Reviews by Julian Simpson

Reviews by Julian Simpson

Review of 1984 submitted on 23rd July 1999

The instrumental tracks on this album are very good (in particular the recurring 1984 theme itself), but I consider the songs poor - I don't even like "Julia" or "Hymn" which seem to rate highly on this web site's "favourite songs" list & the song "The Proles" must be Rick's all time worst! An album to listen to on CD so that the songs can be programmed out!

Review of Cost of Living submitted on 23rd July 1999

Cost Of Living was the last vinyl album of Rick's that I bought (except for buying Arthur and Voyage on CD) until "Return" was released earlier this year. My dislike for this album was a significant factor in not buying another. However I recently found a copy of CoL on CD and decided to purchase it - surprising due to what I said at the start of this review! My only good memory of Cost Of Living was Elegy (a beautiful musical setting to Thomas Gray's poem of that name) - I don't even remember liking "Gone But Not Forgotten" at that time! I was very pleasantly surprised when I played this album again - first time since buying it all those years ago! Sure there are some weaker tracks - but I really like the majority. It will certainly get played more than once every 16 years in future!

Review of Black Knights at the Court of Ferdinand IV submitted on 23rd July 1999

I have never taken much notice of song lyrics & hence have always thought them to be irrelevant to my enjoyment when listening to music. Black Knights (lyrics in Italian) would seem to disprove this view. Unable to understand a single word - I find the songs difficult to enjoy. I must also admit to finding the voice of Mario Fasciano somewhat bland. However I do enjoy the instrumental passages - although I would not consider them to be amongst Rick's best work. [Could anyone supply a translation of the lyrics on this album - I would be very grateful?]

Review of Softsword submitted on 23rd July 1999

A brilliant collection of songs and instrumentals with a common theme. For me the album highlights are the songs "After Prayers", "The Siege" and "The Story of Love" (Chrissie Hammond's voice suits them perfectly) and the instrumentals "Rochester Collage" & "Softsword" (very melodic and evoke a real feeling of the history). I totally disagree with the reviewer who criticises this album for "very weak" production. Sure the music has no orchestral or choral arrangements, but the resulting tight rock band sound makes this a really enjoyable listen. I rate Softsword right up there with Arthur, Journey (x2) and Six Wives.

Review of The Seven Wonders of the World submitted on 23rd July 1999

Encouraged to buy this album based upon some of the reviews on this website, I have to admit to being disappointed. Except for the notable exceptions of the first (The Pharos of Alexandria) and the last (The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus) I find the rest somewhat bland. The two aforementioned tracks hold my interest due to the variety of instrumentation and occasional mood changes. The other pieces of music are all rather one paced - they are too long for that - and seem to wash over me.

Review of The New Gospels submitted on 23rd July 1999

I think this is a great album - I should make it clear from the start that I am a Christian which perhaps makes me biased. Because of my beliefs I love the message that the music is giving. However on a purely musical level, it rates very highly also. The outstanding track for me is "Children of Mine" which musically has a Tubular Bells feel. The narrated passage telling the story of the two apostles meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus gives me goose-bumps every time I listen to it. The one small criticism I have of the album is the occasional excessive amount of vibrato in Ramon Remedios's voice - whose is otherwise excellent. Interestingly when seeing Ramon on Rick's recent church tour I detected no vibrato in his singing.