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Journey to the Centre of the Earth Live
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Media Type: CD
Title: JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE E
Street Release Date: 03/01/1988
Top Customer Reviews
So too we have an entire class of album that was more common and popular in the 70s than before or since, the story theme album. Epitomized by Jeff Wayne's outstanding "War of the Worlds", the story album is the concept album taken taken to an extreme, setting a story in a music framework. Rick Wakeman tried several variants on this style of album, with probably "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and "Return to the Centre of the Earth" being the most story-like.
With so few entries in this genre, by definition the few that are there are the best. How fortunate that "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" really is good. I recall listening to a vinyl version of this album often in the mid-70s, along with a large group of nerdy electronics technicians because the structure and uniqueness of the music appealed to us. The synthesizers Rick Wakeman used were state-of-the-art at the time, and his skill was phenomenal.
As I listen to the music now, you could readily guess it is 70s music. The riffs and arrangement have that 70s flavor. Regardless, the music still retains its appeal. There are so many influences in this music that it would be difficult to point out half of them. Certainly Rick brought his Yes influences. You could perrhaps feel a bit of Hendrix in spots, maybe some Moody Blues, perhaps even a bit of Isaac Hayes. Throw that in with an orchestra and you have something that at that time was very progressive.
Okay, the lyrics are nothing to write home about. They are simple, almost juvenile.Read more ›
Apparently this was recorded live because it was cheaper than carting an orchestra and instruments into a studio for a week. The record company was not convinced, but I think the live 'special event' feel really makes the album, and the performances are pretty good from all involved.
Musically, it's brilliant - the main theme is very strong, very simple and very classic but soon the trademark Wakeman synths make their presence felt and thereafter it's a great mix of Moog, electric piano, clavinet, Hammond and orchestra and choir. If there is a letdown it's the choice of vocalists - I keep reading that Ashley Holt is a brilliant singer, but I've yet to hear it. He sounds better suited to this album than others he has collaborated on but he still irritates the pip out of me.
The other downside to the album is the lyrics - sorry, Rick but you should have done an Elton and got yourself a lyricist early on. Rick even invents a new word, stupefication. However the cheesy lyrics don't really take much away from the album. The narration is excellent, not only David Hemmings' elocution but the script really brings out Verne's sense of wonder and the pioneering aspect of this very early travel narrative - after all in the 1800s nobody could say you COULDN'T find a vast sea inside the Earth, complete with sea monsters. In fact this narration seems to be one of the better interpretations of Verne's Journey, better than some of the films, anyway.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great album. Actually saw it live at the Hollywood Bowl. Sounded just like this recording.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Wakeman's concept of the Jules Verne classic is either a prog classic or an example of prog excess gone awry. Read morePublished 6 months ago by T. McCool