by Aaron Gidney
1999’s Jabberwocky and 2002’s The Hound of The Baskervilles have been rereleased as part of the Tales by Gaslight. Both albums have been remastered, along with a new bonus disc of material from the abandoned Frankenstein album to complete the trilogy.
With almost three hours of material spread across the three discs, there’s plenty on offer. The cast of musicians is also a sight to behold for any fans of Neo-Prog – besides Nolan, many of the musicians involved are within the Threshold, Arena and Pendragon Venn diagram including production duties by the wonderful Karl Groom of Threshold. Magnum’s Bob Catley adds some more gravitas to the star quality along with the vastly underrated Tracy Hitchings of Quasar and Landmarq.
There’s plenty of light and shade on the album and the vast array of musicians and singers means this feels like a real ensemble piece fit for the stage (much like Nolan’s regular forays into theatre/musicals). Rick Wakeman makes an appearance as the narrator (more on that later) reading excerpts from the Jabberwocky poem upon which the album is based.
2002’s The Hound of The Baskervilles includes many of the same cast members, with a few notable additions. Actor Robert Powell (yes, Jesus of Nazareth) narrates and a certain Arjen A. Lucassen also makes an appearance (it’s somewhat ironic that during the listening of the previous album, I had whiffs of Ayreon). The album is a similar jaunt to Jabberwocky – albeit much heavier in many places, but all in all, fits nicely in-between the Arena, Pendragon, Shadowland, IQ and Threshold canons (understandably). Given the musicians and bands involved, every time I listen, I half-expect Damian Wilson to start singing (he doesn’t by the way)!
Dark Fables is the newest addition in this boxset and contains an additional 45 mins of material which was supposed to complete the trilogy in the form of the Frankenstein album which was long abandoned. Former-Arena (and now Sweet) vocalist, Paul Manzi adds his vocals talents along with some guitar work by Gordan Giltrap. Ironically, the highlight of the bonus disc is the non-musical final track, which is a rendition of The Jabberwock poem read by none other than father Rick Wakeman.
A wonderful boxset, adding plenty of new material for the Wakeman/Nolan fans and a well deserved remaster for these two albums which deserve so much more attention given the quality of musicianship and songwriting.
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)
HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
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)