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Hound of the Baskervilles
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"MetalEagle.com" Website Review

CLIVE NOLAN & OLIVER WAKEMAN
The Hound of the Baskervilles

Oh my... Where should I start from? I am afraid that I am not capable of describing this properly. I hope that I do not harm this wonderful work with my incompetence.

"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 way that the story unravels is amazing, you can almost see the story being played in front of you, I felt like practically touching the characters myself. The twin keyboards create a fantastic atmosphere, you think that a whole symphonic orchestra is participating.

This album is worth listening on the whole, song by song. Each song is different and you can listen to them independently, but when you decide to listen this from the beginning to the end you will discover how music can actually take control of your senses and transfer you to where "The Hound of the Baskervilles" story takes place. The very well placed narration by Robert Powell as Dr. John Watson helps you follow the mystery which unfolds with much tension -listen to "Run for your Life"-, reaches its apex with the instrumental track "Death on the Moor" and comes to an insurmountable conclusion with the atmospheric track "Chasing the Hound".

This album features renowned artists such as Arjen Lucassen from AYREON or Bob Catley from MAGNUM, but also many others who flawlessly play their own parts, each and everyone adding important and well put elements in the music.

I feel that I have to comment on the very good album artwork and the whole booklet arrangement which will undoubtedly be your guide to the solution of this mysterious story so wonderfully brought forth to your senses.

My first perfect ten goes to this nondescript, flawless album.
10 / 10

Reviewed by: Spyros "Olorin" Vris


"Home of Rock" Website Review

Mit "The hound of the Baskervilles" legen Clive Nolan, der Mr. Überall des Neoprog, vor allem bekannt durch sein Engagement bei ARENA und PENDRAGON und Oliver Wakeman (ja genau, der Sohnemann des großen Rick Wakeman von YES) ihr zweites gemeinsames Album vor.
Nachdem das Debut "Jabberwocky" sich ausführlich mit der Legendenfigur des Jabberwock beschäftigte, widmen sich die beiden Keyboarder nun der musikalischen Umsetzung eines der bekannten Sherlock Holmes Romane von Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Wer "Jabberwocky" kennt, dem bietet "The hound of the Baskervilles" wenig Überraschendes, da das Strickmuster identisch ist und nahezu im selben Lineup umgesetzt wurde.
Die einzelnen Charaktere der Handlung werden mit unterschiedlichen Sängerinnen und Sängern besetzt. Dazu gibt es einen Erzähler, der zwischen den Stücken - und leider gelegentlich auch mittendrin - Zusammenhänge schafft, deren musikalische Umsetzung zu weit geführt hätte.
Damit erinnert "The hound of the Baskervilles" an eine mehr als gelungene Mischung aus Jeff Waynes "War of the worlds", dem "Phantom der Oper" und natürlich ARENA und MARILLION, letztere zu "Brave"-Zeiten.
Bob Catley nimmt in der Rolle des Sir Henry Baskerville eine zentrale Stellung ein und bringt damit natürlich auch noch eine große Portion MAGNUM-Einflüsse mit ins Spiel.

Bob Catley allein macht dieses Album durch eine beeindruckende Gesangsleistung zu einem Hörgenuss. Alles überragend das Stück Shadow of fate, das auf jedem MAGNUM-, HARD RAIN- oder Catley-Soloalbum zu den absoluten Highlights gezählt hätte und sich durchaus mit Klassikern wie How far Jerusalem, Sacred hour oder On a storytellers night messen kann.

Tracy Hitchings und Michelle Young besetzen die weiblichen Hauptrollen perfekt, stehen Bob Catley in nichts nach, und auch sonst lassen die Vocalisten wenig anbrennen. Lediglich mit Ashley Holt als Dr. Mortimer will ich nicht so richtig warm werden.

Ich habe mir den Spaß gegönnt und parallel zu diesem Album die literarische Vorlage gelesen.
Ich komme nicht umhin vor Clive Nolan und Oliver Wakeman den Hut zu ziehen, denn es ist ihnen gelungen die Essenz des Werkes herauszufiltern und den Handlungsrahmen so wiederzugeben, dass man diesem auch ohne Kenntnis der literarischen Vorlage mühelos folgen kann.
Sicherlich hätte man an der einen oder anderen Stelle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle etwas ausführlicher zitieren können, doch das hätte dann sehr schnell den Rahmen einer Einfach-CD gesprengt.

Wenn man das kitschige Picture of a lady außer Acht lässt, das auch ein Bob Catley nicht retten kann, dann haben Clive Nolan und Oliver Wakeman ein abwechslungsreiches, außergewöhnliches und unterhaltsames Neoprog-Album vorgelegt, das Anhänger der beteiligten Musiker, also auch die AYREON-, IQ- und THRESHOLD-Fraktion, sich bedenkenlos zulegen können.

(Translation)

The 'Hound of the Baskervilles' is the second album of Clive Nolan (well known from ARENA and PENDRAGON) and Oliver Wakeman (Yes! You're right. The son of the great Rick Wakeman of YES). Their debut 'Jabberwocky' was based on the legend of the Jabberwock. Now they realized a musical version of a well known Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Those who know 'jabberwocky' won't be surprised by 'The hound of the Baskervilles'. It was almost the same line up that recorded the album and the sound of Nolan/Wakeman hasn't changed. Various singers take role of the charakters of the story. The songs are connected with spoken word performances by a storyteller, who tells those parts of the story which would have been too complex to put it into additional songs. Unfortunately he appears sometimes in the middle of the tracks. That's the reason why 'The hound of the Baskervilles' sounds like a mixture of Jeff Waynes 'War of the worlds', the musical 'The phantom of the opera' and for sure ARENA and MARILLION with their album 'Brave'. Bob Catley is one of the main characters in the story (Sir Henry Baskerville) and he adds a lot of MAGNUM-influences.

Bob made a great job and his fantastic vocals are reason enough to get this album. The absolute highlight is the track shadow of fate, which would have been also a highlight on every MAGNUM-, HARD RAIN- or Solo-recording of Bob. This song stands in a row with such classic tracks like How far Jerusalem, Sacred hour or On a storytellers night.

Tracy Hitchings and Michelle Young are perfect singers for the main female charakters and as good as Bob Catley. You won' find any reason to critisize any of the other singes. Only the voice of Ashley Holt as Dr. Mortimer isn't my cup of tea.

I read the book while listening to the album. A very big hand to Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman, because they managed it to extract the essence of the story, so that the listener could enjoy the album, even without knowing the book. Okay, some parts of it might have been told more detailed, but don't forget ? it's just one CD and no double album.

If I ignore the very smooth and boring Picture of a lady which even Bob Catley can't save from being bad, then I have to confirm, that Oliver Wakeman and Clive Nolan recorded an variedly, extraordinary and entertaing Neoprog-Album. Fans of the involved musicians won't regret buying that album.

Reviewed by:Martin Schneider, 26.03.2002
To view the original, click here.


"Proglands" Website Review

Second concept albums of ClIVE NOLAN and OLIVER WAKEMAN and what a nice one is! If i'm OK ! You can feel here the OLIVER WAKEMAN influence more than on the first album "Jabberworky". This second opus is much more symphonic and classical than the first one who is more oriented by the previous NOLAN'S work like STRANGER OF A TRAIN or CASINO. It have in here some influence from "Rick Wakeman" known for is work with YES and father of Oliver

The album is powerfull, much more agressive with a faster rock rhythm and with a perfect playing output. Just look the line-up an you will surely understand why this album is a must.

Reviewed by: Denis_t
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The Dutch Progressive Rock Pages Review

It's almost three years since Jabberwocky was released, the first collaboration between keyboardists Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman. Now they're back. Again they used a famous story (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) for their concept album. Again they used a narrator to introduce us the story. Again the album features a host of guests. Never change a winning concept, they must have thought. And they were right.

This time, actor Robert Powell - in the role of Doctor Watson - is responsible for narrating the story. The beautiful way of telling and his very distinctive pronunciation, interrupted by haunting keyboard-solos are in a way very similar to Rick Wakeman's Return To The Centre Of The Earth. But of course, this is a different story. The Overture to the album introduces all the musical themes to us and after a few spins, you really start to recognize them.
When compared to its predecessor Jabberwocky, there are many similarities in approach. After the Overture it builds via the The Curse of the Baskervilles, the instrumental Three Broken Threads to my favourite Shadows of Fate.
The great The Curse of the Baskervilles features the role of dr.James Mortimer, 'put to life' by Ashley Holt, known for his work 25 years ago for The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Wakeman sr. Although he's using more of his lower voice here, the power is still there. In combination with the guitars, this track is heavier than most of the music on Jabberwocky. Tinkling keyboards echo Arena's The Butterfly Man and parts of the melody have a somewhat Shadowland-ish flavor. Needless to say this is a tasty mixture!
The instrumental Three Broken Threads is in fact no instrumental, since it features narration by Dr. Watson. The lyrics of these returning instrumentals are not printed in the booklet, but can be downloaded from the Verglas site. I have to say, these instrumental/narrative interludes are not boring at all. They feature some lovely synth-stuff, which makes this album more of a keyboard-album than Jabberwocky was.

As stated above, Shadows of Fate is one of my favorites on the album. This is where Bob Catley (of Magnum-fame) presents a very convincing Sir Henry Baskerville. Heavy rhythm-guitars by - I presume - Karl Groom (Threshold) and guitar-solos by Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) show that the two keyboardists know how to write for other instrumentalists as well. The chorus features a very addictive keyboard line, which is very close to the movie-song Gangsta's Paradise (Coolio). This one hits 'bull-eye'!
At Home in the Mire is a nice track with an up-beat, ongoing guitar line and Paul Allison's (the Tree on Jabberwocky) voice on top of it. This is a sort of in-between song, a bridge from Shadows of Fate to Run for your Life, sung by Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq) in the role of Beryl Stapleton. This track has some nice twists and turns from the quieter choruses to the more powerful choruses. Karl Groom - I think - has a short solo in the middle. If I'm not mistaken it's Paul Wrightson (ex-Arena) singing backing-vocals on this track. Sounds great.
Picture of a Lady is a lovely ballad, with Bob Catley showing the gentler side of his voice. Ewa Albering (ex-Quidam) adds something extra on flute. The chorus is one to sing all day.
The following The Argument is another slower track, which brings together Catley, Hitchings and Allison. The way they sing together is almost Broadway-music-like. The orchestral arrangements are 'topped' by Jo Greenland on violin create a real finale-feeling. But there's more to come...

Second Light is the shortest of the interludes, as a prefer to call them. It leads into another of my favourites, a heavy track called Seldon. It features Ian "Moon" Gould, who recorded with Medicine Man and Martin Darvill and toured with Landmarq. Although his voice is less Freddy Mercury-like than on some of his recordings, he still manages to grab me. Arjen Lucassen delivers a great guitar-solo. A great guitar-riff comes together with very enjoyable keyboards.
An almost middle-eastern melody (is that a coincidence?) sets the threatening atmosphere for Death on the Moor, on top of a pounding bass, while dr.Watson continues his report on the case, which is getting closer to completion at this point. Skip this track, and you'll miss the plot!
In the 12th track of the album a new character is introduced: Laura Lyons, impersonated by Michelle Young (Glasshammer), who recently released a solo-album with the help of Nolan. In By Your Side, a piano based song, Young uses her Kate Bush-like voice to create a bit of romance,... I really like the harmonies in this track.
Tension is growing as Mortimer, Stapleton and Beryl are Waiting. Heavy riffs add to this and even Hitchings' Beryl has a dark touch. With all singing together, this can be considered (although it's not the last track) as the finale...
If you want to know the real end to the story, you have to read the book, but Chasing The Hound reveals a bit (if not all) of the mystery. This instrumental track features several keyboard-solos on top of an ever faster beat by Tony Fernandez, who shouldn't remain unmentioned here. The orchestral theme from the Overture returns, but not until dr.Watson declares: 'the case is closed'.

So here, towards the end of my review, I am supposed to make my critical remarks, but this time it ain't easy, 'cause I have very few. I could say there are many narratives, but I do like the beautiful English spoken here. Of course, not all songs are instant hits, but in a tale like this, you need songs like At Home in the Mire to get from one point to another. Musically, the only bit I didn't fall in love with is the cymbals in the orchestral arrangement in the Overture. And, of course, it would have been nice to know exactly who is playing what on this album. Well, there you have it: my piece of criticism. Not very substantial, is it?
In comparison (inevitable in this case) to Jabberwocky, I think that album was a bit stronger on the melody-side, but The Hound is much stronger from a musical/instrumental point of few. If you have an extraordinary cast of musicians with backgrounds in bands like Yes, Pendragon, IQ, Threshold, Magnum, Landmarq, Ayreon, Quidam and Rick Wakeman Band you simply cannot go very wrong. All you have to do is write some decent music. Nolan and Wakeman accomplished to do more than that. There's some great stuff on this album.

Highlights: Shadows of Fate, Picture of a Lady, Seldon, Curse of The Baskervilles, Waiting

Conclusion: 9- out of 10

Reviewed by: Jan-Jaap de Haan
To view the original, click here.


Submitted review

Just a e-mail to tell you that your Hound Of The Baskervilles CD is an EXCELLENT CD & the best Studio CD I have heard for a long time.
Mad Malc.


"ProgressiveWorld.net" Review 2

Nolan & Wakeman, Wakeman & Nolan, the meeting of two extraordinary keyboardists ... well, call it whatever you want, but this great duo of virtuoso musicians is here once again, along with their several friends, to let their keyboards unleash the magic flow of notes that already distinguished the wonderful Jabberwocky of two years ago. This time the pair are revitalizing another great opus -- the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel The Hound Of The Baskervilles. And even if my excited words are inextricably linked, in part, to the fact that I've always loved these subtle works that mix so well narration and music, there's also the undisputed compositions' quality that emerges from the songs of the CD.

But you know what? It was almost too sure that the quality aspect of this release would be taken care of in the best way possible. In fact, the team of musicians that surrounds Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman (who seems to have inherited the best traits of his father' skills) is first-rate: Arjen Lucassen, Peter Banks, Threshold's Karl Groom, Bob Catley, the skilled and fine-looking Michelle Young ... undoubtedly an idyllic "dream team,' there's nothing else to say! Well, maybe I can add only a short summary of the album, as the enchantment starts from the very beginning, thanks to the omnipresent "Overture,' after which we are faced by "The Curse Of The Baskervilles" and "Seldon,' two of the most rock-solid tracks of the album.

But as I already said, all the record possesses a "careful" touch, and the ones who still love the clever textures of first-class progressive rock can't let an album (so fascinating and complete) such as this pass them by any second more ... 'cause, furthermore, I don't want the listeners to run the risk of being hit by some malediction if they don't pick up the record ... you just don't know!

Reviewed by: Igor Italiani of Metal-Force, February 2002
To view the original, click here.


Submitted review

The Hound of the Baskervilles Verglas VGCD022 Released Feb. 4, 2002
A musical interpretation by Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman

The Hound of the Baskervilles is based on the classic story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a great combination of narration, vocal tracks; with symphonic (progressive) music countered with a gentler, softer, relaxing side as well. The transitions in tempo, style and color are very fluid.

You might call this album a "modern progressive rock opera", others might call it simply a "concept album". The album is a combination of great composition, brilliant execution, and excellent audio production. It manages to capture the mood of the story, but still leaves you feeling good! The rich, colorful "musical" style is something that Lloyd Webber would enjoy.

The musicians include Peter Banks, Karl Groom and Arjen Lucassen on Guitars; Peter Gee and John Jowitt on Bass; Tony Fernandez on Drums, Jo Greenland on Violin, Eva Albering on Flute. As I said above, they all play brilliantly!

Jo's violin at the beginning of Three Broken Threads reminded me that Holmes himself was a violin player. This of course conjurs up visions of Holmes off in the corner "fiddling away" while Watson writes in his journal. (I wonder if Jo is playing the part of Holmes here?)

The narratives, well read by Robert Powell (who is perfect for this role), also feature some exquisite soft musical backing. Pay attention here, the music is beautiful.

The album opens with Overture, a truly magnificent piece of music. It serves to convey a strong sense of adventure, mystery, intrigue; being symphonic with almost seamless transitions utilizing changing styles and tempos and instrumentation. After the howling of the hound and Robert Powell's words of warning, the beginning is a dynamic, bold, powerful keyboard driven section sounding quite symphonic. It then transitions into a segment which is softer and more majestic sounding, led by piano; then a full upbeat orchestral finish symbolizing the sense of adventure!

A "harpsichord", sounding somewhat sinister, but playful, begins The Curse of the Baskervilles which features Ashley Holt (Dr. Mortimer) on vocals. This is where the story itself begins. It's a slow paced, power piece featuring the guitar driven rock band sound. Ashley is quite right for this one, and sounds really good.

The instrumental Three Broken Threads begins with a violin solo played by Jo Greenland, and Robert Powell (Dr. Watson) giving a brief narrative which flows into a classic upbeat progressive rock song, featuring guitars and keyboards. Surely to be a favorite of many that will hear it.

Shadows of Fate features Bob Catley (Henry Baskerville) singing a heavier track, with power guitar. Overall the music here sounds quite symphonic. Bob really sounds right for this track (I see a trend here...) Nice guitar solo.

At Home in the Mire sung by Paul Allison (Stapleton), again, seeming right for this upbeat and progressive song. It really has the sense of optimism, and a "musical" feel. More nice guitar solos, and some nice sounding "moog" too!

Run For Your Life features the heavenly voice of Tracy Hitchings (Beryl) in a mostly slow paced song, which builds intensity only to mellow down easy again..There's a nice guitar solo by ?? near the end. This woman's voice is gold! The music is just as sultry.

Picture of a Lady gives Bob Catley a chance to sing a ballad, with light piano accompaniment. This certainly sounds like a Broadway classic! There is some nice, gentle flute which is later augmented by a gentle "string" arrangement which all fits with the softer side of Bob Catley rather well..

The Argument opens with a nice violin backing Watson's setup of the scene here. Bob Catley, Tracy Hitchings and Paul Allison sing a beautiful, very sincere 3 part vocal. The singers deliver the "dialogue" in perfect fashion.

Second Light, a short instrumental; a bit of an extended narration, with eerie background music. It bridges the story line well.

Seldon Ian "Moon" Gould (Seldon) sings (very well) this energetic rock song with a symphonic sound. There's some nice organ and a good prolonged guitar solo.

Death on the Moor, an instrumental offset with narratives. This method of telling the story works well. The music is very rhythmic, more of a danceable tune, upbeat, energetic, enjoyable.

By Your Side features Michelle Young (Laura Lyons) providing a very pleasant surprise. Her voice is soft, gentle, singing the love ballad with heartfelt emotion. It may seem too short, but it's appropriate for the story.

Waiting has Bob, Tracy, Paul and Ashley all return for a final appearance singing a 4 part vocal with variety, playing off each other well.

Dr. Watson narrates the final chapter of the case, declaring that "The case is closed". Chasing the Hound is an instrumental opening with a "jungle rhythm" full of adventure, before "bursting" into the progressive rock finale.

Do yourself a favor and add this album to your collection, I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

It's really easy to see why Tony Fernandez was so optimistc about Hound when we had the chance last summer to talk about it in person while in Quebec. He was glad we mentioned it, and a bit surprised we knew he was involved. He thought it was going to be something really special.

The vocalists all seem well suited for their songs. The musicians play very well, and they don't make the mistake of overplaying their parts. Collectively, they gel in a perfect fusion of their varied styles, or musical personna. This adaptation of the classic story would work well as a theatrical presentation.

There is some very good artwork by Peter Pracownik illustrating the whole booklet. It contains the lyrics, and the specific singers are identified. The guitar and bass parts are not specifically identified. Of course the keyboard sections are not identified either, so as what is becoming a Nolan\Wakeman tradition, we begin the "game" of guessing who did what part... The game is afoot!

Bruce Treadwell - 9th Feb 2002


Amazon.co.uk Customer Review, March 12, 2002

***** (5 Stars)
Excellent Rock Opera - if "rock opera" is the right phrase

This album is superb - it gets better each time I listen to it. I would say this album is a cross between Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth & the musical Les Miserables. The music is of a very high quality even if it is a bit 70s. You get well over 60 minutes. Sell your granny to get a copy!

Reviewer: A music fan from London

Many thanks to Amazon.co.uk for this review. To view the original review, click here.


Submitted review

I have just received this from yourselves and thought I would comment on what a superb album this Well done to all concerned, it has not been off my pc since it arrived! Good review as well in this month's edition of Record Collector. Love to see it live....!

Steve Hawes - 4 February 2002


"Record Collector" Magazine Review - February 2002

CLIVE NOLAN & OLIVER WAKEMAN The Hound Of The Baskervilles
Verglas VGCD 022 (68.47)

A corking 14 tracks from the keyboards of the Arena man and Rick's son, in the vein of the concept works of the great Yes ivory man. Retelling the classic Conan Doyle tale, with atmospheric narration from Robert Powell, the starry ensemble includes members of Threshold, IQ, Pendragon and Ayreon, Wakeman Sr. cohorts such as Ashley Holt, ex-Yes guitarist Peter Banks and Magnum's Bob Catley.

From the sweeping synths and percussion of the opening 'Overture' to the looming atmospherics of 'Chasing The Hound', it's a would-be stage show brought to life, with Powell's authoritative narration and numerous voices taking the limelight, especially on the cast piece, 'Waiting'. The story proceeds at jaunty pace, gripping with a patchwork of majestic melodic rock numbers, some harder-riffed uptempo pieces and several moody, strings shaped pauses for breath.

As well as neo-prog tones, 'The Curse Of The Baskervilles' and 'Death On The Moor' bring to mind Jeff Wayne's Spartacus, but Wakeman, Nolan and friends blaze a trail of their own. A CD-ROM also provides interviews detailing the project (mentioned on the press release but to follow as a separate cd at a later date - webmaster). One for all lovers of class concept albums.

Tim Jones


Submitted review

We just received "The Hound of the Baskervilles" through the post today, and wanted to let you know what a brilliant album we think it is. The whole thing really gels together well, with excellent performances from everyone involved and the eerie tones of Robert Powell really captures the mood of the moor! A fitting tribute to Conan Doyle's most famous story!

Doug Jones - 23rd January 2002


Amazon.com Customer Review, February 22, 2002

**** (4 Stars)
Superb as usual

I owe their first work "Jabberwocky" and was eager to compare it with this latest one. And I wasn't dissapointed. Go on, dear Nolan and Wakeman, you both are great!

Reviewer: Rasa from Vilnius, Lithuania, Europe

Many thanks to Amazon.com for this review. To view the original review, click here.


"ProgressiveWorld.net" Review

Just as Jabberwocky, this CD combines the progressive rock style of Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena, Strangers on a train, shadowland) and the style of Oliver Wakeman that clearly refers to the epic musical works of his father Rick. Altough their way of playing is totally different, it's not always easy to know who's playing what. Their playing ensemble is better than the sum of the parts, you know the proverb.

They invited a lot of famous musicians and singers for their concept-CD. A pity that projects of this kind are hard to put on stage.

Usually, I have difficulties to listen to CD's with a narrator, because after a while you know the plot of the story. On this album, the narrator is Robert Powell (BBC comedy "The Detectives") and he has a voice that's never boring and that even makes you listen. The Sherlock Holmes story "The Hound Of The Baskervilles"by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle celebrates it's hundred birthday and that's a perfect occasion to put it on music. I remember an old movie version, which was very frightening. The typical lugubrious, misty sphere is the only thing that's missing on this CD. Some songs are too cheerful for this story. For the rest of the album, only positive critics. It's a must for the proglover. From time to time, you can recognize the Arena style in the vocals. Ayreon is also present in the sound. (same sort of project and off course the presence of Arjen)

The CD opens with "Overture". A bombastic, symphonic song that reminds me of the opening of "The Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

A simple clavecimbel melody is played through "The Curse Of The Baskervilles" with vocals by Ashley Holt. Although very well sung, the vocal melodyline isn't the strongest.

The instrumental "Three Broken Threads" is one of those cheerful, rythmic pieces that's played in a perfect way, but that sounds to happy for this story. It doesn't do any harm to the quality of the music, of course. (and that's still the priority)

In "Shadows Of Fate", we hear Bob Catley for the first time on this album. Beautiful vocals on a "Kashmir" rhythm. The music sounds as if it's played by a whole symphonic orchestra. (I had that feeling in a lot of songs)

Paul Allison does the lead vocals on "At Home In The Mire". A fluent song with a beautiful guitar solo and a Moog synthsolo.

Tracy Hitchings, who already worked a lot with Clive, sings "Run For Your Life". The advantage of a CD with different vocals, is a lot of variation. This gives the possibility of suddenly having a fresh, female voice, which will only be improved by the other female voice of Michelle Young. "Run For Your Life" is a beautiful ballad with a harder refrain and a "Bruce Hornsby" piano solo, followed by a beautiful, typical "ballad" guitar solo.

"Picture Of A Lady" is one of the best songs. Bob Catley sings a ballad (with a sort of "Neil Diamond hoarseness in his voice) that starts of with only a piano, later filled with strings and a flute.

"The Argument" is a song that strikes you by the singing together of Bob, Tracy and Paul. They sing some sort of canon, but with different lyrics. (Impressive)

"Second Light" is a short instrumental intermezzo, to let the narrator do his job.

"Seldon" gives a chance to the vocal capacities of Ian Gould. There's a fantastic guitar solo on this number. (I suppose itÕs Arjen)

Electronic dog howling opens the instrumental "Death On The Moor". It contains a catchy melody that sticks in your memory, alternated with a piece of narration.

"By Your Side" is the absolute peak of this CD, full credits to Michelle Young. What a voice. Kate Bush squared. A pity it's one of the shorter tracks.

In "Waiting" there's a chance for every one to sing again. (again with a mix of different vocal melodies and lyrics).

Last track "Chasing The Hound" gives its name full credit. It's a fast song with some synth and guitarsolos, of which there should have been some more in the other tracks.

Conclusion

The total sound of the CD is fantastic. Maybe a bit too often the narrator and a few more solos would have been welcome. (with three guitars and two keyboards) It's also a pitty that you can't find who's playing on which song in the booklet. With three guitars and two basses it would have been easier to keep them apart. It's only january, and I'm already sure this CD will be in my list of 2002. The formula of a lot of well known musicians has fantastic results. (look at Leonardo, Ayreon and later this year The Bollenberg-Johansson Experience) On sale in the beginning of january and it's a must.


"Wondrous Stories" Magazine Review - January 2002

Here is an album that only the genius and dexterity of keyboard wizards such as Messrs Nolan and Oliver Wakeman could produce. As with their debut creation 'Jabberwocky' they again use a cast of many to produce what could be described as a musical drama wonderfully narrated by British actor Robert Powell as he plays Dr. John watson.

Let us highlight the cast as the howl of a hound echoes around the air and Clive and Oliver perform some majestic classical keyboards on the opening ~Overture'. Bob Catley returns, this time as Sir Henry Baskerville with Ashley Holt palying Dr. James Mortimer, Tracy Hitchings as Miss Beryl Stapleton, Paul Allison as Stapleton, Michelle Young as Mrs Laura Lyons and former CRS Male Vocalist of the Year Moon Gould as Seldon the Convict.

The music comes to life via Threshold's Karl Groom, former Yes man Peter Banks, Pendragon's Peter Gee, John Jowitt, Tony Fernandez, Arjen Lucassen with violin by Jo Greenland and flute Eva Albering. The cast is mouth watering in itself and the final product fulfils all that its creators aimed for. The powerful voice of Ashley Holt is the first to be heard on 'The Curse of the Baskervilles' and it is a virtuoso performance. Likewise, Bob Catley, performs as only his reputation suggests, full of drama and conviction The thread of the Powell narration and swirling keyboard riffs lend themselves perfectly to each scenario while the lyrical content is worthy of the famous story itself. The introduction of heavier guitar within 'Shadows of Fate' builds an air of dark foggy evenings out of the moor and continues through into 'At Home in the Mire' where Stapleton (Allison) makes his first contribution. Where the story goes into the lighter moment the flute adds a sunnier outlook before 'The Argument' is entered led by violin and a dramatic three sided vocal interaction with Sir Henry, Stapleton and Beryl. By the time Sherlock Holmes arrives on the scene a twisted web has been woven where concentration is much required while taking in the magic of the music.

The chosen story line is British theatre at its best and such a musical adaptation is worthy of much wider appreciation ... and who knows, the west End could one day beckon two of the UK's finest but still cruelly much ignored keyboard musicians. Concentrate and it's totally gripping!

Martin Hudson


"New Horizons" Review

Used with the kind permission of New Horizons, from their extensive on-line music resource. To view the original, click here.

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES

When Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman released 'The Jabberwocky' early in 1999, there was already talk of a second collaborative album to follow, which would be based Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. Well, three years of waiting are finally over, and the hard work has certainly paid off, since 'The Hound' quickly reveals itself to be another superbly crafted offering.

The format used is broadly similar to that of 'Jabberwocky' with songs (and instrumentals) depicting key events from from the book, while continuity is provided through the skillful use of a narrator - read by the character of Dr. Watson. Despite the fact that the narrative can only provide a much simplified version of the story, it is nice to find that there are still some direct quotations from the original work which have survived the transition to this new format.

I should perhaps stress at this point that familiarity with the original story is not a prerequisite to enjoying this album - although I did find that reading the book enhanced the experience and clarified a few minor points, one of which was the naming of the track 'Three Broken Threads', the meaning of which would otherwise have passed me by completely! Since Conan Doyle's work is now available in the public domain you can download a copy free of charge from Project Guttenburg currently to be found here and I'd recommend checking it out!

The man chosen for the narrator's role is Robert Powell, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth in Zefferelli's film of the same name, and he proves to be perfect man for the job since his voice comes across with a clarity and sense of feeling that rally grips the listeners' attention. Interestingly this is not the first time RP has provided narration on a Wakeman CD, having previously featured on Rick Wakeman's 1983 release 'Cost of Living' album, where he gives an equally powerful and moving reading of Thomas Grey's poem 'Elegy from a Country Churchyard'.

In keeping with 'Jabberwocky', 'The Hound' also draws on a very impressive cast, many of who appeared on the earlier work. The main characters are portrayed by Bob Catley (Sir Henry Baskerville), Tracey Hitchings (Beryl Stapleton), Paul Allison (Stapleton), and Ashley Holt (Doctor Mortimer), while the minor parts are played by Ian 'Moon' Gould (Seldon) and Michelle Young (Laura Lyons). Credits show that some backing vocals are also provided by Paul Wrightson the ex-Arena frontsman. An equally impressive cast of musicians appear on the album too, including Tony Fernandez (drums), Peter Gee and John Jowitt (bass), Karl Groom, Arjen Lucassen and Peter Banks (guitars), Jo Greenland (violin) and Eve Albering (flute).

The album begins with 'The Overture' where the powerful sense of drama, the constantly changing moods and the rich use of different keyboard textures, all unite to give a strong and favourable first impression - and set the tone for what is to follow. In addition to some first rate keyboard work, the use of violin played by Jo Greenland (who features on Oliver's solo album '3 Ages of Magick') provides a very nice touch.

While it's not my intention to single out any one performer as being better than the others, I must say I found Bob Catley's contribution to this album to be outstanding. The first time we hear him on the album is on 'Shadows of Fate' and the singing and depth of feeling here is of the very highest standard - as one would expect from such a veteran. Catley's inimitable style, supported by powerful orchestrations make this track one of the real highlights of the album for me.

'Picture of a Lady', Bob Catley's only other solo performance is, on the other hand, a much slower paced track. While it does not carry the strength of some of the other tracks, it does show another aspect of the man's talents.

An area where 'Jabberwocky' scored very highly in my book was with the multi part vocal arrangements, and 'The Hound' thankfully continues to deliver well in this area. The first such piece, 'The Argument', is essentially a love duet between Beryl and Sir Henry when they meet on the moor. Tension comes from a series of interjections from a disapproving Stapleton who is watching the couple from nearby and the way that the three main vocal parts (sung by Paul Allison (Stapleton), Bob Catley and Tracy Hitchings) combine is really breathtaking. The outpouring of tenderness from the lovers set against the hostility between the characters creates a really inspired musical contrast.

Equally impressive is the a four part vocal arrangement on the track 'Waiting', which features the same lineup as 'The Argument' but now joined by Ashley Holt. There is a good variety of vocal styles here, each of the characters compliment the others magnificently, and it is easy to become so caught up in the foreground action that the complexity of the underlying music is missed altogether.

The music itself flows effortlessly from beginning to end, ranging from soft and delicate, to brooding and dark as the demands of the story demands. The contribution of the composers is clearly to the forefront, and to be honest I would be disappointed if this were not the case, but there is still opportunity for the rest to shine. Guitar work, particularly some of the heavy sections in tracks like 'The Curse of the Baskervilles', really seems to hit the spot and, as I have already mentioned, Jo Greenland's violin playing also adds a pleasing edge.

Quite apart from the actual musical content, the album scores well in terms of production and engineering and the involvement of Karl Groom who mixed the album at Thin Ice Studios, and Rob Aubrey who was in charge of the final mastering at Nomansland is, no doubt, a contributing factor here.

So are there any down sides to the album? Well from my perspective quite simply the answer is 'not really'. A minor niggle for some may be that none of the tracks are credited individually - although I suspect that listeners already familiar with Clive and Oliver's existing work will probably be able to figure most of the writing credits for themselves, and it's fair enough if the artists want to keep this information to themselves. I found myself a little more frustrated by the fact that no playing credits are given, and with three great guitar players appearing on the album (Karl Groom, Peter Banks and Arjen Lucassen) it would have been nice to know who played what - but this is really a small concern.

Second albums can prove to be difficult children, and in this case living up to the measure of 'Jabberwocky' could have proved a daunting task, however I am delighted to say that 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' has actually exceeded my expectations. Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman have proved themselves to be a powerful writing team and they should be proud of the fact they have really outdone themselves with this release.

Whether the future holds the promise of any further collaborations between these two remains to be seen, but for now I applaud 'The Hound' as being one of the best examples of the modern concept album that I have heard in a long time and I thoroughly recommend it!

Simon 23rd January 2002