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Rick Wakeman - Criminal Record  CD (album) cover

CRIMINAL RECORD

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.68 | 183 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

It's a Crossroad for Mr. Wakeman

If you were there in the 70s, you might feel what I felt by the time this album was released. I got practically no information on when the album was planned to be released as at that time I got no connection to the world. Hello! This is 70s - there is no internet connection, of course. If there is, my English (I am sure) did not measure up to the development of rock music in the world. So when this album came out in the market I was not actually ready to accept it because by the time I was still quite "busy" with the bulk of great rock albums with Yes "Fragile", "Relayer", "Close To The Edge" and even "Tales From Topographic Ocean". And I was also still in love with Pink Floyd albums like "Dark Side of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here" or Genesis "Foxtrot", "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", "Selling England By The Pound". Oh yeas, I was also in love with Rick's previous works "No earthly Connection", "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur", "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", "Journey To The Center of The Earth" and many more classic rock albums of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc.

So, what I did feel really was .. why another new album of Rick Wakeman? Why not giving me more time to digest great albums of rock that most of them were really great? My cassette player (Panasonic, mono) was so busy with great rock albums at that time. I already changed the motor of the cassette player twice and the head unit thrice. You can imagine how intensive I was listening to music at that time. Oh yeah, rock music has been in my blood since I was fourteen. But, what can I do? If I didn't buy it, I sould not sit down together with my colleague rock lovers to discuss recent development of rock music. So I purchased the cassette anyway. Man . this album astonished me at first spin!

1977 saw Rick Wakeman's decision to come back with Yes after his departure in 1974 due to his disagreement with the direction of "Tales From Topographic Ocean". With new album of Yes "Going For The One" Rick proved that he was still great to be part of Yes. During his comeback with the band he released this "Criminal Record" - an almost instrumental concept album.

The first track that blew me away at first listen was "Chamber of Horrors" (6:40). The opening part with melodic keyboard notes is so touchy and it continues with great flow of music composition blending dynamic keyboard as well as its accompanying music. I almost scream to death listening to the great music harmony with the helps of Wakeman's Yes colleagues Chris Squire (bass) and Alan White (drums). Oh man .. this is the kind of music that races my adrenalin. In terms of musical style, this song is in the similar vein with the groundbreaking "Six Wives" but Rick had indicated a sense of different music direction of his music. Talking abot this album, I practically only played this track repeatedly and only occasionally I played other tracks.

It does not seem that "Statue of justice" (6:20) or "Crime of passion" (5:46) are not a good composition. They seem to me like these are not representing Wakeman. But they are not bad at all. In fact, these tracks indicate a shifting point on how Rick intended to change his musical direction. He was in his crossroad asking which direction he would make with his music under-taking? "Birdman of Alcatraz (4:12), "The breathalyzer" (3:51) or even "Judas Iscariot" (12:15) are not bad track at all. I could only enjoy these tracks later.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. There are songs with touchy music segments like "Chamber of Horrors", however, the rest of them do not truly send a "memorable" melody to many ears. But don't get me wrong, if you are really into prog music, you must have this legendary album. Keep on proggin' ..!

"If one does not know which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable."

Gatot | 4/5 |

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