If you would like submit a review of 'Hound of the Baskervilles', please send it to:
Submit a review
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
To view the original, click
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
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
Conclusion: 9- out of 10
Reviewed by: Jan-Jaap de Haan
To view the original, click
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
***** (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
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
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
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.
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
**** (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!
from Vilnius, Lithuania, Europe
Many thanks to Amazon.com for this
review. To view the original review, click
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
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
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
"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
"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
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.
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!
"New Horizons" Review
Used with the kind permission of New
Horizons, from their extensive on-line music resource. To view the
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
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
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
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
'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
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