on 1 August 2005
The original cd recording of this album was somewhat poor, so it's about time this classic 80's rock album was given a service and MOT. As a result the album sounds as crisp and fresh as if it had just been released. My only complaint is that I'm not a real fan of bonus discs of previously unreleased demos. Nevermind though.
This album is generally regarded by fans as Magnum's zenith although I've always felt that it has some competition with 'Chase The Dragon', 'Wings Of Heaven' and 'Sleepwalking', however, '...Storytellers Night' is still something of a masterpiece.
Right from the opening track, 'How Far Jerusalem', you know your in for a good time, and the first half of the album flies by with memorable singalonga numbers, 'Just Like An Arrow' and the title track, plus the popular showstopping, get the fag lighters out, 'Les Morts Dansant'. The second half struggles to live up to the first, but 'Two Hearts' and 'All England's Eyes' certainly make up for it, with catchy choruses and great guitar work.
Tony Clarkin has always been the worlds most underrated and underappreciated guitarist and songwriter, and the quality of the material on offer here, more than backs up my point. Singer Bob Catley is always entertaining and he doesn't let the side down either. He has memorable phrasing and an awesome delivery, especially for a little fellah!!!
Some may find Magnum's music a little corny at times, but anyone who fails to be entertained by '...Storytellers Night', or Magnum's music in general, has to seriously brighten up.
on 27 November 2007
There are certain albums that every self respecting fan of British rock should own and this is one of them.
Magnum rose like a phoenix from the flames after being dumped by their record label, Jet following the disappointing response to 1983's 'The Eleventh Hour'. Drummer Kex Gorin had left the band, keyboardist Mark Stanway looked all set to join Phil Lynott's Grand Slam project and vocalist Bob Catley was looking for alternative work, fearing Magnum was at an end.
However, guitarist/songsmith Tony Clarkin had other ideas and brought both Catley and Stanway back to the fold, whilst recruiting future UFO drummer Jim Simpson. The group signed a deal with independent label FM, entered the studio with producer Kit Woolven and recorded this masterpiece.
'On A Storyteller's Night' is the bands second masterwork after 1982's successful 'Chase The Dragon', and what Tony Clarkin manages to do on this album is marry the 'medievally cloaked' feel of the aforementioned 'Chase...' with a more streamlined, accessible rock approach, thus pleasing hard core Magnumaniacs and winning over new fans, as it got the band some much needed chart respectability reaching number 24 at the time. A sellout tour, and an appearance at Donington would follow, proving that you can't keep a good band down. In fact the success of 'Storyteller...' would ultimately lead to a lucrative deal with Polydor.
Opening track 'How Far Jerusalem' is a true classic in every sense of the word. It's very traditional Magnum fare in terms of it's atmosphere and mood, but with a big pomp chorus, gives an indicator of what the listener has to look forward to on this record. It's very much a fan's favourite and continues to be a perennial live track with lots of improv in the middle section.
'Just Like An Arrow' is toe tapping commercial rock at it's finest. It's a feelgood song played with bags of enthusiasm, with a chorus hook that won't let go.
The title track comes next, and like 'How Far Jerusalem' is a fan's favourite. Again, the mood is reminiscent of early Magnum, but with another of those barnstorming choruses.
'Before First Light' is a solid rocker, with some great guitar from Clarkin and 'Les Morts Dansant' is yet another showstopper with thought provoking subject matter and another big chorus, beautifully sung by Bob Catley. Sublime stuff.
The second 'side' of 'On A Storytellers Night' is arguably not as strong as the first, but still has some top tracks on offer.
'Endless Love' is a good slice of 'chugga chugga' rock with a good riff and a steady rhythm.
'Two Hearts' is a very underrated track with Tony Clarkin's guitar once again the driving force behind the number.
'Steal Your Heart' is probably the weakest track on the album. Just a touch too cheesy for me.
'All England's Eyes' brings things back with a good dose of riffy rock and a tongue in cheek lyric.
Album closer 'The Last Dance' like 'The Light's Burned Out' on the 'Chase The Dragon' album is a nice low key finale to what is a quite breathtaking album.
I can't think of another British rock album with so many memorable tunes and choruses, played with so much energy. The band seem to be enjoying themselves on every track and the indivivdual performances from each member are truly terrific, especially messrs Catley and Clarkin.
The cover artwork is somewhat iconic, and has to be one of Rodney Matthews most popular paintings.
This remastered 20th Anniversary package once again comes complete with bonus cd and great sleevenotes. It's about time Polydor Records got their act together and did something special with 'Vigilante', 'Wings Of Heaven' and 'Goodnight L.A.', because there's a bit of renewed interest in Magnum at the moment and an army of fans only too willing to roll back the years.
'On A Storyteller's Night' kick started Magnum's career once again, and in some style.
What an album. An absolute must, not just for fans of eighties rock, but for fans of quality rock full stop.
on 15 May 2006
The cover art for this album is priceless, and the music on the CD equally so. Magnum always seemed to be also-ran's and in the 2nd Division rather than the 1st in the Rock Hierarchy, where they belong. Tony Clarkin is a Master Songwriter and guitarist, and on this album it's as if every element has pulled together at the right time and in the right place. Albums prior to this seemed to lack good production, but this is much better. Whilst every band member is a valuable commodity, try, if you can, to listen to Clarkin's guitar as a seperate entity rather than as a part of the whole sound; the man is phenomenal, often, more by the notes he doesn't play rather than those he does. That might sound a bit weird, but often the spaces between the notes are as important as the notes themselves, and Tony seems to have the gift of getting it right. His lyrics, especially on the title track and 'Les Morts Dansant' plant massive, cinematic images into your mind - listen to those tracks loud and with the lights out and you'll see what I mean! A cracking album, and I am privileged to have attended their gig at Poole Art's Centre on the tour promoting the album, where I stood in front of Mr. Clarkin through the whole show watching him play - which was, again, priceless! This album should be in every true rock fan's collection, if not, then 100 lines on the Headmaster's desk by tomorrow morning!
on 17 March 2002
Like many other people, I discovered Magnum in 1988 when they released the pop-rock masterpiece Wings of Heaven. The boys from Brum hit the charts and won a permanent spot in my musical soul. I began to delve into their history, rummaged around in the gold - and struck platinum. Discovering On a Storytellers Night is akin to peering through the undergrowth of a forgotten jungle at a perfectly preserved Mayan city. The towers rise in your eyes and mind until you simply cannot begin to understand how such a constrction could be derived with the available tools. Guitars, keys, drums - and oh! that voice. How Far Jerusalem, Just Like an Arrow, On A Storyteller's Night, Les Morts Dansant, Two Hearts, Steal Your Heart, All England's Eyes, The Last Dance.. Of course nothing is perfect and two of the towers have crumbled slightly. Endless Love and Before First Light are the two tracks which keep the listener sane as you remember that, yes, Magnum ARE human after all. But only just. So eight of the tracks on this album are pinnacles of the craft, shining in the fiery sunset like a prehistoric concorde - bafflingly out of place with the rest of the world but somehow so perfect anyway. And the highest tower of all is reached when you close your eyes and drift into that field where the children play and the dogs run barking. The memories that aren't yours but are still achingly real filling your mind. With a smile, he gave them pardon.
on 2 July 2000
I loved this album! It is a genuine work of art. I am only now discovering Magnum's music, even though I was familiar with them in the 80's. Tony Clarkin's songwriting is awesome! However without Bob Catley's soaring vocals, it just would not be the same. On A Storyteller's Night, Les Morts Dansant, and The Last Dance are masterpieces. Especially The Last Dance, as that song really gets to me. It is a gorgeous and heartbreaking song.(That I, and I am sure many other people can relate to.) Bob Catley's vocals are so emotional! I wish that I had paid more attention to this band 15 years ago, but I am making up for lost time. This album is an absolute must for all fans of 80's Melodic Hard Rock. I recommend it heartily.
on 18 October 2000
Magnum being lyrical - soft & heavy all on one album. Read the previous review please! 'Old England Eyes' is one of there - almost hard hard anthems - not as popular as Kingdom of Madness but it still has guts!
Listen to 'The Last Dance' - We have all been there. ut does it also refer to the parting with FM records? On the next album - Vigelante, the opening track is 'No More Lonely Nights' - A hugely upbeat rock song - almost celebrating the signing with Polydor.
What do you think?
Remember - Keep that night light burnin'!
on 12 December 2000
Listened to time and time again during the 80's, this CD still has it's same appeal. A terrific piece of music, combining melodies with true rock riffs. A real masterpiece for your collection.
on 12 January 2003
This is a great album - you can hardly believe a piece can be so fresh even after 17 years. Superb production (remastered)and when listened to through a good hi-fi, or at least high-quality headphones, is a real treat.
Magnum are one of those rarities - a mega group who never seemed to sell-out for any reason. The quality speaks for them.
on 23 August 2009
A group of friends of mine introduced me, during a party in my behalf, to this record back in 1988 here in Mexico, and I was blew away with it. I asked to play it once and again and, since then, this is my favourite band of all time. The riff in How Far Jerusalem, the chiaroscuro in the title song, the strength in Two Hearts, Just Like An Arrow and Endless Love, and the heartbreaking Les Morts Dansant and Last Dance makes this a real classical in the whole Rock history. The other songs glued very well into the album as good complement that worth to hear it all. All this album was recorded, originally, in Metal tapes, and that gives the CD a deeper, warmth sound (totally evident in LP, but not as well achieved in CD even in the new Remaster, but good enough to make a difference compared with all the rest of the records).
If there were 10 stars, I would put them to it. Nevertheless, Amazon only allows 5 and this is what I'll put to this album.
on 21 April 2007
This Band for some reason never really made it big time although the song writing delivery and Live performances should have more than secured this.
This Album in my opinion is where the Band peaked with every Song on the album individually very good where previous ventures usually only delivered a few standout tracks and rest faded into the usual also rans.
The Opening song - How Far Jerusalem is the stand out track on the Album a great opening track. I am not going to go through all the songs as they speak for themselves.The Album is very gritty and has a fine balance of keyboards and guitars with very strong songs and great vocal delivery.
The follow on Album Vigilante despite in many eyes being the bands best and commercially successful did not have the strength and breadth of songs of this Album.
The Only low point for me is the cover as a Pixies dinner party does not really setthe scene for the Rock Music contained within.
If you've not heard Magnum before this is the starting point and if you like good Rock Music- Not too Heavy but well delivered songs this is for you!.