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Rick Wakeman - Criminal Record CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 232 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I missed White Rock for some strange reason. I have seen that album in the shops several times but its sleeve design failed to interest me even with the name of this master of keys on it, and I still haven't heard it.

I went directly for this Criminal Records, instead. Also this has a quite bad sleeve design that's also misleading because there's not plenty of grand piano inside, in the sense that there are many other keys, too. Coming from the excellent "No Earthly Connection" I remember to having been a bit disappointed for the absence of lyrics, except for the grotesque blues of Breathalyser, but this album didn't take too long to grow.

Grand piano is the lead instrument in the intro of "Statue Of Justice"., an intro which unexpectedly sounds very close to the Emerson's style, but when the keyboards are in, with more or less the sounds of "Going For The One", it's clear that the "Master of Keys" is back in all his splendour. This first track has some folk background which gives it a feeling similar to that of Six Wives, but it's more solar.

"Crime Of Passion", after the piano intro, is very melodic and sounds similar to Wonderous Stories with sounds which are a Wakeman's trademark. Then it becomes darker for a while. A blues remind and a medieval interlude to return to the initial theme followed by a piano coda.

Last track of side "A" (I have it in vinyl) is "Chamber Of Horrors". Not as dark as the title, is my favorite on this album. It's probably the only Wakeman's track that I've really tried to play on an organ (I'm surely not a keyboardist), that means that's easy enough, even on the fastest parts. Luckily I have never attempted a live performance of it. I remember I was very satisfied of Side A, especially for this track.

The B side is opened by a nice melodic piano piece. I remember a sad movie about the "Birdman of Alcatraz",however this music is sweet, not sad. Probably the first Wakeman's composition which can be considered borderline with newage.

The short "Breathalyser" is mainly a joke. After an initial part which is uptime it falls into a blues sung by some "Bill Oddie", likely a pseudonym (from Odd, I think. An Odd Bill ?). NOTE: I've been informed that Bill Oddie is a comedian, not a pseudonym. Apologies to him. It's a pity because I thought the joke on his name was nice.

At the end of the album the church organ of "Judas Iscariot" is a return to the pretentious and pompous sounds of Journey and of Myths. At about minute 4 the chords remind to Pink Floyd's Echoes for just a while, then a female choir reminds us about Journey, before moving to more relaxing soundscapes of piano and vocals, then it's back to the initial theme enriched by a choir this time. The coda is possibly too long even with the "grand" finale..

It's an album that I love, but I'm personally not comfortable in rating it more than 3 stars.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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