Review of The Six Wives of Henry VIII submitted on 10th October 2005
Very interesting first try by Rick. With this album, it's obvious he wasn't quite used to writing songs entirely on his own; sometimes the transitions between different sections are jarring and surprising. The production of the album is a bit flat; it doesn't sparkle like later Wakeman albums. However, Rick really does show off his vast ability on keyboards, and his ability to write memorable material. The number of keyboards on here is VAST and it seems to me that Rick sticks to mostly traditional keyboards, indulging in synths only very little. The songs all have catchy melodies, and some of them are down right beautiful. The style of these songs generally fall in between what I call "rocking rave ups" "beautiful piano ballads" and "all out prog epics." I leave it to the listener to decide which is which, but this album is actually very diverse. One might imagine that a keyboard led instrumental album could grow a bit mushy in sound; not so here. Rick varies his attack on the keyboard enough so that each song has something new to it. Rick was only getting started; his compositional ability only grew after this. However, the very down to earth nature of the production (the "concept" was no doubt tacked on at the last minute) makes this one of his easier albums to get into. Rick isn't trying to tell a story, nor is he making a grand spiritual statement. He's simply writing music he wants to write, and the album is much better for that.