Medwyn Goodall is one of the most productive artists in New Age music. With 150+ albums to his name, there is a real need for collections featuring key tracks from his rich discography. Over the last few months five new collections have been released; Two by MG Music and three by Plusquam Records. They are generally very good, and give fresh perspectives on Medwyn Goodall’s music. Both new and old fans should definitely check them out.
In this age of music streaming and never ending playlists, one can ask if we really need “Best of” albums any more? A listener can easily compile playlists based on popular or highly ranked tracks. But I believe in the “Best of” consept because we still need high quality, themed playlists – which the below collections are examples of.
Essential Medwyn – The Very Best 2000-2014 (MG Music)
This 19 tracks, 2 hour 23 minute long release, is a true feast for any Medwyn Goodall fan. It starts with two songs from the Earth Goddess (2008) album – Topaz and Totem. These two songs are totally amazing, and a warm and positive opening to the compilation. It gets a bit more chilled with The Crystal Chard from The Sorcerer’s Daughter (Aria) (2006) and River of Dreams from Dreamweaver (2014). Then there’s two tracks from Tears of the Dragon (2011), The Grand Illusion and The Time Keepers. Then we get a taste of Tribal Nation (2005), the beautiful Lumaria. Volume 1 ends with Dances on Clouds from Eye of the Wolf.
The high points on Volume 2 are Solar Waves from Medicine Woman 4 (one of Medwyn’s all time best songs), Serve Chilled (from the album with the same name) and Dare to Dream (Dreamweaver).
The last part of Volume 2 is dedicated to Medwyn’s fantasy oriented music: House of the Elders, The Elven Forest and Elven.
The overall design of the collection is that Volume 1 is melody driven, while Volume 2 shows more meditative qualities.
The Guitar Man (MG Music)
Arguably the most interesting title of the four, The Guitar Man contains a selection of Medwyn Goodall’s finest guitar tracks from 2000 until today. When Medwyn was 11 he met pop superstar Cliff Richards, who inspired him to make music his career choice. In this context it is obvious that the guitar was Medwyn’s main instrument. This is why this collection is important.
That said, I would rather see him release an album called Synth Man, because that is what he truly is. Even on this guitar themed release, the guitar track could have been replaced by any synth lead instrument – and it would have sounded just as great. Medwyn does not use guitars like Mike Oldfield for instance.
The Guitar Man starts with the song Totem from from the Earth Goddess (2008) album. It is an amazing song and features Medwyn’s electric guitar in a great way. Track two, Moonlit Tide, has both an acoustic steel string guitar and an electric guitar. The 7 minutes the song takes seems to fly away. My favorite guitar track thought is Sun Dew. The acoustic guitar really shines throughout the song.
Other amazing songs here are Amulet and Transformation Part 2. These are not just some of Medwyn’s best, but some of the finest New Age music songs ever created. They show his unique melodic talent. I could listen to these songs all day.
The below albums are all re-releases of Medwyn’s releases on Oreade Music from the early 2000s.
Spirit Journey (Plusquam Records)
Spirit Journey is, as the name implies, a compilation about different forms of spiritual journeys. Thought this compilation is nothing other than a re-release of Medwyn’s 2001 album Sacred Medicine, with a different track order and new cover.
The Wisdom of the Ages (Plusquam Records)
This can be considered as a re-release of Medwyn’s 2002 album Anam Cara – where the last track, Anam Cara Reprise, is the first. I like the original track numbering better – though it is an OK shuffle of the tracks. It’s different, though still the same. That’s the goal for any compilation.
Manitou The Great Spirit (Plusquam Records)
This is a re-release of Shoshone Dream (2002). With only 6 tracks to shuffle, it is not strange that the feel of the original album and compilation are almost the same – although the first tracks of the original release come last. It is a bit like rewinding the album.
If I were to reccomend one of these compilations, it would be Essential Medwyn – The Very Best 2000-2014. Though with so much music to choose from, you would need at least a 100 track playlist to make a complete, best of album from this period.