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Rick Wakeman: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: A&M Records
Released: 1974.05.13
Category: Symphonic Rock
Producer(s): Rick Wakeman
Rating: *********. (9/10)
Media type: CD
Web address: www.rwcc.com
Appears with: Yes
Purchase date: 1999.07.12
Price in €: 10,99

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] The Journey / Recollection - 21:10
[2] The Battle / The Forest - 18:57

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

RICK WAKEMAN - Synthesizer

MIKE EGAN - Guitar





 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Vinyl LP AMLH 63621 A&M UK
Vinyl LP SP3621 A&M USA
Cassette CS-3156 A&M USA
Cassette CAM64515 A&M UK
Cassette CAM CRO 14 A&M UK

Recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, London, England in 1974.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth is one of progressive rock's crowning achievements. With the help of the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, Rick Wakeman turns this classic Jules Verne tale into an exciting and suspenseful instrumental narrative. The story is told by David Hemmings in between the use of Wakeman's keyboards, especially the powerful Hammond organ and the innovative Moog synthesizer, and when coupled with the prestigious sound of the orchestra, creates the album's fairy tale-like climate. Recorded at London's Royal Festival Hall, the tale of a group of explorers who wander into the fantastic living world that exists in the Earth's core is told musically through Wakeman's synthesized theatrics and enriched by the haunting vocals of a chamber choir. Broken into four parts, the album's most riveting segment, entitled "The Battle," involves Wakeman's most furious synthesized attack, churning and swirling the keyboards into a mass instrumental hysteria. With both "The Journey" and "The Forest," it's the effective use of the strings and percussion section of the London Symphony Orchestra that causes the elements of fantasy and myth to emerge from the album's depths. The gorgeous voice of Ashley Holt is effectively prominent, and some interesting guitar work via Mike Egan arises occasionally but meritoriously amidst the keyboard fervor. The whole of Journey to the Centre of the Earth still stands as one of the most interesting conglomerations of orchestral and synthesized music, and it is truly one of Wakeman's most flamboyant projects.

Mike DeGagne - All Music Guide

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is Rick Wakeman's second solo album, released in 1974. It is loosely based on Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It was recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England on January 18, 1974. It is said that Rick had to sell many of his belongings and mortgage his house to record this. He couldn't cut it in the studio because of the restricted budget. It was originally written to be longer, but certain parts had to be cut and overdubbed since the orchestra was expensive and Rick couldn't afford to re-record those parts; hence certain lyric sections being out of order. After the recording, A&M UK did not wish to produce the album, so Rick convinced A&M USA to do it. This was the first A&M Quadraphonic (Surround Sound) album to use the CD-4 system. This album is available in its original recording, a live DVD recording at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia in 1975, and a later orchestra-free studio version recorded for The Yes Story (a compilation). It is often seen with some or all of the following tracks (though not in any particular order): Catherine Parr, Guinevere, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Catherine Howard, Merlin (Or Merlyn The Magician), Anne Boleyn, Reprise from The Forest, Forrest (sic), Journey, and The Lost End Journey Documentary. This is widely considered one of Rick's best solo works. The title song, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, consists of many orchestra and progressive rock arrangements. The lyrics are based on Jules Verne's book, as mentioned above. Rick's synthesizer wizardry is displayed with the many synthesizer solos and sections within the song. He most commonly uses his Moog analog synthesizers and a clavinet. Some parts of the song were used in the movie, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Depending on the recording, the song is between 30 and 40 minutes long. An edition released on the first disc of The Yes Story: The Gold Collection (a Yes compilation) clocked in at 31:52, while the live 1975 recording was exactly forty minutes. Edvard Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" can be heard near the end with synthesiser, orchestra, overdriven guitar, and all bells and whistles. Wakeman credits him in the liner notes, as he puts it, "Because I stole a few bars". Wakeman had a minor heart attack during an interview shortly after the release of this album. He checked himself into the hospital, and during his convalescence former bandmate Jon Anderson visited him. This was the first Wakeman album with vocals. Ashley Holt would appear on many Wakeman releases.

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