The Silence of a Candle or Ralph Towner sings...

A time machine scoop, folks… I'm a loyal follower and scholar of maestro Ralph Towner since my boyhood… I can play some of his great tunes and guitar pieces… met him several times after his concerts in my Country and own everything or so he recorded, solo, with Oregon, Paul Winter Concort or others…

… or so, I wrote…

Last Sunday flea market, visiting my vinyl pusher, he offered something… I mean something: a mint copy of Paul Winter Consort Icarus on Epic, dating back to 1972…

I was looking for this very wax since a long time and… voila'.

This disc is very important for any Towner, McCandless and Walcott's scholar as some great compositions were played and recorded, sort-of pre-dating the birth-to-come of Oregon, the group whose consistency lasted for about 40 discs and years, also if abruptly interrupted and shaken at its foundation when The late, great Collin Walcott perished in a dramatic car accident in Germany, in 1984… only after a week or so after yours truly saw him and Oregon in concert in Padua, a 100% acoustic concert which a younger me loved immensely and which I still listen to from the C120 Dolby C cassette recorded at the venue on a Sony WM6DC.

…  but back to the 'Icarus" vinyl: the group is quite raw and primitive, recording - also if cover claims production by George Martin and remixing at London AIR Studios - is nothing special.

Music is special, indeed…

On side One, the third track is a well-known title "The Silence of a Candle", a timeless melody which was reiterated more times is different shape, sell keeping its beauty.

A true masterpiece!

When my Lumiere DST cartridge reached the track, I already read from liner-notes that Ralph Towner was on vocals… also saw and read the text, so… was sort-of prepared…


A young, as seen on the hippy-ey, new-agey cover, Ralph Towner began singing with a beautiful, never heard voice… strangely reminding to me (young) Van Morrison!

Look at the standing young gent, center cover, with sideburns… those were the days.

The piano was beautifully accenting and underlining the melody and the text served the unicity and completeness - at last - of the very first iteration of the tune, which I discovered - to my surprise - to be a  song!

… not really surprised to find Ralph - beside being a guitar player, a maven on both classical and 12 strings guitars, a pianist, a cornet player… a supremely talented and gifted multi-instrumentalist also in his early recording years, also owned such a beautiful voice… well, made me feeling closer to one of my most beloved composers and musicians in my personal Pantheon.

… not shocked or surprised, but with a sense of warmness and communion, coming from knowledge and enjoyment.

… from the mist of long-gone decades, to the eternity of Music.

Thanking maestro Towner for the endless pleasure he gave to me with his music and trusting he's better, now and fully recovered and re-found good health. 

Stefano Bertoncello