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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars

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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2003
After years and years and years, Magical Shepherd has finally come out on CD and it sounds as funked-up and in-yer-face as when it was recorded a couple of decades ago.
Some might feel a comparison with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, which was a little earlier, especially because of Herbie's presence on Magical Shepherd, but it's really Vitous's walkie-talkie (almost Sly Stone-ish) bass that gives it a feeling of its own. Not as considered as Vitous' later recordings with ECM but in a way much fresher.
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on 24 November 2004
The funkiest album I have ever heard bar none, but it doesn't just stimulate the booty. This is intelligent, progressive, vicseral (oxymoronic language I know, but Miroslav pulls it off), pumping synth funk of the very highest order!
Ok the title track is a bit of a smelly new-age let down, but don't let that put you off. If you are at all interested in the development of dance music + the electric bass as an instrument, you need to have this album.
Also, the digital transfer is excellent. It sounds rich & heavy - in a good way.
I just hope someone decides to put his un-rereleased album "Purple" on CD...
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on 31 October 2013
Saw this in a record shop nearly 40 years ago didnt buy it ,to expensive as an import then, now ive got it why did i wait so long ,fantastic ,brilliant,and any other superlatives you may care to use .Miroslav is the master,get a copy ,as fresh now as it would be then .
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on 20 May 2014
Despite very good sound quality, the vocal tracks do not sound very convincing. Much better instrumental piece, however only one - Synthesizer Dance. One of the weakests points in, otherwise, excellent dyscography
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on 9 September 2014
A visionary record, way ahead of the trance and techno music which followed it. Listen to track one, Basic Laws, and you're hooked.
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on 7 December 2006
My honest opinion is that "Magical Shepherd" is a pretty dreadful record, probably Vitous' worst-ever. It's almost worth it for the cover, which is completely laughable and has to be a classic among ludicrous record covers (the 'magical shepherd', wearing a dead sheep, holds his Rex Bogue doubleneck while looking soulfully out of a window on to the cosmos, and dig the skull on the table!), but the music is (IMHO!) half-baked funk which has been diluted still further - no, fatally poisoned! - with awful twee girlie backing vocals. This originally came out on Warner's who dropped Vitous like a brick immediately afterwards. Probably ANY other Miroslav album is better. I bought it on record when it first came out and was very disappointed, as I believe to this day that Miroslav Vitous is a genius and one of the world's greatest upright bass virtuosos.

But there must be something good about it, surely? The playing is good, of course, how could it not be with a line-up like this? Herbie Hancock, Jack De Johnette and James Gadson can't play badly. Vitous's riff on the 1st track is simple, sounds huge the way he plays it, and has his own sort of lurching off-centre funk to it...but the lyrics are..."first learn the basic laws of return"...if he'd done that himself he would have made a record which earned/returned him some royalties and kept his contract, for a start. It goes down from there...Hancock gooses things along a bit though...which fits, considering what he was doing on his own funk LPs.

However no doubt there was pressure from the record company A&R to come up with something vaguely commercial, as by this time more and more 'fusion' albums were increasingly featuring disco drum beats and those wretched backing vocals, in a misguided effort to make the genre radio-friendly. And obviously the "Magical Shepherd" tag is some clueless American corporate idiot's answer to the 'gee, how do we market this guy?' dilemma.

Miroslav's next LP was "Majesty Music", his first for Arista, and the material on that recording is not only far better than this, but evokes Weather Report in places, is rich and funky and looks forward to his ECM period too; difficult to find but worth tracking down.

Finally I should note that, following a furious 'you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about' comment (see comments below - you review it then!), I have toned down and completely edited this review. I concede that some like it and hear it as raw/deep/funky/suitable for a basement party etc, but it doesn't change the fact that most of it is blighted by the stupid vocals and (IMHO) this is still his worst record. "Magical Shepherd"? Baaa.
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on 13 August 2015
Great CD
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