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Rick Wakeman - Criminal Record CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 232 ratings

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5 stars It is an album like this that makes a grizzled progoholic who still loves the old stuff moan with pleasure, grin with surprise and weep of days long past. The background of Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record is well-documented here and elsewhere, and it's no surprise it came out of the second period when members of Rick's "other band" were contributing to his solo work. All the better, as it shows once again how fundamental this genius's music and sound was to that hugely popular group. I also hear what sounds like a composer who knew the time and audience for his material was limited, and who took full advantage of that moment. I dare say this is one of Wakeman's finest hours.

The Steinway Grand delicately intros the first of six reflections on criminality and society's responses in 'Statue of Justice', swept up by Rick's killer Hammond C3 with perfect layers of Biotrons and Polymoogs gloriously ribboned throughout, trading frighteningly hot phrases in a conversation only this man could have with himself. It's all the band can do to keep up, and a fabulous first cut. A similar theme is drafted but slowed for 'Crime of Passion', up-tempo 'Chamber of Horrors', and tinkly 'Birdman of Alcatraz' foreshadows the Genesis '80s sound with some lofty if appropriate Liberace-rock. 'The Breathalyser' is a fine piece featuring plenty of bubbly synths and a funny blues vocal, topped by the spectacular twelve-minute 'Judas Iscariot' with an immense church organ and all its enormous Phantom of the Opera atmosphere and references. Delicious, and deserves to sit proudly in every vintage prog fan's collection.

Atavachron | 5/5 |


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