Review of Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record submitted on 22nd September 1997
Wonderful. Backed by Alan White and Chris Squire who were at their peak then, the first side is a feast for keyboard fans. Maybe not as hot as the first album, but the sound is bigger. As for "Judas Iscariot", well the only thing I can say is that that song, including Rick's best church organ work ever, as well as a big choir, gives me everything I want in music. Power, beauty, emotion!
Review of Rhapsodies submitted on 24th September 1997
A double album (LP-that is) with a total of 70 minutes of music. Some songs are a little too lightweigth in my taste, and the material is overall "easier" and less serious than on Ricks most albums. I guess if you throw out the worst 30 minutes, you have a good, but not great, single album. The piano rendition of Summertime stands out.
Review of Silent Nights submitted on 24th September 1997
Most songs on this album are quite straightforward melodic rock. Not many classical influences here compared with Rick's other work. Musically unadventurous with a weak production.
Review of Country Airs submitted on 24th September 1997
Look out for the version with real piano. The re-recording features a horrendous sample-piano.
Review of The Family Album submitted on 24th September 1997
Warning! See my review of Zodiaque.
Review of Time Machine submitted on 24th September 1997
Warning! See my review of Zodiaque.
Review of Zodiaque submitted on 24th September 1997
Warning! The melodies are good, but this album has the same faults as most of Rick's 80s albums; the sounds chosen on the keyboards are too "plastic". Things have been getting better in the 90s, thank God.
Review of Romance of the Victorian Age submitted on 24th September 1997
Beauty is what this music is about. Not much rockin' n' rollin here. My favourite album from the duo Wakaman & Wakeman. A lot of piano throughout. One of my favourites.
Review of The Seven Wonders of the World submitted on 24th September 1997
Wonderful! Instrumental except for the narration at the beginning of each piece describing the 7 ancient wonders of the world. This is in the same class as 70s works like Criminal Record or Six Wives only with a more modern sound. The arrangements chosen are so beautiful and each tune really has its own character. Some are soft and laid back and others powerful and full of musical climaxes. I wish Rick makes more of this kind.
Review of Vignettes submitted on 24th September 1997
A rather "poppy" album. The instrumentals are straightforward and the songs with vocals sound like American radio-rock especially the songs sung by Adam. The sound is also a little too safe for my taste. And there are no "dangerous" musical adventures at all on the album. So, a little uninteresting but not bad is my verdict.
Review of Tapestries submitted on 26th September 1997
A very good album, but not quite as marvellous as Romance of the Victorian Age. Can be used both as background music and more intensive listening. Every other track is Adam's, but they are good too.
Review of The Six Wives of Henry VIII submitted on 29th September 1997
Six instrumental pieces that are really hot. Bursting with classical influences this is the album that made Rick famous as a keyboard wizard. If you could get hold of the original LP with gatefold sleeve-Buy it! The inside picture with Rick (hair flowing down to his kneecaps) and (nearly) all the keyboards used on the album is amazing. All tracks on the albums are true Wakeman Classics.
Review of Sea Airs submitted on 29th September 1997
Same style as Country Airs but not quite as good.
Review of Night Airs submitted on 29th September 1997
A sequel to Country Airs. Not as good as that one but if you like it you should get this one too.
Review of The Classical Connection submitted on 29th September 1997
Solo-piano (almost) versions of some of Rick's better known works. Might be a good introduction to new listeners, but one thing is really annoying; the sample-piano sound is really horrendous sometimes.
Review of Wakeman with Wakeman submitted on 29th September 1997
Buy W & Ws later albums instead. Most tunes on this one are just straightforward rhythms with "guitar"-solos over it. Too unvaried.
Review of The Heritage Suite submitted on 29th September 1997
Solo-piano pieces reflecting the historical heritage of Isle of Man. If you like Country Airs you will love this.
Review of The Classical Connection 2 submitted on 1st October 1997
A collection of some old and obscure Wakeman pieces. I think most tunes are re-recordings though. Some good tunes but the weak point is lack of coherence. The styles are quite diverse; some rocking numbers and some quiet ones. "Farandol" seems to be from the Six Wives period. Some pieces has been used in commercials originally I think. We even get a Beatles cover; Eleanor Rigby! I wonder why this is called CC2 as it bears little resemblance to CC.
Review of Softsword submitted on 17th October 1997
Actually very much in the Arthur vein but without real strings, brass and choir. Good songs but a low budget production that leaves much to be asked for. Very good vocalist.
Review of Live at Hammersmith submitted on 20th October 1997
Basically "stripped down to rock band medleys" of the classics from the first 3 albums. Same musicians as on Silent Night. The sound is quite weak and I don't like the singer.