Review of Softsword submitted on 29th April 1997
In appearance simple and straightforward, after repeated listening 'Softsword' proves to be a brilliant and mature exercise in restraint and deceptive understatements. Music and lyrics show Rick at his very best composing and scoring arrangements, so this
Review of Black Knights at the Court of Ferdinand IV submitted on 15th July 1997
Rick's Third Royal Masterpiece. Lyrics in Italian (not included, unfortunately!), and excitingly close to the very best Italian progressive bands. In a rock trio format, Rick gives ample space to guitars and singer/drummer participation. Half of the tracks are great instrumentals. In a league by itself, "Black Knights..." shouldn't be overlooked!
Review of Rhapsodies submitted on 19th July 1997
Rick "Just One More Jig" Wakeman, having fun with his pals at his most festive mood ever. A short double album (70:17) that induces unstoppable foot-stomping, with a few serene moments. Classics such as "Rhapsody In Blue" and "Swan Lager" ("Lake") played to a very danceable beat. Generous use of mini-moog and all the early period synth sounds. Plus a "Summertime" cover guaranteed to raise goose-bumps!
Review of In The Beginning submitted on 7th August 1997
As pop lore has it: in the end, YES did not quite put the Bible to music - but "In The Beginning" shows Rick doing exactly that. Colorful synths frame and showcase Nina's sweet voice rendering a graceful, serene reading of chapters from the Scriptures. On a par with "The Gospels" (and its revised new version), this one may not be an album to be heard quite often per se, but playing it once every Sunday would prove to be healthy and inspiring for all Christians worldwide; The 23rd Psalm is great!