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NOLAN & WAKEMAN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Nolan & Wakeman picture
Nolan & Wakeman biography
Collaboration started in 1999

Clive NOLAN and Oliver WAKEMAN team up for two concept albums. The liner notes are extensive with very good artwork. "Jabberwocky" is based upon a poem written in Lewis Carroll's novel "Through the Looking Glass" and features four parts, all represented by four different singers. "In this novel, Alice is looking for the meaning of a certain poem, called Jabberwocky. It's about a fierce creature in the woods, that threatens every being that trespasses its territory." This album is almost like a musical fairytale with bombastic keyboard based symphonic rock, and a very impressive line-up. The singers and the musicians are really great and very skilled! The music is a mix between the bands that the musicians and singers usually are playing in: LANDMARQ, MAGNUM, PENDRAGON and Rick WAKEMAN. A true masterwork, NOLAN & WAKEMAN's "Jabberwocky" is an outstanding album in all respects. Bravo!

"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a well known Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This wonderful story became the concept on which Clive NOLAN and Oliver WAKEMAN built this magnificent epos. This album is an incredible Rock Opera, a Progressive Rock Musical, a true musical experience brought forth by twin keyboards accompanied by some violin and flute and the classic metal guitars, bass and drums. The twin keyboards create a fantastic atmosphere, you think that a whole symphonic orchestra is participating. Beautiful arrangements and great story telling make this album VERY interesting.

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NOLAN & WAKEMAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 65 ratings
Jabberwocky
1999
3.39 | 54 ratings
The Hound of the Baskervilles
2002
3.18 | 14 ratings
Dark Fables
2021

NOLAN & WAKEMAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NOLAN & WAKEMAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NOLAN & WAKEMAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 5 ratings
Tales by Gaslight
2021

NOLAN & WAKEMAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NOLAN & WAKEMAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tales by Gaslight by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.39 | 5 ratings

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Tales by Gaslight
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Sometime back in the last century, young Mr Nolan and myself were on the way to the pub (all our interviews took place in the pub back then, no idea why), and he was incredibly excited about his next project. "I'm recording an album with Oliver Wakeman" he said to me, "and I'm going to have Rick on it but he will be providing narration and not playing keyboards, that will really mess with people's minds!". By this time in his career Clive had already been working on multiple projects (often many at the same time), some of which were bands but he had also undertaken Strangers On A Train which had seen him bring together different musicians and some singers (BTW ? where is the third album in that set Clive?), and in some ways this was the next logical step.

This set brings together both albums released by Clive and Oliver, namely 'Jabberwocky' and 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' along with 'Dark Fables' which is more of a bonus disc, containing songs from the unfinished 'Frankenstein' project plus a few others which did not make it onto the first two. Here we find Clive really pushing away from the progressive scene and instead much more into theatre, although using many from that genre to provide the music and vocals. Bob Catley (Magnum) and Tracy Hitchings (Quasar, Landmarq) are two key lead singers on both albums, but Ashley Holt is also involved and he is not the only Rick Wakeman musician as Tony Fernandez is also here, while Clive also reached into his back pocket to involve Karl Groom (Threshold) who was involved in virtually everything Clive was doing back then, as well as the likes of John Jowitt, Peter Gee etc.

'Jabberwocky' has less in the way of narration, but Rick does a nice job, while the songs and performances are a delight throughout. I have always felt that Tracy has been an under-utilised and somewhat under-rated singer, and throughout this and the next album she is an absolute delight, certainly showing no sign of nerves of being pitted against Bob Catley. Playing this album now, one can almost feel this is a transitional piece in some ways, as Clive and Oliver moved into theatrical but not leaving the prog world too far behind. There was a higher concentration on performances and songs than spoken word, and while there are some incredible passages, in some ways they were holding back a little.

After it had been released, Clive was at one of Rick's parties where he met Robert Powell. The actor said he had enjoyed 'Jabberwocky' and would be pleased to be involved in the next one, which is how he came to be an integral part of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. I have no hope at all of saying anything useful about this album as not only has it been one of my favourites ever since it was released, it was also the same for one of my daughter's and there was a solid year when it was the only music played in the car when she was in it (strangely enough, one of her older sisters had the same affinity with the debut Shadowland album). It is the perfect bringing together of music and narration, telling the story of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes and the case of the hound of the Baskervilles. Clive and Oliver have warmly embraced the storytelling, and have combined to produce an album which to my mind is incredibly important to this day. Just putting this on the player was like listening to an old friend and I was immediately transported back in time and up to Dartmoor.

It is a faultless album from start to end, and if one listens to this with an open mind with no expectation of it being an overbearing progressive masterpiece then there is much to be gained from it. Yes, of course there are proggy elements but there are also times when we get Russian folk dancing, classical, theatre, and so much more. Powell adds a certain gravitas, something which comes through with the singing as well, where all the performances have been taken to a new level.

'Dark Fables' is in many ways a bonus disc, and as I have only just written my review I suggest you seek that out separately, but to hear Rick closing the complete set with his rendition of "The Jabberwocky" is fitting.

For those who did not come across these albums the first time around then now is the time to discover the wonderful music of Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman. They have stood the test of time, while 'Baskervilles' will always be a classic in my mind.

 Dark Fables by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.18 | 14 ratings

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Dark Fables
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars This is a somewhat unusual release in that it is not really a complete album as such, but rather a gathering together of bits and pieces. Originally released as part of the 'Tales by Gaslight' boxed set, which also features the other two albums by Nolan and Wakeman, 'Jabberwocky' and 'Hound Of The Baskervilles'. This includes songs which did not make it onto those albums, including Rick Wakeman narrating "The Jabberwocky", as well as thirty minutes of music that was originally conceived for the abandoned 'Frankenstein' album. As well as both musicians obviously providing stellar keyboards, we also have performances from performances from Gordon Giltrap, Paul Manzi (The Sweet, Arena, Oliver Wakeman Band). Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Karl Groom (Threshold), David Mark Pearce (Oliver Wakeman Band, Munroe's Thunder) and Charlotte Dickerson.

In many ways this is almost impossible to review, in that it is a collection of rarities as opposed to a single considered concept, and one cannot be sure what would have been left in the final version of the 'Frankenstein' release, while the songs from 'Hound' seem somewhat strange to me in that I know the original album so very well indeed. This actually fits much better as part of the 'Tales by Gaslight' set, as there one understands this is more of a "bonus disc" than an album in its own right. It certainly pales when compared to the other two albums, and if someone heard this without the others they may come away with some false impressions as although there are some wonderful moments on here, such as "Why Do You Hate Me?" where Frankenstein's monster questions why he exists, this is going to be mostly for already-existing fans who will be pleased to finally have this material available.

Consequently, many will pass this album by which is a real shame as songs such as "The Wedding Approaches" show the guys at their most delicate with some wonderful female vocals, while Andy Sears puts in a wonderful performance on the dramatic and crunching "Time Passes" ? his vocal prowess has continued to increase since the first time Twelfth Night called it a day, and this is a blast from start to end.

If one already has the other two albums then this should be invested in, but otherwise get the set and have them all in one place.

 Tales by Gaslight by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.39 | 5 ratings

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Tales by Gaslight
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by BrianS

2 stars This is basically a re-release of the two Nolan and Wakeman albums that bookended the turn of the millennium (Well not really since 2001 was really the changeover but who can resist the three zeroes in a row). In addition the boxed set includes a third CD entitled Dark Fables.

A number of reviewers have compared the first two albums to Rick's (I will use the Wakeman's first names to avoid confusion) "Journey to the Centre of the Earth"; I couldn't disagree more. Journey was a mainly instrumental composition punctuated by a few songs. Journey also featured the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, neither of which appear here in person or sound. There is a choir in Jabberwocky, but it sounds nothing like the ECC.

On the other hand, the Nolan and Oliver works are very close to stage musicals/rock operas, whatever you wish to call them. Like the theatre pieces, each "role" is sung by a different singer, and much of it sounds like a Lloyd Webber piece. So much so that when my wife passed my room she said, "That's not the type of music you usually listen to!". And she was right.

Like "Journey" they have a narrator. The narrator takes the place of the stage action and spoken lines, linking the songs together into a coherent story. I wonder whether Nolan and Oliver had hopes of actually staging them as musicals?

Many well-known musicians (some of whom are associated with Rick) appear including, Tony Fernandez, Jon Jeary and the late Peter Banks,

The first album, "Jabberwocky", is based on a Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass". It's full of nonsense words and phrases: "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe..." It is about a young boy (knight?) who slays the fearsome Jabberwock.

Rick acts as the narrator and does a passable job. I don't particularly enjoy Bob Catley singing on this CD and indeed all the vocals have a stage musical sound. For me the most successful bits are the Instrumentals.

The second album, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", is the more successful of the two. It has a bit less of a stage musical feel and there is a bit more "prog" in it. It follows a similar path to "Jabberwocky" but there is quite a lot more narration as "The Hound" is quite a complex novel, so lots of links are required.

Robert Powell as the Narrator (Dr John Watson of course) has far more gravitas than Rick. Many of the same musicians and singers turn up for a second outing. Again the instrumentals featuring the two keyboardists are the highlights. I especially enjoy the closing "Chasing the Hound".

Both discs have been re-mastered and guitar solos have been added to "The Burgundy Rose" (Jabberwocky) and "Three Threads" (Hound) by David Mark Pearce.

The new CD, "Dark Fables" is a mish-mash of pieces that Nolan and Oliver had written for a third album, "Frankenstein", which didn't get off the ground and pieces not good enough to be included on "The Hound". Oliver rather disingenuously suggests they didn't fit the story, but it begins at 221B, so that would fit, and "The Baker Street Irregulars" is an instrumental. The song excluded from "The Hound", "The Man called Sherlock" is quite plodding and it is obvious why it was cut. The stand-outs on this are "The Overture" and "The Descent into Madness".

I doubt these albums will get played in full again. I'll probably put together a compilation of the better instrumentals (when these guys are good, they are very good). Overall a bit of a disappointment.

 The Hound of the Baskervilles by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 54 ratings

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This album has been with me for such a long time ago and sometimes I spun it - not until the end of the last track and I changed it with other album. I tried to write many times and failed to do so and only today I had a chance to spin the whole album until it ends. My initial comment is: too flat to my ears - there is no ups and downs that stimulate the adrenalin to explode. There is basically no memorable segment at all. There is nothing spectacular actually but the music is just OK, not special.

As this is a concept album with many narratives at the beginning of every single track, it of course reminds me to Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of The Earth. The fundamental difference is of course on the use of orchestra as Rick really used it "live". This album of Nolan & Wakeman is merely keyboard-drenched composition from start to end. I actually enjoy the opening track "overture" that sets the overall tone of the album. But then the following tracks do not stem from what that has been laid out nicely in the overture part as the music flows in flat nuances. It's a pity that there is too much keyboard on the first half of the album and the only stunning guitar solo only happens when it reaches track 6 "Run for Your Life" with female vocal.

On the line-up actually there are big names like Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon, Karl Groom of Threshold, Peter Banks (veteran of Yes), John Jowitt (IQ / Jadis) a well as Tony Fernandez who helped Rick Wakeman albums. Unfortunately the great line-up does not help a lot if the album suffers its fundamental composition issue.

Overall, this is just a mundane album with many keyboard sounds. Those of you who like keyboard sounds would enjoy it. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 The Hound of the Baskervilles by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 54 ratings

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars This is the follow-up by Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman to their 1999 release 'Jabberwocky', but in truth this should be seen as the sequel to Jeff Wayne's 'War Of The Worlds'. Instead of Richard Burton we have Robert Powell as narrator, and he has an awesome presence and majesty that this album deserves. I have been playing this a lot in the car and Sara (who normally turns all of my CDs off as a matter of course) has been listening to it and confessed in a moment of weakness that it is a good album. If they can get through to Sara then this obviously has appeal for a much larger market than many of the Verglas releases.

With different singers taking on roles (the usual suspects include Bob Catley, Tracy Hitchings and Ian 'Moon' Gould as well as others such as Ashley Holt from the Rick Wakeman Band), the idea behind the album is to turn the story into a concept album and to my ears they succeed brilliantly. While there is plenty of help on the musical front (Karl Groom, Peter Banks, John Jowitt, Peter Gee to name just a few), there are a lot of keyboards on the album which give it an orchestral feel, particularly in the long linking passages.

However, the songs themselves are often full of passion and dynamics, such as the exciting "The Curse Of The Baskervilles". I have known Clive for many years and I think I have heard just about all that he has released in all of his guises, and can say honestly that this is the finest work with which he has been associated. The biggest problem he now has is getting this album out to those who need to hear it, because properly marketed this could be a huge commercial success. Get in before the rest and buy this superb concept album. Visit the web site at www.verglas.com

Originally appeared in Feedback #66, Feb 02

 Jabberwocky by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.64 | 65 ratings

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Jabberwocky
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars The first thing that jumped to my ears was the fact that I can't ditinguish Oliver form his father. I don't mean the keyboard playing, I mean composing. There's a lot of Criminal records, No earthly connection and 1984 here. Effectively Rick is credited on the album's cover, and having I liked the 3 mentioned albums I can say that this is enjoyable as well, even if it's not adding much to hwat Rick has already done in the past. The concept comes from "through the looking glass". I worked several years in Cheshire and I can appreciate the athmosphere. The less instrumental songs like the first half of Dangerous world, with the very nice voice of Tracy Htchings, are more in Pendragon's mood and this makes this album various enough. If you have room in your storage to retain this disc it's a good addition. Between 3 and 4 stars, I'll go for 4 to keep the average on 3.5.
 Jabberwocky by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.64 | 65 ratings

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Jabberwocky
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Journey to the centre of the... town?

Backed by an all-star cast, Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman create a bombastic, theatrical concept album. Those who like Rick Wakeman's classic Journey To The Centre Of The Earth album will most probably like this one too, or at least recognize the similarities between the two albums. It is actually rather remarkable just how similar Oliver's keyboard playing is to that of his legendary father. Rick himself is even present here, as the narrator of the whole thing. All the clichés of a fantasy-tinged concept album are present, but it is not too cheesy or overdone. Everyone involved are super professional and know exactly what they are doing. They are having fun!

The vocals are handled by Bob Catley from Magnum, Tracy Hitchings and a couple of others. Catley and Hitchings are great. And so are the keyboardists, of course, and the band backing them all. This is simply a quality product. But it still has somewhat limited value due to the very nature of the project. They are doing this for fun and this fun then spreads to the listener who is entertained. Once or twice, that is. The albums does not have any staying power. It is like a theatre play or movie - you may enjoy it while it lasts, but you almost never want to witness it again.

A pretty good album of its kind, but absolutely not essential

 The Hound of the Baskervilles by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 54 ratings

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars EDIT: 4 stars, but only barely. Weird thing. Fifth review and even this one is going to give 3 stars. Not that I don't like this one, it's probably 3+, but giving it 4 doesn't seems like good idea to me.

Whole idea and reason for three stars can be described by one sentence which describes it all. "Intro track is a very good one for a intro, but the rest of record seems exactly like it." You simply can't take album with 68 minutes which all sounds like intro to prog heights. OK, there are exceptions (second track for example), but that's it, just exceptions. This is reason why I'm giving 3+. Another good thing is this whole story thing. We like stories, right ? And when you combine it with prog rock, then something wonderful is here.

It sounds very much like Arena. That's another advantage. Their guest list is long enough to make supergroup, but not much of this potential is used (hello Asia).

If you like Arena, you will enjoy this too. 3(+) and good feeling from it.

 Jabberwocky by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.64 | 65 ratings

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Jabberwocky
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by fairyliar

5 stars I have been searching for a new real interesting thing in prog for a long time, finding no or small interest in recent bands like The Tangent, RPWL...I found this Jabberwocky with Rick's son and Clive Nolan from Pendragon and was expecting nothing special. I couldn't have been more wrong and I was going to experience one of my most enjoyable listening time ever. For those who know Rhapsody and its Hollywood metal, I would say that Jabberwocky is Hollywood prog. With a trademark like the name Wakeman on the paper, you can't be disappointing by the keyboards. Oliver is as gifted and imaginative as his father and Clive Nolan is a magician too. But the other musicians are top notch, just to mention Tony Fernandez the excellent drummer of Rick Wakeman on tour (remember the incredible solo of Live in Nottingham in the 90's), Peter Banks a previous member of Yes, I don't know the bass player but he is really good. The vocal performances are really good from narrations to songs and perform with great sensibility. The songs varry from rockers, ballads, symphonic, are well written and the flood of the story is perfect. The absolute jewel is the instrumental Shadows which will kick your ass severely. So why is this brilliant album so ignored?????? I am sure this would have been released under Emerson , Lake & Palmer, everyone would have say prog album of the year. So, 5 stars and it's well deserved. I'm looking for Hounds of Baskerville now.
 The Hound of the Baskervilles by NOLAN & WAKEMAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 54 ratings

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Nolan & Wakeman Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The core duo is surrounded by some close friends who were already playing on their previous common effort "Jabberwocky" but there is one additional artist who IMO had a major influence here: Arjen Lucassen. Actually, this album almost sounds as an Ayreon production.

Which means that from time to time, some pomposity can be felt. It is the case with the "Overture" although I quite like it (but I am an ELP fan, so in terms of pompous, I'm quite immune by now).

This concept album is taken from a Conan Doyle famous work. Since I have seen a TV picture based on it, it was not difficult to follow the storyboard. For sure, it seems to have been written to be played at a West End theatre.

Lots of instrumental passages are introduced/closed by the narrator who sets the scene. I am not too found of this though. But I guess that it was necessary; just to break the battle between both flamboyant keyboard players.

Arjen's influence is very much present in "Shadows Of Fate". The riff is hard, almost metal at times. But melody is present as well. Same apply to "Waiting" much later on this album.

I also particularly appreciate the fine vocal work of Tracy Hitchings who has been singing with "Landmarq" for a while. She was also a guest on their previous work.

But my feeling is that this work is far too long to keep the listener interested from start to finish. To pay full attention for almost seventy minutes is rather demanding. Still, a song like "Seldon" is quite catchy and the guitar break is gorgeous.

Chasing The Hound is also well achieved and closes this work brilliantly. A good album from the pair Nolan / Wakeman (and friends).

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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