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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic Jon and Vangelis album., 6 Oct 2000
This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
At the time when this LP was first released, Jon and Vangelis were regarded as desperately unfashionable by the knowing music press. However, despite their dislike of the duo, many music journalists (working on, for example, Smash Hits) reluctantly conceded that here was an album of instantaneous classics which also had the likelihood of real staying power. And so it has proved. Two decades on, and The Friends of Mr Cairo enjoys potent longevity, continuing to mesmerise with its imaginative song writing, its seductive and luscious instrumentation, care of Vangelis, and the extraordinary vocal athleticism of Jon Anderson. All the songs are lyrical and evocative. Some, particularly the title track, aspire to moments of real audial beauty and purity. Few albums are consistently moving and transporting. This one, in its affirmatory celebration of love, memory, and identity, is a glorious exception.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional collaboration, 15 Feb 2008
By 
Laurence Browne (Brisbane, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
Since this album first came out well over 25 years ago - I was in Hong Kong at the time and remember buying the cassette in a little record shop in Wanchai - it has always been right at the top of my all-time favourites list, which for me is saying something considering my enjoyment of a number of different genres.

The first track, I'll Find My Way Home, is full of positivity about the search for meaning and the benevolence of life, and slides effortlessly into the epiphanic and extremely dynamic State of Independence. These two tracks have been included in a number of Vangelis compilations and as a result have tended to overshadow the next two equally hypnotic songs, Beside and The Mayflower, the last of which features the mimicry talents of one David Coker, as does the title track, the extraordinarily creative and original Friends of Mr Cairo, with its changing melodies and sublime lyrics that weave between mystical experience and the appreciation of old films. Here's a sample from towards the end of the 12 minute track:

Did you see in the morning light?
I really talked, yes I did, to that early dawning light,
And I was privileged to be as I am to this day,
To be with you, to be with you, to be with you, to be with you...

After that comes what for me is the low point of the album, the rocky and rather out of place Back to School. Perhaps the lads felt a ballast was needed after what had come before. But the last song, Outside of This (Inside of That) brings back the sublime and hopeful mystical feeling that characterises the bulk of the album.

Of the four Jon and Vangelis albums this is probably the most impressive, though others might disagree - certainly it is the most consistently excellent and shows both the highly original Jon Anderson and the magnificently gifted Vangelis Papathanassiou at their brilliant best.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life-Long Friend of Mr Cairo, 14 May 2007
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This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
If I was still young enough to worry about things such as a list of my top 10 favourite Albums, this would be on it.

Anderson's voice is perfect for Vangelis music - neither seem as good without the other - both having a quality that allows you to drift off while at the same time being led in a certain direction. I played this to death when it came out 20 years ago and now the CD stays in the car, played over and over on long journeys.

The only bad thing is the cover artwork - never was an album so let down by the image portrayed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime oddness, 4 Nov 2006
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This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
This has long been one of my favourite albums - it's odd that it's so unknown, but then I guess the lead singer of hippy group Yes and a beardy Greek keyboard wizard don't make the most fashionable team-up. The album sounds like nothing else - ambient, futuristic, new age, but strangely old-fashioned. If you are more interested in what you are listening to than the fashion implications, then I thoroughly recommend you check it out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A friend of The Friends, 1 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
A friend of mine introduced me to this album over 20 years ago, it was one of the brightest things that came out of a truly lousy year studying horticulture. Listening to this album it was almost as if it were a glowing fire in a cold place and I was there for it's warmth. This album has a flawless beauty and getting lost amongst its songs to this day is for me a moving experience (as long as I program out the hokey Back To School Boogie before pressing play).

I listen to a wide range of musical styles but there is still a place for this unashamedly sentimental work amongst the more abrasive and earthbound fair that surrounds this album in my collection. These songs are like little spheres, worlds within themselves, and we peer in wide-eyed and listen to tales of high adventure, and the experience is uplifting and a bit New-Agey (as can be expected with Jon Anderson, I suppose).

The cinematic title track is the album's centrepiece, and I always find myself hanging on to every note and turn in the story, not wanting to miss the moments of profoundness that appear but the once and then are gone. To call it the centrepiece isn't meant in any way to diminish from the other tracks (aside from Back To School Boogie - what on earth were they thinking?), the hit single I'll Find My Way Home is a classic, and the rest are all of equally high order. To my thinking only a handful of their other songs really can be considered of the same order - I Hear You Now; Play Within A Play; He Is Sailing and two or three others.

To me, The Friends Of Mr Cairo is easily the finest of Jon and Vangelis' four albums: the ambitious and prickly Short Stories is also very good, if a little inconcistent in quality; Private Collection is rather too soppy and over-burdened with passages of quasi-religious ecstasy; on Page Of Life Jon's singing was reedy and weedy, whilst much of the album is so many rose-petals drowning in syrup.

Friends Of Mr Cairo gets things right, some fantastic music, a good sense of space, and drama and sentimentalism held in balance, bringing out the very best in Jon and Vangelis's creative partnership. If their albums were actually one structure carved out of ice, Short Stories would be the rough-hewn stage, Friends is the finished work and the remaining two are the same structure at stages of decay in the warm sun.

But I wouldn't blame a person new to this album for being bemused at all the fuss and praise, it seems very much an album of a different time, or a time that never really existed, perhaps too fragile for nowadays.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Futuristic and Sensuous, beauty in the Sound mirror of time!, 26 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
Fairlight cmi, yamaha cs 80, prophet 5, linn drum digital computer, simmons drum sds 1 kit, moog bass synth etc etc.

This was just some of the remarkible instruments utilized on this monolith of music at the time.

Recorded at musicland studio in france, with ground breaking technology, beautiful song writing, majestically universal heavenous fluid melody's.

A marrage of two musical wonder makers, and this album was called unfashionable? In late 1981.
Snobby critics missed the sheer and strong concepts and beauty on offer here, except smash hits.
Back to school, was the only mysnoma to the album, the later reprint in 82' that included their xmas 81' hit i'l find my way home in the uk, was a great add on, that song builds to a quasi religious music proportions, and takes you to a higher place as does the album itself.

This album trancends populism, hear the lyrics, listen to the cutting edge.

These tales are the sahara by moonlight, egypt at dusk with deep mauve skies, the celluloid world of fantasy, the dark and starry universe, all our hopes, dreams and memories, it is hope! my dear fellows.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This took me back to happy times, 30 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
This album took me back to my younger days. Happy times, when me and my older brother use to go night fishing. What a great album. Glad i found it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SUCH QUALITY, 9 July 2014
By 
HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE (HBMV) "Hayling Is... (26 Rails Lane Hayling Island) - See all my reviews
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The marriage of the music of Vangelis with Anderson's unique and unusual vocals is superb - they were absolutely made of each other.

This is a very strong album with some gorgeous melodies and compositions, not least the innovative 'I'll Find My Way Home'.

Superb.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it., 6 July 2014
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This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
Heard this on LP in the 1980s. I love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Friends Of Mr Cairo by Jon & Vangelis, 21 April 2014
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A. A. Green "Ashley" (Shrewsbury, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Friends Of Mr Cairo (Audio CD)
This was my favorite album 30 years ago so I recall many happy memories while listening to this superb CD.
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