to lose ha nel celebre assolo di fisarmonica un momento tra i migliori del disco, poi in coda arriva come una scheggia la chitarra di Bairnson. Chiude la ripresa del brano eponimo in cui Chris Rainbow intona i dolci versi che introducono un regno di strumenti da ovazione.

Successo di critica e pubblico, THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD si pone come passo da gigante dai settanta agli ottanta col suo prog felicemente contaminato da sonorità e melodie perfetti per quasi tutti i melomani. Geniale la copertina che sembra raffigurare la vetrata di una chiesa, trattasi invece della carta Re di quadri, la cui grafica è opera di Kevin Godley Lol Creme. C’è perfino un’anomalia nella perfezione di questo album, infatti sia l’assolo di fisarmonica in Nothing left to lose, che quello di sassofono in The gold bug non vantano i loro esecutori tra i crediti

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