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Nolan & Wakeman


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Nolan & Wakeman The Hound of the Baskervilles album cover
3.40 | 60 ratings | 7 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overture (5:57)
2. The Curse of the Baskervilles (6:14)
3. Three Broken Threads (4:37)
4. Shadows of Fate (7:01)
5. A Home in the Mire (4:52)
6. Run for Your Life (4:52)
7. Picture of a Lady (3:41)
8. The Argument (4:48)
9. Second Light (2:00)
10. Seldon (4:57)
11. Death on the Moor (6:13)
12. By Your Side (3:32)
13. Waiting (5:29)
14. Chasing the Hound (4:34)

Total Time 68:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Oliver Wakeman / keyboards, co-producer
- Clive Nolan / keyboards, backing vocals, co-producer

- Michelle Young / vocals
- Tracy Hitchings / vocals
- Paul Allison / vocals
- Ian Gould / vocals
- Bob Catley / vocals
- Ashley Holt / vocals
- Paul Wrightson / backing vocals
- Karl Groom / guitar, co-producer & mixing
- Arjen Lucassen / guitar
- Peter Banks / guitar
- Ewa Albering / flute
- Jo Greenland / violin
- Peter Gee / bass
- John Jowitt / bass
- Tony Fernandez / drums
- Robert Powell / narrator

Releases information

Based upon the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Artwork: Peter Pracownik

CD Verglas Music ‎- VGCD022 (2002, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NOLAN & WAKEMAN The Hound of the Baskervilles ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NOLAN & WAKEMAN The Hound of the Baskervilles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here is an ambitious concept album based on Arthur Conan Doyle's novel. It has a highly classical sheen and many of its passages have a 'musical opera' feel to them, very reminiscent of AYERON's material. The production is as crisp as can be and CLIVE NOLAN's keyboards shine through out.

However, there are two things I find a little disappointing with this album. First, although the arrangements are impeccable, the music itself never seems challenging enough for my tastes (I admit it is well dressed - it is the essence I'm not so impressed with). A couple of exceptions are a track called "Sheldon" with its interplay of soaring keyboards with a short but wonderful guitar solo, and "Waiting" which contains some nice musical phrases. The second problem I have with "The Hound" is rather minor: it's the narrator's constant intrusion at the beginning of each track, sometimes smack in the middle of them. The fact is, when you've heard the story once, you wish he would disappear and let you enjoy the music. Still, it's a fairly enjoyable album that will no doubt please many NOLAN and AYREON fans alike.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Elementary my dear Watson

The prolific Clive Nolan has a finger in so many pies (Arena, Pendragon, Strangers on a Train, etc.) he must all but live in the studio. For "Hound of the Baskervilles", he teams up with Oliver Wakeman (son of Rick) to transform Arthur Conan-Doyle's most famous Sherlock Holmes novel into a concept album. They are joined by a number of artists with excellent prog credentials, including Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon and Star One), Peter Banks (early Yes), John Jowitt (IQ and Jadis), Karl Groom (Threshold), Tony Fernandez (Rick Wakeman), and Nolan's Pendragon band mate, Peter Gee. The resulting production is very Rick Wakeman in its structure and performance to the extent that this could be the follow up to his 1999 album "Return to the centre of the earth".

The story is narrated by Holmes' trusty sidekick Dr. Watson, portrayed by Robert Powell (who played the role of Jesus in the Franco Zeffirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth"). Although at times it seems like the album has lapsed into a talking book, without the sometimes lengthy narrations the plot would be unclear unless you were already familiar with the intricacies of story. The songs themselves do not tend to tell the tale as such, rather they reflect incidents within it. That said, the album is very lyrical, with vocals dominating many of the tracks.

After the obligatory "Overture", the Rick Wakeman feel is further emphasised by the appearance of Ashley Holt (who sang on "Journey to the centre of the Earth" among others) on vocals, playing the part of Dr James Mortimer on "The Curse Of The Baskervilles". A number of other vocalists are used, each assuming a role. Bob Catley (Sir Henry Baskerville) of Magnum features on four of the tracks. For those who do not know of Catley, he has a distinctive, powerful rock voice, which suits this type of music well. Other guest singers include Tracy Hutchings (Beryl Stapleton) who worked with Nolan on his Strangers on a Train albums, Paul Allison (Stapleton), Ian "Moon" Gould (Seldon) and Michelle Young (Laura Lyons).

Catley's rendition of the ballad "Picture of a lady" is one of the album's highlights, offering a similar contrast to that of "Through her eyes" on Dream Theater's "Metropolis 2" album. Michelle Young's rendition of "By your side" has a similar feel, sounding in some ways like Yvonne Elliman's contributions to "Jesus Christ Superstar". That stage show feel comes through in several of the tracks. Perhaps this is deliberate on the part of Nolan and Wakeman, who may have (subconsciously?) had ambitions for their project on that front.

With two talented keyboard players leading things, it might have been expected that such an album would be largely instrumental, being swathed in synthesiser and piano solos. There are certainly good instrumental pieces, such as the closing "Chasing the hound", but for much of the album the two appear happy to take on supporting roles as for as their performances are concerned.

In general, the album follows a rather predictable pattern, and lacks originality. It is however a highly enjoyable effort, which will appeal to those who enjoy the major productions of Rick Wakeman, and/or the various projects of Clive Nolan.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Aahh, an evening at the theater. Unlike the movies, a play is a chance to see real talent of flesh and blood, giving all out for the audience, hoping for applause. Some generous producers had the great idea to take some classics from the victorian litterature and decided to bring them to life. So, if you're lucky, you'll enjoy classics like Murder on the Orient Express, some stuff with Mrs. Marple and The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Rupert Everett in the role of a very impatient Sherlock Holmes. But for those who won't get the tv show, Nolan and Wakeman created a delightful record in the same vein, giving the feeling of assisting at the play.

The Hound of the Baskervilles features Arena/ Ayreon type of music but tending on the dramaturgic side. The sense of relating the story (almost a play) faithfully is greatly appreciable, also a certain amount of victorian credibility is adding more excitement. But to me, the cherry on top is a most rejoycing narrator with perfect britannic accent, bringing us through the story by relating, of course, the big lines.

Wakeman on blue corner: analog keyboards and a pint of symphonic/classical

Nolan in red corner: plastic keyboards, dramatic choruses, usual catchyness

Faithfull with the story, sense of duty well fulfilled while offering lots of good songs, some really good, some okay, but none one them felt boring.

As usual, Nolan is not presenting a half-assed product. For those who liked the latest Arena (the song Opera Fanatica especially), give it a try!

Review by ZowieZiggy
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).

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by kev rowland
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

Originally appeared in Feedback #66, Feb 02

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

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