Japanese reissue of the Renaissance vocalist's debut solo album originally released in 1977. 1999 release. Standard jewel case.
A real joy, Exquisite singing, Shame it's out of print!
Micah McOwen | 09/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I happened to encounter this superb produced album in its Lp version. The 1st & best studio solo by Haslam to date. Her 5 octave perfect voice with the rich superb guitars of all the musicians that accoumpanied her (Joe Camp from Renaissance, Roy Wood) blended together to create an art-rock masterpiece. IMHO, the main key beyond the successful result of these sessions is the warm sound with the right musicians & the right genre. To compare with, her 1989 self titled album falls far far beyond this album, as it involved mechanical synthisizers production (with very poor singing, aka Moonlight shadow). Hope it will be re-released in CD format, although the vinyl version perfectly suits to the warm rich sound of this album. In short: A must. You can find copies via auction sites."
An eclectic pop album
R. Josef | New Haven, CT United States | 01/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Annie's first solo album was released in late 1977, while Renaissance was on a brief hiatus. It represented a major departure from her Renaissance work. While Renaissance's music was progressive rock influenced by folk and classical music, "Annie in Wonderland" runs the stylistic gamut, covering a lot more musical ground. The musical direction is provided by her then-fiancee and ex-Electric Light Orchestra member Roy Wood, who produced, played almost all the instruments, sang backing vocals, and wrote some of the songs.
The tracks can be roughly divided into three groups, the first being covers of songs that Annie evidently loved as a child. These include an ethereal version of Rogers and Hammerstein's "If I Loved You", from the musical "Carousel". "Nature Boy", first made famous by Nat King Cole, is given a delightful tropical arrangement. The most unusual choice here is "Going Home", the second movement of Dvorak's "New World Symphony" with touching lyrics about the afterlife. This song was very popular as a spiritual in the African-American community, but this version has Annie backed powerfully by an orchestra and male choir.
Two songs were written by Renaissance bassist Jon Camp, his first solo compositions. "If I Were Made of Music" and "In My Life" are catchy, upbeat folk rockers. Not too surprisingly, these tracks sounds the most like Renaissance, previewing what would be coming up on their next two albums.
Finally, there are the three tracks by Wood. "Rockalise" has Annie scatting over a tune that starts off slow and soft and then turns into a jam. "I Never Believed in Love" is a another jaunty, cute pop song with Annie switching off vocals with Wood. Finally, the seven minute "Hunioco" is a multi-segmented track with African influences, with Annie and Roy singing a number of lyrics in an African language!
The versatility of Wood is very impressive, but, of course, Annie's amazing five octave voice is the main reason the album works. She does, for the first time, multiple overdubs of harmonies, which would, again, influence the next couple of Renaissance albums. Renaissance fans who aren't familiar with her solo work will really enjoy hearing Annie's voice employed in a great variety of settings, while people who don't like prog rock may find these pop songs more accessible. Recommended for everyone.
The Japanese import CD sounds great, but it's getting really difficult to find. Hopefully, a domestic company (Wounded Bird, are you out there?) will pick it up for a more economical release soon."
Micah McOwen | 03/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A perfect blending of folk and pop and synthesizer experimentation with jungle rythms. A great variety on the album, and Annie's voice is amazing - even on my old vinyl!"
A CRIME !
Jim Z | 10/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a crime that this disc isn't currently available. One of rock's best voices on her debut eclectic solo album. The fact that each song is so different from the preceding one , is EXACTLY what oddly makes this album flow so well. The notes she nails in Rocalise are angelic !"