The Alan Parsons Project | Ammonia Avenue (Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set)


Ammonia Avenue, the seventh studio album by the Alan Parsons Project, enjoys a new and supremely expanded breath of life. A limited edition set for 2020 features three CDs, a Blu-ray Disc, two 12-inch vinyl singles, and a photo book. For the Alan Parsons Project, lead by engineer and producer Alan Parsons and songwriter, and singer Eric Woolfson, Ammonia Avenue would become a defining moment and one of the collective’s most successful ventures.  

The original record of nine tunes has David Paton’s floppy bass leading off “Prime Time,” to the big hit “Don’t Answer Me,” to “Dancing On A Highwire,” where Colin Blunstone of the Zombies fronts the perfect guitar jangle. Another highlight is the synth-and-string layering on “Pipeline,” featuring Mel Collins’ brilliant sax playing. As for extras, the first disc includes early roughs of “Don’t Answer Me” and “Since The Last Goodbye.”

The second disc, known as “Eric’s Songwriting Diary,” is filled with Woolfson’s demos, which is basically just him singing over piano. In some instances, like the few takes of “One Good Reason,” “Don’t Take Chances With Me,” and “Amelie’s Theme,” the full lyrics aren’t even worked out as Woolfson scats as he noodles the  piano. It’s a real treat to hear these intimate takes of a songwriter and his piano.

The third disc has radio commercials for the album and more ‘realized’ demos of the Ammonia Avenue material. The included illustrated book of recollections are from Alan Parsons and various members of Eric Woolfson’s family, among others. There are even reproductions of press kit pieces to be looked over.

Of course, with Alan Parsons, it’s always about the sound; on that note, the set does not disappoint. The Blu-ray Disc has a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album, while the two 12-inch vinyl records feature the album’s nine songs remixed in stereo. For anyone with a penchant for the Alan Parson Project, the limited edition deluxe box set of Ammonia Avenue from Esoteric Recordings is definitely something to pick up.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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