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Nolan, Clive & Wakeman, Oliver: Tales by Gaslight (Box Set)

Hard to believe it’s been 23 and 20 years, respectively, since keyboardists Oliver Wakeman and Clive Nolan teamed up on Jabberwocky and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Both rock-operas are based on literature -- Jabberwocky on a poem by Lewis Carroll and The Hound of the Baskervilles on a Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- and both feature an impressive array of vocalists and musicians that include Bob Catley, Arjen Lucassen, Karl Groom, Peter Banks, John Jowitt, Peter Gee and Oliver’s pop, Rick Wakeman. And both of them appear in this lush box set, remastered and rebooted for a new generation of prog fans who missed out on the overblown majesty the first time!

Then there is the third disc, titled Dark Fables and described by Wakeman in the liner notes as “the mythical third album that never happened -- until now.” Shorter than Jabberwocky and The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dark Fables features previously unreleased pieces, including more than 30 minutes of music conceived for what would have been Nolan & Wakeman’s final album in the “novels to music” trilogy (Wakeman’s words). The subject was to be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and “Why Do You Hate Me?” -- perhaps the most memorable track for multiple reasons -- is based on the confrontation between Frankenstein’s monster and his maker, Dr Frankenstein, who is disowning him. Musically, it’s an outlier and a major step away from the pure prog of the duo’s previous work. Canned percussion propels the Muse-like song and proves Nolan & Wakeman are willing to take musical risks

The guest list on Dark Fables isn’t as massive as it was on the previous two releases, but it’s not supposed to be. It plays more like a compilation of unreleased material than a proper album. As intriguing as listening to Dark Fables will be for seasoned fans, though, the real lures here are Jabberwocky and The Hound of the Baskervilles -- previously hard-to-find releases that foretold Wakeman’s future in Yes and The Strawbs and solidified Nolan’s legacy as one of prog’s more melodic (and dramatic) keyboards players via his main bands Arena and Pendragon.

The box set comes with 16-page booklets for each of the three albums that contain lyrics, previously unseen art work and stories behind the projects. It all adds up to a few hours of well-spent music listening.

1. Overture (5:57)
2. Coming To Town (2:55)
3. Dangerous World (6:54)
4. The Forest (4:22)
5. A Glimmer Of Light (2:42)
6. Shadows (4:19)
7. Enlightenment (5:23)
8. Dancing Water (4:12)
9. The Burgundy Rose (3:55)
10. The Mission (4:32)
11. Call To Arms (6:37)
12. Finale (1:50)

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)

1. 221B
2. The Man Called Sherlock
3. The Baker Street Irregulars
4. The Overture
5. I'd Give You Everything
6. The Mirror
7. Elizabeth
8. Why Do You Hate Me?
9. The Wedding Approaches
10. Time Passes
11. A Descent into Madness
12. The Jabberwocky (read by Rick Wakeman)

Added: August 27th 2022
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Oliver Wakeman's Website
Hits: 192
Language: english

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