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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

on April 17, 2016
Super quick delivery & item just as described. I love Bob Catley's vocals on this album, & as a big fan I had to buy it. However. some of the other tracks I'm not so keen on.
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on August 21, 2000
"Jabberwocky" is the first collaboration between keyboard greats Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Shadowland, Strangers On A Train, Arena), and Oliver Wakeman (solo artist, and son of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman). It is a concept album, based on Lewis Carroll's humorous poem of the same name. As you may have guessed, the album, for the most part, falls mainly in the progressive rock vein, with Nolan & Wakeman's keyboards being the main featured instruments. These two sound as if they were having a great deal of fun trading solos back and forth, and backing each other up when neccessary. The album is most easily comparable to the concept albums of Oliver's dad, Rick Wakeman. Like some of Rick's most well-respected albums, "Journey To the Center of the Earth" and "Myths & Legends of King Arthur" to name two, this album features a storyline with spoken narration, choral backing vocals, and music heavy on classical flourishes and orchestration (although, much to their credit, Clive and Oliver create their full-orchestra sound with just their keyboards and backing band!). There are also a few moments of good straight-forward rock, and they help to add a sense of variety to the album. The other musicians participating on "Jabberwocky" are a virtual "who's who" of the current (and past) progressive rock scene. Playing the 'voice roles' of "The Girl" and "The Boy" respectively; lead vocals are provided mainly by the dynamic Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers On A Train) and gravel-throated Bob Catley (Magnum), who sounds strikingly similar to Rick Wakeman's vocalist of choice, Ashley Holt! Paul Allison plays "The Tree" (with a soft-edged midrange voice reminicent of Camel's Colin Bass), and James Plumridge lends a touch of theater and 'English humor' in the part of "The Jabberwock". The band includes guitarist Peter Banks (ex-Yes), drummer Tony Fernandez (Rick Wakeman) and bassist Peter Gee (Pendragon). Oliver's dad, Rick, even puts in an apperance as the spoken-word narrattor! Some standout tracks include "Overture" (with some awesome keyboard work from both Clive & Oliver!), "Coming to Town" (an intense rock-piece with gritty vocals from Catley, and some dizzying lead synth work), "Dangerous World" (a stirring, emotional ballad sung to perfection by Tracy Hitchings), and "Dancing Water" (a track that starts out lush and atmospheric, then builds into an intense progressive rock anthem with "counterpoint" vocal parts from Hitchings and Catley) All in all, this is a fine album, especially the tracks that heavily feature Ms. Hitchings, who just lights up these songs with her creative vocal touches. If you are a fan of rock concept pieces, or any of the musicians involved here, then this CD is well worth your money!
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on February 28, 2003
Ah... the concept album, although not actually invented by Progressive Rock that must go down as the responsibility of people like The Pretty Things with `S.F. Sorrow', or The Who with `Tommy' when they were called Rock Operas. Concept albums suit the genre of Progressive Rock so well, they were made for each other.
The story of the `Jabberwocky' has been set to music by two of Britain's finest rock musicians. Clive Nolan, the leader of both Arena and Pendragon, who, although well respected in the realms of rock, has never quite reached the international acclaim he should of done, and Oliver Wakeman, who has obviously inherited all father Rick's skills, and then some. To bring this project to reality, they have surrounded themselves with some of the finest musicians of their ilk including Bob Catley, ex of Magnum, who plays the part of the Jabberwocky's adversary, `The Boy'. Tracy Hitchings of Langmarq, whose distinctively clear vocal style suits the role of story telling, plays the love interest that the lovers fight over. James Plumridge relishes the part of the `Jabberwock', putting real venom and malice into his voice. Paul Allison plays the part of the `Magic Tree' with Gandalf style wisdom, and Rick Wakeman has been pulled into to the Richard Burton role of narrator, which he pulls off with great aplomb. The four singers work together best in the more frantic sections of the saga, when they are all wrestling vocally to get their part of the story over. Now, where could you find four more talented vocalists to play these whimsical parts?
However, no matter how good the vocals are, it is the musicians that shine through, telling their own story. Having both Nolan and Wakeman as leaders of the project, obviously leads the music to be very keyboard orientated, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't leave room for the other musicians to sparkle - far from it.
Tony Fernandez' drum and percussion work is superb, especially on `The Forrest', where the relentless tribal drum beats are used to positive effect over a repetitive choral chant that quite chills the blood (it would make the perfect back drop to any horror movie).
Pete Gee, Nolan's band mate in Pendragon, handles all the bass parts in the story, often playing as a lead instrument along with the keyboards or underpinning the vocal sections and allowing them to tell the story while keeping the music flowing. But perhaps the real stroke of genius was to bring in the original progressive rock guitarist Peter Banks, the man who set the benchmark for all others to be judged by. Ex `Yes', `Flash', `Blodwyn Pig', `Empire', and a startling solo career, he laid down a couple of his distinctive electric guitar solos on the two longest tracks on the album `Dangerous World' and the climax of `Call to Arms', which add great variation to the proceedings, not to mention spine tingling excitement.
The music starts out perfectly with a spoken introduction before we are acquainted with all the recurring themes of the concept during the `Overture', before the story telling starts in earnest. Each song opens up like the next chapter in a book, leading you through all the ups and downs of our heroes and villains, and a bit like a violent re-counting of Beauty and the Beast, before taking us to its dramatic conclusion and finale.
Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman are to be applauded for this marvelous work, especially for their own astounding keyboards, which throughout this hour's worth of music twists from the pomp and glory of the Hammond organ to the wailing of the Moog Synthesizer, the subtlety of the Harpsichord and Piano, not to mention the words and music they penned.
The sixteen-page booklet you get with this collection is worth the price alone. It includes complete lyrics, pictures of all the participants, and wondrous artwork by Rodney Matthews. If you want to know what a Jabberwock sounds like, you will just have to buy the album.
I will leave you with the final verse of Jabberwocky
"Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All minsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths out grabe".
Now perhaps you can see why I am so impressed. They managed to make head or tail of this, let alone put together a whole concept album.
I wonder if Jabberwocks like Dogs!
Mott the Dog.
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on January 9, 2003
Well I don't wanna give the top score to this concept work- based on Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky- because for me this cast of stars and less famous musicians too, is "underemployed". Rick Wakeman is a narrator here, nevertheless his son Oliver shows a certain taste and a good tecnique as well, during his solos at the mini-moog and the other analogic synths...instead Clive Nolan keeps on duplicating his own style, typical of bands such as Pendragon, Shadowland and Arena, which are not so much interesting in my opinion! Anyway the cast of vocalists is good and the output is a range of classic rock which is new-progressive wave oriented, but with a modern touch.
Diverse new-prog work, not suggested to the lovers of the complex symphonic neoclassic prog genre !!
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on July 22, 2009
A story brought to life through music. The "girl's" voice takes some adapting to. Otherwise a fun, 1990's- sounding album with instrumentation filling the time gap of the story's writing, and the present. Plenty of rich layers of vocals as well. Don't read the reviews; just get the album--if you can find it!
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on March 2, 2002
Imagine the grand ideas of '70's prog rock being brought to this day in a concept album. Rick Wakeman on narration, Peter Banks on guitar, excellent keyboards dominate the album - very entertaining.
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