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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 86 ratings

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4 stars in a big picture this new full-fledge version is a masterpiece work as it tells the whole story with excellent music composition and orchestration. However, it has a very low point on the use of female vocal that really disrupts everything. Fortunately not every vocal line uses female.

My view on original recorded live version (1974)

This album is a BIG thing for me personally. The first time I knew this album was the first period I was introduced to progressive rock world by my brother, Henky, who then was the radio broadcaster for Geronimo radio station based in Yogya, Central Java. That was the time of my "right-placed childhood" (ugh .. what is it? It's an antithesis of Marillion "mis"placed childhood as I was so fortunate that I had a great big brother who forced me to prog ). He just gave me a "naked" cassette with no title at all, sent to me in Madiun, a small town in East Java. I remember that the recording quality was very poor. And at that time I never heard any kind of music with a lot of narration like this album. But the cassette really BLEW me!!! I played it everyday almost 2 or 3 times and not knowing who the artist/band was. I finally realized the artist behind the cassette after I catch a compilation of songs produced by Prambors radio (Jakarta) in which an edited version of "Journey" was listed and yeah RICK WAKEMAN mannnnn!!! Wow .. no wonder! By that time I only knew RW through his involvement in YESsongs and Fragile.

I admire on the high quality standard of this recorded live album. It's so fascinating music that has always made my adrenalin EXPLODED when I listen to this album! I mean it, my friend. No joke at all for a man as great as Mr. Wakeman! He's the greatest keyboard player I have ever known in my life. Needless to say that the overall composition of this album is definitely, absolutely top class! By that time I was not aware any inclusion of orchestra in rock music composition (later I knew DEEP PURPLE's Concerto for Groups and Orchestra and JON LORD's Windows).

About this 2012 version

Thanks to Amazon UK who delivered my fanpack copy faster than I expected. The first impression about this is off course the package which is really excellent especially the Classic Rock magz that describe the whole story about this seminal work from Rick Wakeman. Having read the story I realized that Journey was supposed to be the first solo album by Wakeman. But due to lucrative investment cost he then recorded the Six Wives first until it reached commercial success and used the proceeding to finance the recorded live version in 1974.

On the content of the CD itself I am pleased to hear the introductory narration by Peter Egan as the original narrator died in 2003. It's OK with this new one even though the powerful word of " the Hansbach!" is different in energy than the original version (sounded much more dynamic than the current one). The overture is really beautiful it is now recorded in digital era, the sound production is quite clear. I am really disappointed when the female voice starts to enter the music - it's really the lowest point of this version. It's nt that I don't like female voice but she does not sing charismatically so the music tends to be mellow like typical pop song.

The high point of this new version is when the album reaches The Battle - Cumulus Clouds - The Story - The Cemetary. For those who love this album I guarantee that you would like this new version better when it comes to The Battle. Oh man ... I love the dynamics of this piece as it starts wonderfully with Rick's inventive keyboard work. For some reason, I find this new version is much more compelling than the 1974 version. The keyboard solo is much more dynamic and it makes me really hooked with this piece. I keep repeating this piece when it reaches The Battle. I love the parts where it reaches SAVE ME ... SAVE ME well as PRAISE GOD ...PRAISE GOD! Oh maaaaannn ....this is really a real progrock music! Yeah! Not only that, there is an addition 1 minute piece at the end of The Battle and its transition piece. It's sooooo wonderful I tell you! The narration part in Cumulus Clouds is really beautiful. The Story demonstrates great keyboard solo by Rick and it fits beautifully with The Battle. It then flows to The Cemetery (narration) nicely.

This is for sure an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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