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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best place to start, 28 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
Wonderful to hear this again - slightly dated but still an excellent listen. If this is your first encounter with Mr Stewart then its the right one. Just listen to Roads to Moscow (which chronicles World War Two and Hitlers invasion of Russia from the Russian perspective - it is NOT about Napoleon's invasion over a hundred and thirty years previously - with a rather nasty twist in the ending) and you'll be hooked. Worth the price of admission alone. And that guitar on Nostradamus - wow.
And its much better than the later albums where he went rather MOR.... Start here, then try earlier stuff. Recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not Al's most immediate album, but definitely his best, 8 Nov 2000
By 
Simon Harvey (Colchester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
The bad news first: the last track is a sprawling mess -- but then, who cares, when the rest of the album is so memorably brilliant? Al Stewart has a fascination with the passage of time, and this has never produced stronger songs than these. The sound is sometimes a little odd, but who cares when it just adds to this wonderful album's character? There are so many fine songs it's almost irrelevant to mention that 'Roads to Moscow' is definitely Al's masterpiece -- so far, anyhow. The twerp who decided to delete this title in the UK really should be made to break rocks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who would have thought, 17 Mar 2006
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
that an album like Al Stewart's Past Present and Future could ever have been produced? I can imagine the look on the face of Al Stewart's record producer when he told him about his idea for a "concept album". Perhaps the producer heard something like "Ill start with a song about retired British navy officers and follow it up with a song about President Warren G. Harding, I've also got a song about a night of Nazi terror followed by a British take-off of Don MacLean's "American Pie". Oh, and did I tell you I also have one about a Red Army soldier's experience in World War II and a song about the supposed prophet of the future, Nostradamus." Somehow I cannot see a record like this being made today. But, this was 1973 and, fortunately, some producer said something like "uh, sure Al, go ahead mate".
I first heard this album in Manchester in 1973. My then girl friend sat me down and said that I had to listen to this song about Nostradamus. I probably said something like "Nostradamus? Wow man" and played the album over and over again. (She may also have read my palm and did a Tarot reading . . . but I was young and she was the object of my affection.) I have listened to this CD quite a bit recently and am happy to note that my current reaction is not much different from my original response, albeit without the palm reading, the Tarot cards or (sad to say) the girl.
Past, Present and Future is a memorable album in many respects. Stewart is an accomplished songwriter and every one of these tracks is well written, some are, and remain, brilliant. His voice works well for the music and he put together a set of studio musicians that provided excellent backing and a strong rhythm section.
Stewart is at his best in Roads to Moscow. He sings it as a ballad with an excellent orchestral arrangement that creates a very Russian mood. As he sings the tale of a Red Army solider from the 1st days of the Germany invasion through the triumphant entry into Berlin he provides an extraordinary of the war itself. In the liner notes that accompany this CD Stewart indicated that he was a student of Russian history. Stewart's knowledge shows quite clearly without its being intrusive. His Post World War II Blues is also particularly good even if one can see quite clearly its American Pie influence. The only song that has not stood up to the test of time is the closing track, Nostradamus. The lyrics are still fun but seem quite dated in retrospect. I guess know that my younger days are long past I don't have too many of those "far out, man" moments any more.
Ultimately, this album is well worth a listen. Stewart is not as well known or remembered as he should be perhaps and Past Present and Future finds him at his best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Al Stewart at his poetic best, 29 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
This album, written in the early 70's was a must for all students throughout the decade. The tracks deal with major events of the 20thC and look forward to the 21st with the eerily accurate 'Nostradamus'- Stewart returned to that topic in a later live addition: 'The World Goes To Riyadh' a decade later. The instumentals are faultless, played by the very cream of session musicians, including Tim Renwick and Peter Woods. Watch out also for percussionist Roger Meadows Taylor- of Queen!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Als best, 7 Mar 2003
This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
This is one of the Al stewart albums still played regularly along with YOTC and possibly time passages.
I don't believe it is as accessible as some of his other music but the guitar work here is fantastic and the high point is the lyrics used.
The album is split into 3 parts as the title suggests, with The past song, songs of the present and of the future.
The opening track- Old Admirals is not one of al's finest musically. Warren Harding is a much better song, with its almost reggae style.
Soho is possibly the best song. Very fast lyrics which are often humorous , but rhyme beautifully - ( the sun goes down on a neon eon though you'd have a job explaining it to richard couer de lion ) and depict al in soho on a friday night.
The next song is historical- last day of june 1934 and refers to the night of the long knifes in nazi germany. It is a powerful song with haunting lyrics and a moving melody. I didn't like it at first but a few plays later it became my favourite track.
Post world war two blues is again quite humourous and recites various events after WWII. Roads to moscow is perhaps THE most powerful track , you have to listen to it to appreciate its meaning.
Terminal eyes is interesting and is about suicide , but the album finishes with the epic Nostradamus, a musical portayal of the great seer and his visions, with a magnificent gitar solo by al taking up half the 10 minute song. Combine with the catchy main tune and rhythm and you've got one of als finest creations.
I only gave this album 4 stars due to the fact it isn't quite as easy to get into as say Between the wars or time passages but that shouldn't hold you back. It is for all serious fans of great guitar music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Stewart - Past, Present & Future, 5 Nov 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Past Present and Future (Audio CD)
Whilst Al Stewart achieved long awaited & well deserved commercial success with "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages" in the mid 70's, it was "Past, Present & Future" which was his really ground breaking album, moving away from his earlier, folkier phase with albums such as "Bedsitter Images" & "Love Chronicles". To some extent "Past, Present & Future" is something of a concept album, with tracks such as the excellent "Roads to Moscow" (possibly his best track to date)and "Eyes of Nostradamus" having almost prog-rock leanings. Having said that, the whole album is excellent, & one I have returned to again & again over the years. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album of rare intelligence and distinction, 2 April 2007
This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
For those who grow weary of insipid pop and banal, contrived lyrics,look no further than P,P & F for an insight into the art of classic songwriting. Stewart is a well read individual who has learned his craft as a writer and performer over many years, which is well illustrated in his live performances. His story telling both in song and between songs on stage, is that of a master in communication. Add to that his ability to pen a melody or two of memorable and quirky arrangements, and you have a vastly underated talent that most "pop idols" would give a King's ransom just to be able to tap into.

P,P & F is music for the more discerning listener. I have learned more about History listening to Al Stewart songs than I ever did in the classroom. He has a passion for subjects that whets the appetite like no other artist I know of. Roads to Moscow is a prime example.

Most of the artists I like are the one's who take you on a journey and make you want to get involved in what they are trying to create. Whether it be a live concert or a concept album. There is substantial proof that Stewart works on both levels.

Listen to the stories that he tells, all weaved in wonderful tunes, many inter-twined with stand out solos and dramatic string arrangements.

If you like Take That........then don't take this. However, if you want to know more about a cerebral talent with a very distinctive style, then start here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nostra, 28 April 2014
By 
Mr. W. S. Lynch (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
Had the album years ago and was looking for cd version for a long time. Met my expectations and enjoyed
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5.0 out of 5 stars Al Stewert at his best, 17 Nov 2013
By 
S. A. Short "Hippychick" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
This is a replacement cd against the LP I had in my music collection.This is my all time favourite album by Al Stewart so I was more than pleased to be able to buy the cd.Service was prompt and the cd great value for money.Would recommend this seller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scarey and so real!, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: Past Present & Future (Audio CD)
This album never ceases to amaze me. A very clever composition by Al Stewart. It brings History to life. I have used some of the tracks in the classroom and even Year 9 students request it is played again as they say it gives real meaning.
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