Review of Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record submitted on 10th October 2005
How does one describe such a seminal piece of music history? This album has been my all time favourite for many years and for many reasons. The six pieces of musical composition has everything, from the humour of The Breathalyser to the primeval gut wrenching emotion of Judas Iscariot. I defy anyone with a soul to listen to Judas Iscariot and not be moved. The sheer power of the Church Organ and choral vocals make the hairs stand up on your neck. This piece leads one through the betrayal of Christ and to his ultimate crucifixion, portrayed by the popular hymn 'there is a green hill far away without a city wall'. It ends with the moving music depicting Judas Iscariots suicide and his obvious angst and regret. I simply cannot hear this piece and not be absorbed by it. I can only liken it to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. It has that sort of power to evoke feelings of longing, of understanding regret. Quite simply moving. Conversely The Breathalyser makes one smile. The car chase reminds me of the old keystone cops music and the choice of Bill Oddie for the vocals is pure genius! The Birdman of Alcatraz is a wonderful piece, Rick accurately has depicted birds in flight so well. Those who know the story will easily recognise the dichotomy of a prisoner and the freedom of birds in flight. Take my advice...listen to Chamber of Horrors in the dark and imagine yourself locked in there after dark, that girl's scream makes me jump every time! Don't analyse this album by genre or even in comparison with Rick's other albums. Just get it! It is simply a work of pure genius. Thanks so much Rick for the many happy hours I’ve had with this masterpiece.