After dealing with the weighty subjects of Egypt (Pyramid) and womankind (Eve), by the turn of the decade and 1980's The Turn of a Friendly Card The Alan Parsons Project were preoccupied with the perils and self-destructive tendencies of gambling. The album proved to be a popular one and in addition to climbing as high as #13 on Billboard it spawned two Top 20 hit singles with 'Games People Play' and 'Time'. The latter was notable for marking Eric Woolfson's first lead vocal on a Project album having usually recorded guide vocals for the demos only and then having his efforts delivered in the final version by the array of different singers the Project were fond of using.
The Turn of a Friendly Card is an album very much divided into two halves with the first side comprising four catchy, radio friendly, pop rockers and the second an instrumental prelude into an orchestrated epic. In a change with tradition the opening number is not an instrumental but the lightweight 'May Be A Price To Pay; which is the only track here not really up to scratch. 'Games People Play' is sung by Lenny Zakatek and carries an infectious melody with the aforementioned 'Time' offering a careworn and heartfelt ballad, and one which evidenced Woolfson as a more than capable vocalist. Zakatek also handles vocals on the bittersweet, jazzy, 'I Don't Wanna Go Home'. Sax led instrumental 'The Gold Bug' offers an appealing and mellow interlude and sets the album up nicely for the fifteen minute, five part, title suite which comprised the entire Side B on the original vinyl release. High on melody and with a number of twists and turns it makes for a thoughtful and compelling piece that rates as one of the real highlights of the Projects output.
As an album this one has dated rather well and with the usual number of demos and rough versions tracing the development of the piece it is a good place to start for Project newcomers.
- "May Be a Price to Pay"
- "Games People Play"
- "I Don't Wanna Go Home"
- "The Gold Bug"
- "The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part One)"
- "Snake Eyes"
- "The Ace of Swords"
- "Nothing Left to Lose"
- "The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part Two)"
- "May Be a Price to Pay" (intro/demo) -bonus track
- "Nothing Left to Lose" (basic backing track) -bonus track
- "Nothing Left to Lose" (Chris Rainbow overdub compilation) -bonus track
- "Nothing Left to Lose" (early studio version with Eric's guide vocal) -bonus track
- "Time" (early studio attempt) -bonus track
- "Games People Play" (rough mix) -bonus track
- "The Gold Bug" (demo) -bonus track