It's back to the seventies yet again I'm afraid, January 1973 again to be exact. I was going to try and break out but I watched a documentary and a performance of TB on BBC 4 and felt compelled to get it out again. Each different part is okay but it is the combined effort that wins you over. I liked Mike Oldfield's description, which I had not heard before of seeing them taking away some tubular bells from the Manor Studio and he thinking perhaps he could use them and so getting them to put them back. In all our lives fairly small things can have quite an impact further down the road in God's Providence. I thought it was brilliant when it was used in the Olympics ceremony. I'm sure I was very late discovering it but I owned a vinyl copy with its brilliant cover and remember the Second House live presentation introduced by Melvyn Bragg one Saturday night.
I remember the tongue in cheek notes on the album (a practice Horslips really got into around the same time)
"In Glorious Stereophonic Sound – Can also be played on mono-equipment at a pinch"
"This stereo record cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it into the nearest police station"
The album cover was apparently among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of "Classic Album Cover" postage stamps issued on 7 January 2010.
Another great fact I spotted on Wikipedia is that the only electric guitar to be used on the album was a 1966 blonde Fender Telecaster (serial no. 180728) which used to belong to Marc Bolan. Oldfield had added an extra Bill Lawrence pick-up and has since sold the guitar for £6500 and donated the money to the SANE charity. This guitar had been put up for auction a number of times by Bonhams in 2007, 2008 and 2009 with estimates of £25,000–35,000, £10,000–15,000 and £8,000–12,000 respectively.
It was always said that Mike Oldfield played all the instruments but there were others on it, quite a few. Having said that, he did play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar, Farfisa, Hammond B3 and Lowrey organs, flageolet, fuzz guitars, glockenspiel, "honky tonk" piano, mandolin, piano, percussion, "taped motor drive amplifier organ chord", timpani, vocals and tubular bells.