Ommadawn

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Ommadawn
Studio album by Mike Oldfield
Released 21 October 1975 (1975-10-21)
Recorded The Beacon, January–September 1975
Genre Progressive rock, folk, world
Length 36:41
Label Virgin
Mercury (2010 reissue)
Producer Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
The Orchestral Tubular Bells
(1975)
Ommadawn
(1975)
Incantations
(1978)
Singles from Ommadawn
  1. "In Dulci Jubilo" / "On Horseback"
    Released: 14 November 1975[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

Ommadawn is the third record album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1975 on Virgin Records. It peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. The album was reissued by Mercury Records in June 2010 with additional content.

Album history[edit]

As with Hergest Ridge and Tubular Bells, Ommadawn is another two-movement work. Oldfield sought out the ancient Celtic influence on English music and composed for traditional instruments such as uilleann pipes on the original LP version. A set of Northumbrian smallpipes were also recorded, and credited to "Herbie", but this recording was not used on the album.

The album was recorded at Oldfield's home at Hergest Ridge, The Beacon, and was the only album to be recorded there (though Oldfield's previous album shares its name with the location). The cover photograph was taken by David Bailey.

An SQ system quadraphonic remix version of Ommadawn was released on Boxed a year later. Oldfield's 1990 album Amarok was conceived as a sequel to Ommadawn, but turned into something quite different; Virgin had been pushing Oldfield for a sequel to Tubular Bells.[3] Excerpts from Ommadawn were featured in the 1979 NASA film, The Space Movie.

The topic of Ommadawn is covered in the final episode of the Tony Palmer documentary series All You Need is Love; episode 17 "Imagine (New Directions)".[4]

A small portion of Ommadawn "Part One" was used as the theme music for the BBC's Jackanory on occasions when John Grant narrated his Littlenose stories.

In June 2010 the album was reissued by Mercury Records; the release included a demo version of the work.

Album title and lyrics[edit]

In his autobiography, Changeling, Oldfield states that he just wanted "sounds" not "sensible" lyrics. He asked Clodagh Simonds, one of the musicians he was working with, to write down the first words that came into her head. This resulted in the following in English:

Daddy's in bed, The cat's drinking milk, I'm an idiot, And I'm laughing.[5]

The "lyrics" sung at the end of "Ommadawn (Part 1)" are:

Ab yul ann idyad awt
En yab na log a toc na awd
Taw may on omma dawn ekyowl
Omma dawn ekyowl

Oldfield states that Clodagh phoned a relative or friend to translate into Irish for the song. The word "idiot" translated into amadán which he Anglicised into "Ommadawn" for the title of the album.

Oldfield previously denied this meaning of ommadawn, calling it a nonsense word, apparently as a ruse to enhance the mystery of his music.[6][7]

"On Horseback" and "In Dulci Jubilo"[edit]

Though the actual work Ommadawn is a two-part piece, there is a third track on the album, a short vocal song by Mike Oldfield and William Murray called "On Horseback". "On Horseback" relates to Oldfield, Murray and Leslie Penning's time riding ponies around the area of Hergest Ridge.[5]

In November 1975, Oldfield released the single "In Dulci Jubilo", with "On Horseback" as the B-side. It reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1976. In France, "In Dulci Jubilo" was coupled to a remix of the end of part 1 of Ommadawn. Some copies of the album also include "In Dulci Jubilo" at the end, instead of "On Horseback".

Instrumentation[edit]

Oldfield involved musicians noted for their work in folk music including Clodagh Simonds and Paddy Moloney. He combined this with heavy African influences, mainly by the use of the drummers of Jabula. This makes Ommadawn one of the first successful world music albums in Europe.

Two electric guitars which feature on the album are a red Gibson SG Junior and a blonde Fender Telecaster. Oldfield appears to have been using two electric bass guitars at the time; a Fender Precision and a Gibson EB-3. An acoustic bass guitar built by Tony Zemaitis and a Ramirez classical guitar feature on the album. The piano on the album is likely to be a Bösendorfer. A Fender lap steel guitar is also thought to feature on "On Horseback", although uncredited. Many of Oldfield's instruments from this period are shown in a photograph which was included in the Boxed 4-LP box set.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by Mike Oldfield, except where noted.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Ommadawn, Part One" – 19:23

Side two[edit]

  1. "Ommadawn, Part Two" – 13:54
  2. "On Horseback" (not actually titled on album) – 3:23
  • "On Horseback" is not listed on the record label, but added to the length of "Ommadawn (Part Two)", giving it a new length of 17:17. It is, however, referred to on the inner sleeve where it is noted that "the words to the horse song on side two by Mike Oldfield and William Murray". The songsheet for "On Horseback" says "Music by Mike Oldfield, Words by Mike Oldfield and William Murray".

Personnel[edit]

Mercury Records reissue[edit]

On 7 June 2010 the album was re-released by Mercury Records. This came part of a deal in which Oldfield's Virgin albums were transferred to the label. Bonus features for the album include a 2010 5.1 mix of the album and a track titled the 'lost version'.[9] The album includes "In Dulci Jubilo", "First Excursion", "Argiers" and "Portsmouth".[10]

The original LP artwork was restored; in previous CD issues the text had been centralised and increased in size. A 180 gram vinyl was released as a part of the Back to Black series.[11] The digital edition contains the content from the 2 CDs of the Deluxe Edition. The Japanese release uses the SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) manufacturing process.

There is also a limited edition box set of the album, comprising a deluxe edition, an LP and a framed, numbered and signed print of the album artwork. Only 250 copies were produced which were sold through mikeoldfieldofficial.com and released on 14 June.[12] There are no un-signed variants.

Track listing[edit]

Standard Edition[edit]

  1. "Ommadawn {Part One}" (2010 stereo mix)
  2. "Ommadawn {Part Two}" / "On Horseback" (2010 stereo mix)
  3. "In Dulci Jubilo"
  4. "First Excursion"
  5. "Argiers"
  6. "Portsmouth"

Deluxe Edition[edit]

CD 1[edit]
As per standard edition
CD 2[edit]
  1. "Ommadawn {Part One}" (1975 stereo mix)
  2. "Ommadawn {Part Two}" / "On Horseback" (1975 stereo mix)
  3. "Ommadawn {Lost Version}" (1975 demo)
DVD[edit]
  1. "Ommadawn {Part One}" (2010 5.1 surround mix)
  2. "Ommadawn {Part Two}" / "On Horseback" (2010 5.1 surround mix)
  3. "In Dulci Jubilo"
  4. "Portsmouth"

Back To Black Vinyl Edition[edit]

  1. "Ommadawn {Part One}" (1975 stereo mix)
  2. "Ommadawn {Part Two}" / "On Horseback" (1975 stereo mix)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mike Oldfield Discography – Singles – "In Dulci Jubilo"". Amadian.net. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Ommadawn at AllMusic
  3. ^ "Amarok". Tubular.net. Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music". Tony Palmer. Retrieved 31 March 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Oldfield, Mike (2007). Changeling – Autobiography of Mike Oldfield. Virgin Books. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7535-1307-1. 
  6. ^ "The title". Ommadawn.dk. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Mike Oldfield FAQ". Tubular.net. 30 December 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2008. 
  8. ^ "Ommadawn Instruments". Tubular.net. Retrieved 7 June 2008. 
  9. ^ "Ommadawn Deluxe Edition". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Ommadawn". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Ommadawn Limited 180 gram Vinyl LP". What Records. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Hergest Ridge & Ommadawn – Deluxe Editions – 7th June 2010". MikeOldfield.com. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 

External links[edit]