Mike Batt's second solo release on Epic, Tarot Suite, was inspired by the 22 major arcana trump cards of the tarot deck. If the listener wants to make sense of the concept of this album, the insert provides a handy description and explanation of the various cards and how they relate to the music. If not, Tarot Suite certainly holds its own as an artfully and literate collection of orchestrated rock & roll. Joining Batt is an impressive assemblage of musicians, including guitarists Chris Spedding, Jim Cregan, Rory Gallagher, and Tony McPhee and saxophonist Mel Collins. Enlisted for vocals are ex-Zombie lead singer Colin Blunstone for the gentle pop numbers and former Family vocalist Roger Chapman for the more rocking songs. Frankly, Chapman has never appeared to have better control of his voice than on "Imbecile." Either Batt or maturity has brought out the best in this much-maligned singer. He also sings on the more subdued "Run Like the Wind." One of Blunstone's songs, "Lady of the Dawn," achieved respectable "hit" status in England. Like Schizophonia, this album is driven by the creative orchestral (London Symphony Orchestra) arrangements and songwriting of Batt. To his credit, Batt is not inhibited by allowing electric guitars and other instruments to assume a dominant role in his music rather than his own keyboard playing, which is utilized more for texture and mood purposes.
Tarot Suite Review
by Dave Sleger