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  • Between the Wars
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Between the Wars

35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 16, 1995
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$73.00 $10.99

1. Night Train To Munich
2. The Age Of Rhythm
3. Sampan
4. Lindy Comes To Town
5. Three Mules
6. A League Of Nations
7. Life Between The Wars
8. Betty Boop's Birthday
9. Marion The Chatelaine
10. Joe The Georgian
11. Always The Cause
12. Laughing Into 1939
13. The Black Danube

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic/Q Records
  • ASIN: B000002JU1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

5 star
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4 star
11%
3 star
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J.Espresso on June 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
What a pleasure to find this amazing album reissued. For years, it had been out of circulation and only available at extortionate prices.

Al Stewart is known for creating his own genre - that of historical folk. Whether or not he actually created the genre is debatable, but what's indisputable that he does it very well. Between the Wars is not the best known of the Stewart oeuvre, however it does showcase him at his songwriting best.

To put it simply, Between the Wars marks the artistic high point of Al Stewart's career - so far. And I do mean "so far", as after a comparatively weak 1980's period, Al's last few releases have all been very strong efforts. On Between the Wars, Al found a chemistry with former Wings guitarist Laurence Juber. Acoustic sounds dominate, and the songwriting is consistently phenomenal - it's erudite, steeped in history, and successful in evoking moods that conjure the years between WWI and WWII.

The Django Reinhardt inspired Night Train to Munich kicks off this CD, and - never mind bad - there isn't a sub-standard song in the lot. Age of Rhythym evokes Dorothy Parker, the writers of the Algonquin Rountable, and prohibition era speakeasies. Sampan takes us to colonial SE Asia, and Lindy Comes to Town bursts with the optimism that must have accompanied that first transatlantic flight, undoubtedly the moonshot of its day.

It would be easy to write lots about each selection on this gem of a CD, but don't want this to become a book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on October 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I saw they were finally re-issuing this little-noted album from the latter part of Al's catalog, I was very excited. But after the cd arrived, I quickly concluded that this was not in the league of Past, Present, and Future, and put it aside for a while.

But a few weeks ago I decided to give it another chance. I had misjudged it. Sure, there are no "Roads to Moscow" or "Nostradamus" epics on this record, but that's because its aim is much smaller. This is a series of intricate, acoustic-guitar based songs that are heavily dependent on the delicate, remarkable interplay between Al and Lawrence Juber (formerly of Wings, circa Back to the Egg).

The two of them sketch beautiful tone poems that touch on the era between the two world wars, but are much smaller in scale and feel. For example, the song about Stalin, "Joe the Georgian," is not the epic you might expect, but a much more intimate, waltz-like song that still manages to articulate the mass of fear and menace that surrounded that dictator.

Other songs evoke particular events or locations, like the wonderfully witty, gorgeous "Sampan." I felt like I was re-watching Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles as I was listening to that one. "Always the Cause," about the Spanish Civil War, and "A League of Notions," are similarly well-crafted and grow in my estimation with each listen.

This is a must-have record in my opinion, not quite in the league with Modern Times or Past, Present, and Future, but certainly very close.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Anderson on July 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Unlike so many great songwriters who mellow in middle age and peter out, Al Stewart continues making occasional but brilliant albums which critics and the public largely ignore. This album showcases a bunch of great and a few merely good songs, played mostly by Al and guitarist Lawrence Juber with drums and bass and soloists added sparingly. I read in an interview with Juber (if memory serves) that half the songs on the album are merely remixed versions of the demo tracks that he and Al made prior to the main recording sessions. This is not a bad thing, though the sound quality of this album is surely a notch or two below the big hit albums that Stewart recorded with Alan Parsons. On the whole, I'd say that the songs may be a tad underproduced -- these beautiful songs actually deserve sweetening with string sections or maybe a full band with keyboards, saxophone, and the whole shebang. Did one reviewer say that the opening track, Night Train to Munich, was "rockin'"? Hardly. It has more in common with Django Reinhardt than rock music. This is intelligent pop with a bit of a chamber jazz feel to it. Rock, it is not. Rock, it does not. Al's memorable words and melodies are beautiful, as ever.
Al Stewart has problems with record companies. A jinx perhaps. He releases albums and they are not promoted. His last two record companies went out of business and the records go out of print. His latest album is only available on EMI import at great cost. I find it hard to justify the high cost of this CD, purchased as used rarity. But it is a far better record than lots of others that people are paying high prices for. If you have the money and you want the best pop music in the world, go for it! This is the genuine article.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vinzo on March 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Al Stewart is the single best folk songwriter of tales of long ago and far away. He has a way with words and stories that transcends labels. His skills as a songwriter and storyteller have been far too long overlooked. "Between the Wars" is the beautiful melding of musical styles, great guitar playing and tales of events between WWI and WWII. No one but Al could pull it off. He has made a truly exceptional recording. His accompianists, as tasteful as ever, take his songs to new heights and lend so much to each compostition.
Al Stewart writes with such intelligence that the listener yearns to learn more about the subjects. In concert, he usually provides glimpses into the creation of his songs, which is very entertaining. Of course, those few people who know that this man has continued to make incredible music after his fling with "Year of the Cat" fame, are well aware of his estimitable catalogue of great music. "Between the Wars" ranks up there with his very best.
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