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Rick Wakeman - Criminal Record CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 232 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Recently Iīve decided to take a look at some albums I missed in the 70īs, specially in the latter part of that decade], when I was a teenager and prog was completely out of fashion. Not that I had given up prog entirely, but since it was not that popular I could not rely upon borrowing from my friends like I used (Lps were costly and as a student, I was broke most of the time). And among all the prog acts Rick Wakeman was definitly the most unwanted then (overexposure and excess of pomp made him a specially easy target for critics, most of them utterly in love with the recently arrived punk movement). So I had little patience to hear his new works.

Now I regret that attitude, since both White Rock and Criminal Record were excellent symphonic prog CDs. Granted: they are not his best, but still excellent keyboard driven effords. Better than a lot of what was being made by other prog acts (remember ELPīs Love Beach?). With the lack of his trademark orchestral embelishment and a īrealīrock band to support and enhance those records, itīs easy to see both CDs as selfish, indulgent outlets, but they are clearly. In fact, I found myself listening to Criminal Record over and over again since last week. And I found it to be extremely pleasant. This mostly instrumental album (there is only one tracks that have lyrics on it) has some terrific Wakeman compositions. The fact that Yes rhythm section was around was a great help too (he recorded CR while Yes was cutting the classic Going For The One, hence the disposal of Alan White and Chris Squire to give a hand). Percussionist Frank Ricotti also added his talents os several tracks.

Although this album is far from being perfect, it displays terrific Wakemanīs songs like the frantic Statue Of Liberty, the poignantly simple The Birdman Of Alcatraz and the very insteresting Chamber Of Horrors. Even not so outstanding tracks like the whimsical blues of the Breathalyser have its charm and do not sound as out of place now as they may have done so in the past. Looking back is easy to see that the recordīs main problem is simply wrong timing. Maybe he could have made it a little better, maybe he should have included a little more instrumentation (that means, a guitar here and there), but still the songs are strong, the arrangements are tasteful and the perfomances are spotless. In all, a "too perfect" record in a time punk was the rule in the press and disco was in fashion for the masses. Still it stood well the test of time and Iīm glad I found it in time to fully appreciated.

If you like freat keyboard driven symphonic prog, donīt miss this one.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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