Al Stewart
Past, Present and Future


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
October 14th, 2010 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist


Al Stewart actually described Past Present and Future as his “thesis,” and in a way, it’s true- the whole album is an excuse for “Nostradamus,” one of his most ambitious tracks and definitely his proudest. On original vinyl pressings, he dedicates the song a blurb of its own, scrawling excerpts from the life of its subject matter, a rather successful seer who gains foresight of Hitler’s rise, amongst other things. In another way, he’s lying: where’s the academia" Nostradamus left behind a tantalising history of the occult open to study and debate, yes, but trust Al Stewart to collect his prophesies like love letters. On this nine-minute closer, Al pours his heart out the same way Nick Drake would have when he sung about women, with the same feeling Dylan would purge divorce with. And Al’s written about love, of course, but Past, Present and Future is his most romantic moment.

The calm that comes before “Nostradamus” shares in this nostalgic love for nothing but history. “Old Admirals” is a long-gone tale, but its string arrangements and brass sections give it healthy eyes. “Post World War Two Blues,” too, oozes with life, taking the most serious of historical conquests and turning it into a romp; “Churchill just flapped his wings / and said I do not wish to discuss these things.” Citation needed for this thesis.

Al’s first four albums may have made good for inevitable collections, but Past Present and Future is a cohesive album with eight serious, realised songs; “Roads of Moscow” almost usurps “Nostradamus” in its epic balladry, performed as a darker twin, depicting the Russian wilderness rather than one of Al’s historical heroes. These two songs are perhaps the highlights of Al’s career as a folk musician, scribed and strummed in equal measure with an intimacy not found in the rest of his work (especially not in Down in the Cellar, wherein too much wine is consumed). Most importantly, though, these songs excite Al. He’s singing them for the nights spent debating the past. He’s giddy with the thought that someone out there has read the books he’s read. He’s head over heels for history. This is Al Stewart, the guy who takes over-head-projectors to shows and recommends textbooks on Russian history. This is his thesis, with love from Britain.



Recent reviews by this author
Jessica Pratt Quiet SignsMatt Douglas Affirmation (with Discomfort)
Kacey Musgraves Golden HourAngelo De Augustine Swim Inside the Moon
Jeff Rosenstock Worry.Okkervil River Away
user ratings (8)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2010


12092 Comments


omg you would

Digging: Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

AggravatedYeti
October 14th 2010


7683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

omg you did

crank
October 14th 2010


332 Comments


Robin: Why are you pretending you listen to anything other than Sufjan?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2010


16761 Comments


who IS this?

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2010


12092 Comments


gaslight, that bitch

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2010


16761 Comments


no i meant al stewart

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2010


12092 Comments


ouch. Educate yourself alex

Jethro42
October 14th 2010


15674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is Al Stewart (ohh, memories):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqZc7ZQURMs



Good review! Soho, Roads to Moscow and Nostradamus are the winners on here.

Digging: The Claypool Lennon Delirium - Monolith of Phobos

Douglas
October 15th 2010


9283 Comments


thought it said ALF stewart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99cV3iAXDNE

robin
Emeritus
October 15th 2010


4555 Comments


actually this is al stewart, feat. awful video interpretations!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa89bt0GZvQ

also i sure do love home and away(?)

Jethro42
October 15th 2010


15674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Get the acoustic live 'Rhymes in Rooms' if you haven't yet.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy