Asher Quinn is an English composer, singer and instrumentalist from London. Currently he's working as a Jungian analyst. He started out playing the piano but eventually he became a troubadour and travelled extensively as such. Anthony Phillips (ex-Genesis) became a friend and produced his first album Open Secrets (1987). Part of his music has been inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Daniel Lanois, the other part by his travels and classical composers. This double album is a compilation of many vocal songs, but it also contains a number of instrumental songs, originally recorded for piano. It's a beautiful way of relaxing, chilling out and just listening to the lyrics, many of them performed by Quinn, whose voice has characteristics from singers like Cohen and Cat Stevens. The first three songs of CD1 are in the vein of Leonard Cohen and a mellow Cat Stevens, the fourth track is Quinn's new age influenced version of the famous negro spiritual. La Vie D'Une Oiseau is a new age piano piece with just some recorders added. If You Believed In Love is a sung ballad accompanied by the piano. Heal Your Heart, sung by Susanna Bramson, and Gypsy Madonna are mellow ballads close to new age music. Lily Of The West is a typical troubadour-like song, a traditional, recorded earlier by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. A YouTube-version of the Leonard Cohen's classic LIke A Bird On The Wire is an homage to Cohen but Quinn's piano version, a low-budget recording, can hardly compete with the original. Quinn adapted the hymn I Heard The Voice Of Jesus in a 'troubadour' kind of a way and in the style of early Dylan. Another piano improvisation, orchestrated in a later stage by Phillips is the beautiful new age song A Solitary Bird. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is a simple, but true rendition of a song by Ewan McColl, a nice combination of plucking an acoustic guitar with a tasteful orchestration. More gentle ballads, again sung by Quinn, are Field Of Stars, based on an original composition for acoustic guitar, and Girl Jesus, a live version based on a piano piece. Slightly orchestrated is Hang On To A Dream, a classic hit by Tim Hardin taken from his cover album Songs Of Love And Chains. Quinn's voice sounds like Cat Stevens here with characteristics of Marianne Faithfull after her album Broken English. Purely orchestral new age songs are Soldier Of Love, with a lovely guitar solo by Andy Latimer (Camel), and House Of Spirits with woodwind instruments playing the melodies. Sharon Sage shares the vocals with Quinn in the spiritual song Gloria inspired by Slavonic Liturgies.
CD2 opens with a live version of Morning Sun, a ballad accompanied by piano. Golden Brown sounds like Leonard Cohen meets Bob Dylan. It's an adaptation from the hit by The Stranglers. New age combined with folk music can be heard in Love Call followed by a spiritual from Greece, Missa Greca, and a rendition of the famous sixteenth century folk song Greensleeves. One of the best pieces of Quinn's new age debut is Sacred Heart included on this compilation. It's quite a contrast to Quinn's version of Silent Night, child's play to me. In between the aforementioned track we have The Marriage Of The Sun And The Moon from the album of the same name. Another YouTube-version of a piano piece is Have Mercy On Me which is of disputable sound quality. This Love is one of the many mellow ballads, just like the American fireside traditional Copper Kettle. Prayer For The World and Please Let Me Get What I Want are tasteful symphonic ballads. The latter is an adaption from Morrissey and The Smiths, the mouth harp reminds me of Dylan. Forgiveness is a live recording by Quinn with his acoustic guitar as a Dylan-cloned troubadour. A sweet song is Down In The Willow Garden, but I like the version by Art Garfunkel better. Sailing On The Silk Blue Sea is originally a piano improvisation, later transformed to an orchestrated acoustic guitar piece; a very nice instrumental track. A reworked version of Amazing Grace by Daniel Lanois is a good example of new age meeting soft pop music with a symphonic touch. A worthy final track and also the longest one is Return To Your Soul, in the vein of Suzanne Ciani, a very melodic piece.
Forgotten Langauage Of The Heart is a nice overview of the works from Asher Quinn, but the combination of troubadour songs, piano pieces, live recordings, spiritual songs and new age music sounds a bit strange to me. From the point of view of a fan of progressive and/or symphonic music, only half of the songs could be described as somewhat symphonic, none of them being 'progressive'. Nevertheless the atmosphere is quite enjoyable.