Classic Tracks (1993)

Classic Tracks

#Track TitleLength
1Journey to the Centre of the Earth31:55
2Catherine Howard09:13
3Merlin The Magician06:45
Artist Name Instrument Track (where known)
Rick WakemanKeyboardsAll
Jim GentryGuitarsAll
Michael FranklinKeyboards/Lead VocalAll
Paul ParkerDrums/PercussionAll
Tim FranklinBass/Backing VocalsAll
Type Cat No. Label Country Other Title
CDHTCD 3362ZazooUK
CassetteHTCT 3362ZazooUK
CDDSB 3145-2DSBGermany
Equipment Studio Engineering
  • No info
  • No info
  • No info
Rick's Perspective
I despise this album in every respect. The master tapes of the back tracks were taken to America and appalling vocals put on them without my approval. The final result was also then sold without my approval and without my receiving a penny. The master tapes were never even returned to me. the album is a disgrace.
Wakey's Verdict
If you buy it, don't expect me ever to autograph it.
Little Known Trivia
When I contacted the original company in America who had illegally purchased it I was threatened with not just violence but that I would "mysteriously disappear" if I interfered any more and I was never to expect one penny or my masters back.

addendum……Even though this album keeps appearing on different labels PLEASE don't buy it I beg of you!!!!!


Topper Fralick on 22nd February 2002 [Other reviews]

This album should be on everyones want list! Instead of just rehashing songs for another compilation, Rick has rearranged and expanded the tracks to give them new life! 'Journey To The Center Of The Earth' is performed without narration and orchestration, giving space for inspired performance from Rick and the band. 'Catherine Howard' has been extended, allowing some interesting changes from the original version. 'Merlin The Magician' is fun! The new vocal and band arrangement really is ,well, magical! The sound of the recording is excellent as well. Bravo!!

Addendum: My review of this album from 02/22/2002 was written before I ever read Rick's Perspective! Had I known the history and Rick's feelings, I would have never written a review. Even though I still enjoy listening to Rick's playing on the album, I will no longer recommend anyone buying Classic Tracks.

Tim Boudewijn van der Wart on 26th October 2001 [Other reviews]

This CD is stunning!! Merlin is finally finished - a tremendous vocal version!! This Merlin truly recaptures the thrill the original version gave me when I first heard it! The journey is also excellent, the vocals are perfect and there are beautiful guitar contributions, it is not bad at all that there isn't any choir or orchestra! Catherine Howard is good too. This cd is certainly a must buy for all the fans, but try to find the one with the cover shown on this site, I have the ugly one from prestige records, which looks like it has been designed with some miserable paintbrush (the music is the same of course).

Reniet Ramirez on 12th April 2000 [Other reviews]

It is what I call a PERFECT album. The way it was recorded, mixed, etc, is just perfect. Musically is an incredible work from every single instrument. This version of "Journey..." is so wild, powerfull & beautiful that can be considered as another ORIGINAL song, instead of just "another version".

Christian Loebenstein on 10th January 2000 [Other reviews]

This Album is a collaboration between Mr. Wakeman and four American musicians and features re-arranged and re-recorded classic Wakeman Tracks, hence the title. Yet, more than six years after buying it, I still think a better title would have been "Classic Tracks Revisited", just to avoid any thought of being 'another compilation'. 'Journey', complete without narration is definitely the highlight. Instrumentation and playing on this piece (and on the whole Album) are both highly professional. Of course critics were moaning about the album's musical style when it came out, but nevertheless (and in my opinion) it stands out as a prime example how Classic- or Progressive Rock, however you might call it, should be handled nowadays.

Greg Kimbrell on 13th February 1999 [Other reviews]

Though not a "must" by any means, Classic Tracks has some interesting moments. Track one is an entire performance of "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" without the narrator; however, some of its parts are slowed down a bit too much. It features a traditional rock band and choir as accompaniment, but the mediocre vocalist reminds me of the one from Live at Hammersmith. Look out for the last track; it is a terrifying vocal version of "Merlin."