The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table 2016 by Andrew Knightley on 8th June 2021 [Other reviews]
I was lucky enough to be one of the few people at the playback event for this album, it captivated me from the first few bars and still does. The blend of old and new is seamless and is how it should have appeared in the first place. The flexibility of new technology is never wasted on Rick and this album truly reflects this, sit back relax and let it take you on a true Arthurian adventure.
What can I say about the "Red Planet"? What a Beautiful Recording! It has been worth the wait! Congratulations on a great album, Rick! As with the last album done with the English Rock Ensemble, superb sound and excellent musicianship from all participants. No vocals this time, and Rick sure makes up for that with his virtuoso keyboard performances. My favourite track so far (it may change with further listenings) is "Pavonis Mons", where the soloing is amazing. It reminds me occasionally of the style used in the opening track of "White Rock", where the keyboard solo goes off at a tangent and you wonder where this is going and he finishes the run of notes and you find youself amazed that he could even think of a run of notes like that let alone play it! Then it changes pace (as it should with the Prog genre) and you get a superb finale. Love this sort of thing in Rick's Music! Very impressed with all the other musicians, especially Lee Pomeroy's bass work. I first came across his playing on the Yes ARW live album last year, and like all Southpaw players, he really plays superbly. Just waiting now for the CD release later this month (June 2020), and can't wait to see that special edition packaging!
Red Planet is everything I hoped it would be and more. I think it's the best sounding album from Rick. The production is so rich, warm, and dynamic. The guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard sounds are all killer. Red Planet needs to be actively listened to in its entirety. The arrangements are incredibly complex and full of surprises. The tunes are chock full of catchy riffs, tricky rhythms, and dramatic themes. In Arsia Mons, Cooney plays an excellent Gilmour-esque acoustic guitar solo over an awesome electric piano sound. I love how the beautiful and gentle South Pole precedes the insane closing number. Valles Marineris might be the best piece Rick has ever composed. It is simply breathtaking.
I was instantly transported back to the seventies and again another world upon hearing the first few bars, the use of older analogue and newer digital keyboards increased the tone and depth of sound allowing a greater flexibility within the composition of the tracks, in true Wakeman style this album is a triumph for all involved. Sit back relax and leave this world and go to another awesome musical experience.
Wow, it's 2020 and I gain even more respect for this album over the years, it's from a 1985 performance. What a great capture of the voices Rick was using in the early to mid 80s. To me, this is a hidden gem amongst his vast catalogue. If you come across a copy, buy it, you will thank me later. I actually have a mint vinyl copy, which I treasure. My favorite track - The Three Wives, a 16+ minute medly that's so rich!
An album that had generally passed me by, but due to the recent reissue by Demon Music Group on red vinyl (2019) that has been remedied. Reminiscent of many of Rick's rock albums in style, the performance is exemplary throughout. Great keyboard work goes without saying but the performance by the rest of the band is very tight. The tracks reflect the circus theme and whilst the circus is not my favourite medium of entertainment, this excellent album would, no doubt, spark some interest.
When Journey was released I was 16 years old and ripe for any adventure. This album took me directly to the places only imagined in books. The fact that this is a live recording is almost as astonishing as the adventure itself. Rick's craftsmanship of both melody and narration lead you into a world within a world...one you will never forget.
Imagine being on a picnic by a stream near a forest and closing your eyes to hear the wonderous nature around you. This is the soundtrack to such a day. Simply B-ambi-ent...
I consider the Rick Wakeman Album "The Natural World Trilogy" to be a "Good" album. By that I mean an album that can be listened to in its entirety, without interruption, and be enjoyed for its own sake. The musicianship is, as one has come to expect from our Mr. Wakeman, of exceptional quality. Rick is a long standing professional, who has been a member of too many top class groups and sessions to be anything else. His 1999 album therefore cannot be anything other than what it turns out to be on playing. A perfectly executed piece of pure class. If you are expecting dramatic drums and soaring guitars, you will be disappointed, but make no mistake here; what you will get is a keyboard player who has realized that these trappings are totally unnecessary to show his own artistry and ability as both a writer and performer. To cut it short, I bought this album on Ebay, thinking it would be a gap-filler. I loved it. Rick is brilliant on this. A definite precursor to his later piano projects of the very recent past, like Piano Portraits and Piano Odyssey, both of which I have and love. That's not to say that this trilogy is a piano project. There is, naturally, some piano on it, but the overall feeling and style is of the kind of album that the majority of "keyboard" orientated artists would produce if they could actually play the keyboard instead of programming it. There are no sequencers on this album - every trill and every repeated phrase is played by Rick and he can reproduce it live. That is the beauty of a genuine keyboardist like Rick Wakeman. If you want further proof of his ability, just watch him during his keyboard solo slots on any of the Yes live videos he's participated in. His live renditions of the themes from his own "Six wives of Henry VIII" are absolutely stunning! Look at it like this - if Rick Wakeman came to your house and played a track from this album live in front of you, and you did not know who he was (say, He wasn't famous), you'd want him to join your band immediately because he's a keyboard maestro, and it shows. Buy It!
Rick Wakeman’s performance and arrangement on the opening track “While my guitar gently weeps” is an absolute masterpiece. Must hear those piano harmonics blending with the string orchestra’s harmonies and choral voices. Incredible beauty!
A man who spent his life on getting orchestral feeling out of the synthesizers, mello-/birotrons and other electric keyboards is back on the "acoustic planet". With stunning results all over this CD for piano, string orchestra and choir. Plus a flamenco-style acoustic guitar - by courtesy of a friend, the great Brian May - within a terrific rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody", to finish this adventurous "Odyssey"!
Mr. Wakeman never did music like someone else. And sometimes succeeded to impose his own rules of how music is to be done. His orchestral rock epics in mid-70-ties took the scene by storm and created a new event in the British music history. Since then he tried numerous come-backs including some as a piano-solo performer. Initiated by "Country Airs" (1986) and "The Piano Album" (1995), those attempts made a spectacular breakthrough in 2017 with "Piano Portraits" making charts sustainably and gaining him a "Silver Album" in UK sales. More importantly, Mr. Wakeman, now in his late 60-ties, was imposing once again his mark on the music business. And breaking once again the limits of what is conventionally considered as modern, classic or pop!
The 2018 "Piano Odyssey" (released on Sony Classical) is a brave step further in that direction. Essentially, its chamber music. Some of which is very personal and deeply emotional (his new compositions: "Rocky"; "Cyril Wolverine"). Some others are post-romantic ("After the Ball" connected to its source of inspiration, the "Liebesträume" by Liszt), or quite baroque in style ("Jane Seymour", sounding here more Vivaldi-an than Bach-ish as in its original on Six Wives). The pop-orientated arrangements are less numerous here compared to "Piano Portraits". Somehow of a less immediate access than the former, "Piano Odyssey" also made UK charts, albeit this time briefly!
More importantly, this album may well initiate a kind of a new brand in Wakeman's production. As one report summarized (amazon.com): "if Rick Wakeman means to reinvent himself in the autumn of his career, then he's succeeded in the first step, and may he take more such steps, if that's what he wants. I'm in!"
What's next? A Concerto for Piano with a full Symphony Orchestra? It would be a nice follow-up to the "The Pearl and Dean Piano Concerto” (1974). Would Sony Classical sign Wakeman for that? They do not know what they miss if they wouldn't...!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table 2016 by Christopher M. Wallace on 19th April 2018 [Other reviews]
Rick Wakeman's crowning achievement (yes; pun intended). I have always loved The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; but, have felt disappointed when I would consider what it could have been. The themes are so strong, musically and lyrically, and, given the vast subject, it could have been something offered on a grand scale... a double album prog epic masterpiece! Plus, with Wakeman's association with Yes, and Roger Dean, where was the cover art it SHOULD have been given? Well, here it is! All of it! It's like Rick Wakeman read my mind! Normally, I would cringe at the idea of rerecording a classic; but, in this case, it wasn't just rerecorded... it was finally completed and fully realized... and what an epic it is! Before we even put the discs on the player, we are captured and drawn in by some of Dean's finest work! Then there is the sound quality: a vast improvement over the original! The performances are just as good or even better than 1975! Every one, including Ashley Holt and Rick, himself, (with his blazing classic analog synth and his Steinway piano) are in top form in this new recording! Hayley Sanderson, who sings the newer compositions, does so just beautifully; and the newer pieces are generally calmer than the original songs, providing a welcomed contrast... and, as you would expect, the newer melodies are gorgeous and the lyrics are every bit as high quality as the older material. By the end, you don't even feel as if you sat for almost 90 minutes! In fact, you will likely just want to listen to it all over again. This album is finally the classic prog epic masterpiece I always knew it could be, and I just want to say God bless Rick Wakeman and Roger Dean for making it so!
I bought my first CD player a bit late, in June 1991. The day I got it, I also got my first 3 RW CDs-- ZODIAQUE, A SUITE OF GODS, and THE FAMILY ALBUM. While all 3 were listed as "New Age", ", I'm not sure this instrumental piano collection fit that description. This has long been a favorite of mine. "Black Beauty" opens the album with quiet magic. "Adam" continues with a really beautiful melody. "Jemma" paints a musical picture of unpredictable high energy interspersed with catching of breaths. This, along with "Oliver" (a more mid-tempo "dignified" energy) and "Wiggles" (high-speed frantic running in circles) are my 3 favorite tracks. I included them on a custom comp of my favorite RW songs. In addition, the romantic-yet-melancholy "The Day After The Fair" inspired me to watch the rather sad TV-movie it was the theme song from.
I bought "1984" circa 2000 (as a younger fan; I was 18) having discovered Rick via Yes. I took a chance on it not knowing anything other than Jon Anderson contributing 'The Hymn'. Like many other reviewers I have to say I happily disagree with Grumpy Old Rick! It's a fine album - dated for sure and cheesy in spots but that's what makes it fantastic! I told Rick the same when I met him after a show in Long Island, NY in October 2003 when he signed it for me. Upon presenting him with my copy he said "Well at least you have the Japanese import you can get more for it!" Haha. It proudly hangs on my wall to this day and I genuinely love the album. Give it another try Rick!
"Piano portraits" is arguably the best piano album Rick Wakeman has produced so far. Inspired performance, brilliant arrangements, a rich piano sound of his favorite Steinway Grand and quality recording.
I liked the rawness of this album. It feels like you're listening to the band in pub. It also made me appreciate No Earthly Connection more, which I now regard as one of Rick's best. (Spot Ashley Holt's lines fluff on The Journey).
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Criag on 1st June 2017 [Other reviews]
Like quite many I suspect, my first Rick album was Journey To The Centre of The Earth. This one was next and I regard both as absolute classics - beautifully constructed and performed.
Definitely worth having in the collection - some truly mesmerizing moments. I saw the film in the theatre when it was released, mainly so I could enjoy the soundtrack, which does go great with the images.
This is a very nice album. Almost sounds like Country Airs would've if Jon had've accompanied Rick on those long walks.
Very rocky bits interspersed with classic Rick keyboards and choir, this is Rick at his best - had me from the start.
Meilleure interprétation et meilleur enregistrement. c'est mon album préféré... Hayley Sanderson a une voix très sensuelle et tous les musiciens sont au top. Amitiés fraternelles!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table 2016 by George R on 13th November 2016 [Other reviews]
The new Arthur sounds phenomenal! It was mixed and mastered even more dynamically than Journey. The dynamics might actually frighten people who are used to the current era's heavily squashed rock albums. Rick's keyboards are ear candy. I love the dramatic palm glides on the Hammond organ, the funky Wurlitzer piano riff in Holy Grail, the rich grand piano, and all the killer Mini-Moog sounds. I think the second Mini-Moog solo in Merlin is the best solo Rick has ever recorded. Tony Fernandez and Dave Colquhoun really shine on this record as well. Percival is my favorite new track on Arthur. It's one of the most rocking tunes Rick has written. Percival has great Mini-Moog parts, some killer guitar playing, rhythmic complexity, shifting meters, and the ultimate bombastic ending. This is prog at its best.
This is my second favorite album/cd. I totally enjoyed the performance. I remembered watching this on a television program called "In Concert" and this is where I discovered Rick. At the time I did not know he was with Yes but I knew about his first album. After all these years I still enjoy listening to this music. Rick, after what you went through to write, rehearse, perform and record this album; you did an extremely good job. this was an excellent recording, mistakes and all. Thank you for your efforts through all these years. I'm 56 years old and been listening since the age of 14.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table 2016 by Hans van Hengel on 17th October 2016 [Other reviews]
It's no use comparing this one with the 1975 edition. The recording is superior, and the additions musically refer to the 2012 "Journey" due to Haley Sanderson. There's even a hint of 1984. I loved the original Ashley Holt vocals more than his new renditions. But still his contribution to the album is vital. We all know the story of Rick's heart problems during the writing of the original songs. On this version there's more sparks and the album sounds less dark and moody. The new Arthur is a worthy follow up to the new Journey and the new Wives. Has Wakey's career come full circle with this one or is there more to come???
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table 2016 by Marcelo Senes on 25th July 2016 [Other reviews]
Outstanding! It's a superb record, as the 75's original record, and the arrangements of keyboards are really good (very clear sound), a little bit different from the original, but also very good. The Chamber Choir is great! Although I'd prefer Ashley Holt singing all songs (he is still an incredible singer), the new female singer is great too. Rick is like a fine wine, getting better as the years go by. Thanks Rick for all good music you've given us, it's really a God's gift. Long live to our true born king, Rick Wakeman!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Marcio Aloysio Pinto on 30th June 2016 [Other reviews]
A very sensitive and courageous album with beautifully touching themes like Guinevere and The Last Battle. It will be in our hearts confirming Wakeman as a composer whose works will remain forever respected, beloved and remenbered.Great performance. A gentle trip with the artist into a melancolic dream.
What could I say? This was one of the first of Rick's albums I heard back in the good old 70s. I always wondered why such powerful and inspired piece was recorded live, and how it would sound like if recorded at a studio? And now here it is, not just the old Journey in its full studio glory but much more, extended wilth those parts that were originally omitted for the vinyl release. An incredible work and incredible piece of music, and my only complain is that we have had to wait so long to be able to listen to this. The original is part of music history, but I have to say that this is much better. Really.
Country Airs, Night Airs, Sea Airs, all beautiful acoustic piano. You are transported to the environments they are so named. Elegant, warm, evocative, and energetic could describe the feelings I get when listening to all of them. Listen to at least one of them every week for years!
Rick Wakeman plays Night Music? No witty lines but a musical highlight!! A late night show with Rick more laid back work. The sound quality is excellent and the choice of the songs is superb. An absolute knockout version of Gray's Elegy In a Country Churchyard by Robert Powell. A must have and by far the best volume in the Video Vault series.
The Old Grey Whistle Test? Although the sound quality is a bit poor it is great fun.The ERE is at full speed and this time around Ashley Holt remembered his lines. This recording is of the No Earthly Connection period. There is no orchestra but the ERE fills in nicely.The recording is not brilliant but the energy of the show shines through.There aren't many live recordings of the No Earthly Connection album so this is a treat for fans like me.
Video Vault Volume 1 - 1975 Live at the Empire Pool King Arthur on Ice by Hans van Hengel on 9th April 2016 [Other reviews]
In the wake of the re-recording of King Arthur I took a view at this DVD once more. The DVD gives you a glimpse at the scope of the whole idea of performing on ice. Downsides to the DVD: "Merlin" is missing and for some odd reason there is an unwanted doubling of a short piece Galahad. The sound is what you can expect of a 1975 video tape. (B-) It might have been a great show but it was recorded poorly. But for diehard fans like me it's a piece of history.
The treasure chest truly became a chest of treasures. The OST released by A&M was good enough (despite the writer's verdict) but this album takes it just that two stops farther. Rick managed to produce a soundtrack mixed with some dialogue that turns the score into a film of its own. You don't need to see the film to get the picture. This version does it for you.
CAN IT BE DONE? This studio version of the Journey is by far superior to the original. The rediscovered score is recorded superbly. The keyboard parts by Mr Wakeman are as impressive as 40 years ago. And the reinstalled parts that were cut from the old album sound fantastic. Due to the fact that it is a studio recording it fits in well with the "Return" album. Of course there are some people sadly missing after 40 odd years but Rick managed to take the Journey into the 21th century.
Whilst this album represents the end of the A&M years, and some people have been rather dismissive, I really like this album. It highlights, even from a relatively young age, Rick's great diversity and his ability to interpret music through a range of styles and genres. I think the fact that he wasn't trying to take himself too seriously was also to his credit. The album gives some sense of what he can deliver through tracks as diverse as Sea Horses, Gladiators and his sublime interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime. I really enjoyed Credits, the last track, which perfectly captures Rick's essential sense of humour.
If you are a true audiophile (if you are reading this you probably are) with a half decent system, be prepared for an audible assault. Be prepared to hear things you never heard before from The Six Wives of Henry VIII (not the wives themselves of course!) and be prepared to be sonically moved again the way I was when I first played the vinyl release back in the 70's. The Quad mix reveals just how much effort and professionalism went into this album. All versions on this release are outstanding and while the new stereo mix may lack the drama of the quad mix, it is still truly smooth and beautiful and does real justice to the original. I absolutely loved this album when Rick first released it in the 70's. I also love the full fat bluray live Hampton Court release but, this version 'had' to happen and I'm glad I have lived long enough to see and hear it!
This is lovely, really quite a nice one here. Acoustic piano dominates the tracks and the compositions are melodic and memorable. Highly recommended.
I believe 2000AD was hailed as one the most stylish and dynamic synth albums ever made. Many years and hundreds of albums later I feel that it still is and as a result it is a more than fitting title for such an immense body of work. Rick may well have ditched his cape in the pseudo-digital time tunnel but the wizard was still out there and in control. 2000AD confidently runs through a wide range of musical styles while offering a fair amount of pleasant surprises along the way that only Rick could get away with, because it is done so well and, after all this is his identity which, as an 'artist' is an important aspect of any work. 2000AD is quintessential Wakeman doing what he does best and on his own terms. In a nutshell a fantastic album. Outside, a memorable and true classic in every sense of the word.
With all the emphasis on Rick's major works in recent times, it would be really good if this album could be revisited in terms of some UK dates. Having regard to the advances that have been made in terms of stage presentation in the intervening years, NEC would lend itself to a spectacular performance. Exploring key spiritual themes with stunning , yet sensitive arrangements, I think this is one of Ricks most under rated albums. Tracks such as The Prisoner have an almost operatic quality, whilst The Spaceman concludes the album in a moving and suitably thought - provoking manner. Go on Rick take it out on the road - you know it makes sense!
Not one of Rick's better known albums and yet worth the effort of investigation. This is an album that demonstrates his ability to successfully capture a diverse range of sounds and styles in one session. Where else could you experience the sublime beauty of Thomas Gray's opus next to the hilariously funny Monkey Nuts ! One of the more reflective moments is found with Gone But Not Forgotten, a track inspired by the Falklands conflict. The album marked the end of his short lived association with Charisma records and perhaps has failed to secure the recognition it truly deserves. Try it - if you like Rick you won't regret it!
I, like many others was shocked to read Rick's verdict on this one and again, I couldn't agree less with his own verdict. This is one of those albums that hooked me instantly, for the summer of 2009 I couldn't stop listening to it. It flows nicely and the lyrics are great with the just the right balance of catchy easy to listen to songs and grander arrangements, I'd rate this above most of Rick's albums. Rick, listen to your fans, take pride in this work, we're telling you it's great.
Of the 52 albums I own from Rick, this I must say is the most beautiful. Not everyone, RW fan or not, can enjoy opera but this has the magic touch by Rick and tenor Ramon Remidios. "Giants roaming with a single eye". What a lyric. I think it's a classic. From creation to padamonium to the flood to hero's' it covers all of that era gone by. A must for true fans.
Great to hear the album in its entirety after all these years after being so use to the live album from 1974. Enjoyed it immensely. However, like some reviews I have read not too sure about the female vocalist but I am sure it will grow on people. Looking forward to the Glasgow show in May. I was lucky enough to be at the RFH in 1974!!!
I was surprised to note Rick's comment that this wasn't an album that he wanted to record. On hearing it, on its release in 1986, I was overwhelmed by its lightness of touch and its ability to evoke vivid images. In some senses, it seemed a particularly mature undertaking and demonstrated Rick's undoubted talent as a musician and composer.
When people are asked which is their favourite Rick Wakeman album, there are some understandably predictable answers such as Six Wives, King Arthur and Journey. However, as good as they all undoubtedly are, the Classical Variations album is certainly a contender for me as the best.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Robert Nancarrow on 28th April 2013 [Other reviews]
This was the first Rick Wakeman album that I heard, back in 1975. I remember hearing "Merlin the Magician" on the Jonnie Walker album chart during half term in October 1975. I was immediately captivated. What I didn't realise at the time, was how many other well know works he had contributed to with artists like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and others.
I found the CD used at a music store for $1. This is one of the best 'New Age' style piano CD's I have ever heard. Amazing!
Sorry Rick, but I couldn't agree less with your opinion on this album. OK, this one is not The Six Wives, Arthur, Journey or No Earthly, but in my opinion this is really a wonderful album, full of great moments. It came in a difficult moment, sure, but it has a classic feeling on it all and keys work, the singers and music are great. I remember having heard Rhapsodies (which I didn't like at all back then) not long before and I was somehow reluctant to buy 1984 as I thought it would be a similar work, but I am happy I finally decided to get it. I especially like the "classic" overall ambience in contrast with the history. Give this one a try, you won’t regret.
I have been meaning to buy this album for some considerable time and only wish I had done so earlier. Rick often speaks of painting pictures with music and this album is no exception. The tracks cover a range of moods and emotions from the playful "Fremiet’s Cat" to the thoughtful "Summers End". There is a delightful arrangement of Debussy's "Clare De Lune" and "The Garden Party" is a lively number which, in places reminds me of "Shakespeare Run" from the "Cost of Living” album. The art work perfectly complements the music, adding to the whole experience. All in all, an excellent album by father and son father and son.
For those of us who have been listening to the caped crusader for more years than we care to admit to, this album is a yet another example of his seemingly limitless talent. Many people associated Rick with the grand and the epic that is so well represented throughout his back catalogue. However, on this album, his undoubted skill as a musician and as an imaginative arranger of other people's material is peerless. Having seen him perform in this style on many occasions, he has the talent and the charisma to make an evening’s entertainment seemingly pass in minutes. Highlights include "A Glimpse of Heaven" from his time with the Strawbs, “Space Oddity" and “Life on Mars" from his association with the great David Bowie and a really moving arrangement of his own “Gone But Not Forgotten". If you haven't heard this offering yet, take the opportunity to catch up with an intimate evening of Rick Wakeman at his very best.
A truly magnificent album. It follows an epic journey undergone by three adventurers to the centre of the earth. An Orchestra accompanies singers and Rick Wakeman's many synthesizers. At points the album is up-beat and groovy whilst at others it is majestic and moving.
The second Retro album has a grittier sound than the first. There is more organ, more guitar, and more bass pedals. Rick warns us to Expect the Unexpected and he delivers. No two pieces on this record have the same structure and Rick has once again put some surprises in his arrangements.
This record and Live At The BBC are Rick's best live albums in my view. The performances here are top notch and full of energy and there are a lot of great keyboard sounds. Ashley does a great job singing the Out There material, especially considering that Rick composed vocal melodies containing some notes that only dogs can hear. I think I like this version of Out There better than the studio version as it sounds a little beefier and the incredible solos from Ant Glynne and Rick are even more exciting here. Another highlight, which really surprised me, is a version of White Rock that is just as insane as the record. Rick's MiniMoog playing is masterful on this recording. Not just the notes he's playing, but the way he's adjusting the glide control and altering the sound as he's playing. The only criticism I have is that the cymbals and the guitar sound too bright, but this is still a must have record.
I used to think Return to the Centre of the Earth was Rick's best record, but the new Journey tops it. This is simply the ultimate concept album and the ultimate prog album.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Juan Mares on 18th January 2013 [Other reviews]
This one is my favourite record from Rick. It brings together three of my greatest passions: progressive rock, keyboards and the Arthurian myths. Very few times, if ever, have I found a record that blends so smoothly the sound of a rock band with electronic keyboards, an orchestra and choir. The opener, "Arthur" is absolutely breathtaking for the ambient, melodies and orchestration, a real paramount of this kind of music, but there is much more here: the strength of "The Black Knight", "Merlin" which sounds mysterious and humourous at the same time, or the final track, evocative and melancholic. Maybe this is not the best record to introduce someone to Rick's music (that would be probably "The Six Wives"), but for me this one is his most polished gem.
Just wanted to share with all. This is truly an outstanding album. With the added music and the nice booklet, what an added bonus. Rick really takes Journey over the "TOP". Thank you Rick for continuing to make music for your fans around the world. I have truly been blessed to hear and enjoy such his music. I've passed Rick's music along to my son who is majoring in music in college and what real music is all about. He is a hugh fan. He is also grateful for Rick's music. He really appreciates and understands the classical is the key to success. Thank you Rick and God Bless you and your family and all at RWCC.
Anderson/Wakeman - The Living Tree In Concert Part One by Marco Guarato on 31st December 2012 [Other reviews]
I really think "23-24-11" is the best song ever written by Jon & Rick. EVER. And this live rendition is just sublime. This only song earns the album a top score, but listen to "And You And I" and "The Meeting" as well. Ah, and "Time And A Word". Ok, listen to the whole album. You will be grateful.
Different styles, techniques and sounds. A sample Portfolio perhaps. Some serious (Caeseria) and others just fun. It is another showcase for Rick's compositional talents as well as his famous dexterity. A slight over-use of certain "metallic" synth patches at times. Played "Live" on Tour before CD release.
I had the good fortune to go to a Rick wakeman concert in Birmingham not so long back and briefly met him and got his autograph. I think it's about time I reviewed this excellent album as I will never forget the first time I heard it on cassette as it is one of the reasons why I play keyboards today. I was amazed at the diversity and complexity of the album and I was also amazed at how Rick uses a huge variety of keyboard instruments to great effect including piano, church organ, hammond organ, harpsichord and a variety of synthesizers. What also impressed me was the fact that the keyboard instruments are played with dazzling and exciting virtuosity but Rick combines this with the ability to write memorable melodies. There are many changes in tempo all the way through the album but the changes never sound jarring or out of place. In fact they sound very natural and add to the excitement of the album. In my opinion this is truly an outstanding album and one that should and will be remembered for a very long time.
Although guaranteeing the original Rock ‘N’ Roll Prophet a wider audience than it had upon first release, the Plus edition is for me a bit of a mish-mash. One could argue that the title alone is already a strange marriage to the music – the collection of quirky songs and lighthearted keyboard instrumentals is as far removed from rock as it’s possible to be – but that attempt at humour and the original 1979 production values at least gave Rock ‘N’ Roll Prophet a cohesiveness. The addition of four extra tracks on Plus sound exactly like what they are – the Rick of 12 years later and not conceived in the same mindset. And it’s the lighthearted oddity of the album that makes it so enjoyable. This is delivered chiefly through vocal tracks ‘I’m So Straight I’m A Weirdo’ (watch the music video if you can), ‘Maybe ‘80’ (I *love* this song), and ‘Do You Believe In Fairies?’ While Mr. Wakeman would be the first to admit singing isn’t his forte, his untrained efforts are perfectly-suited to the lighthearted madness of the songs – and since Prophet is a one-off, add to the novelty value of the album. The instrumentals don’t quite match the entertainment value of the songs, but there are nonetheless some pleasing efforts on board – ‘Dark’ and ‘Early Warning’ being two key examples. Of the Plus additions, ‘March Of The Child Soldiers’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Prophet’ are my favourites. That they don’t match the originals is not to say they aren’t any good, only that it would have worked better as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Prophet equivalent of White Rock II, ie – if Rick had gone all the way and produce a second album of new tracks. Indeed, if he ever again feels like going “off the wall” as he describes above, I for one would love to hear it. ‘Maybe ‘(20)18’, anyone?
While understandably not officially counted by Rick himself (see above), Piano Vibrations is an interesting time capsule for the fans. It's a snapshot of a jobbing young musician on the cusp of fame - indeed the reason Pye rather misguidedly released it in the first place - and being also a collection of period pop tunes, is not at all painful to listen to. Indeed, the early 70s instruments and production only gives it a more distinct character with the passage of time, as does the lack of a lead vocalist! Standout tracks include 'Yellow Man' and the perennial go-to track, 'Classical Gas'. By no means a classic, devoid of any original compositions, and a desperately foolhardy attempt to cash in on the world's greatest keyboard player - one that is sure to raise a groan or two from Mr. Wakeman whenever it's mentioned in his presence - Piano Vibrations is nonetheless an enjoyable 'historical document' for those of us who've been with him ever since.
Phantom Power essentially presents the musical highlights to the new score Rick provided Universal in 1989 when they decided to update the 1925 adaptation of Phantom Of The Opera starting Lon Chaney for a modern audience. If the purists weren’t already offended by the colour tinting added to the ensuing drama, the wholly un-traditional score would have had them in fits of apoplexy. Not only do we get Rick’s contemporary keyboard motifs, but actual songs in both the rock genre and more operatic entries in between. These in turn are brought to life by long-time stalwarts of the Wakeman sound Ashley Holt, Chrissie Hammond and opera tenor Ramon Ramedios, with their respective talent really broadening the scope of the production.
Although i am a die-hard wakeman fan, this is one of my all time favorite albums. It brings back such great memories of me in my early 20'S. THANKS, Rick. U R the man in the cape!!!!!!
As someone who was in the habit of buying all things "YES" when this album came out, the music on it came as a complete surprise. To this day, it is one of my absolute favourite CDs. I was very confused however, when I was upgrading from my original cassette to CD. It seems retailers were also confused, as I was sold the new version in the original cover. I had no idea it had been re-recorded and to my mind the original is far superior.
Surely this is the antidote for those who are wary of wandering through a minefield of Wakeman’s lesser-known works – particularly for listeners who have had issues with certain vocalists or cheesy-sounding keyboards. In this instance, Rick performs alone on piano, all instrumental, all original works. Rest assured, this is not sleepy music. The tempo is varied. The playing at times beautiful and restrained, other times deft and aggressive – providing the full range one expects to hear on a good Rick Wakeman album. This is an album that should be spoken of in the same breath as Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey To The Centre of the Earth and Criminal Record – ranking among his best.
With the exception of the slightly more aggressive opening track, I would describe the music on this album as predominantly understated. That is consistent with the music Dave Cousins and the Strawbs have released in recent years. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It just means those seeking bombast won't find it here. I like the fact Cousins and Wakeman each take turns contributing a track - sometimes a Cousins piece followed by an instrumental - which ensures an element of variety throughout this album. One of the highlights for me is "Higher Germanie" which is a traditional tune the Strawbs performed live in their early days but the song never appeared on any of those early albums.
A great piece with lots of great musical ideas. The opening theme is continually developed throughout the piece providing cohesion. The live performance, with its faults adds rather that detracts from the experience providing a sense of drama. The narration and music is drmatic and a pleasure to listen to. The only problem was that it seemed a bit abrupt and didn't quite flow at times. What a shame we don't have the complete piece as mentioned by Rick!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Rich Deem on 2nd March 2009 [Other reviews]
I think it's time for a review. This LP has it all. Rock, Prog, Classical….you name it. But it's more than that. When I first heard it, I was lost in Camelot.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Marty on 21st February 2009 [Other reviews]
I bought this after JOURNEY' and found it VERY difficult to get into at first !!!! But i stuck with it, and it soon floated my boat !!! Iv got it on CD, but still have it on vinyl, the middle of the gatefold sleeve is bril',and the booklet is bril', great music and great escapism !!!
A positive beginning for not only piano, but nice rock orchestra, female background choir, soloists in some tracks, style raging from jazz, soul, pop, old rock and others. Calm, warm, but also energizing and each track is very different from the other.
Here is really Rick Wakeman born in what it will become the living legend in music. Styles are still mixed, ranging from classical inspirations, female choir and classical piano style interludes which bonds the pop-rock structures together, special recommandations to track Jane Seymour (electronic organ interpretation), and a good inspiration from Bizet’s Carmen opera on Catherine Howard timecode 3'56" of the piece.
The first masterwork, with classical orchestra, rock band, choir, soloists, synths and a storyteller, which really had reach the heart of the listeners all around the earth. Many classical oriented styles are intermixed with different rock colours, amazing female choirs, science fiction atmosphere and sound effects, the ending has a nice inspiration from Peer Gynt, The cave of the king of the mountains. (track 4 second part)
For some reason unknown to me Rick himself is much too negative about this one. OK it's no Six Wives, King Arthur or Journey but it grows on you as you play it more often.
The more I listen to this album, the more I realize how far ahead of his time he was back in the 70's. Solid from top to bottom White Rock to Ice Run, this I think, was the most underrated album Rick released on the A & M label. Who would have thought back in 1976 that Rick would grow into being a Grumpy Old Rock Star?
For me, a really super collection of piano tracks. Mix between Rick and Adam compositions, the tracks flows really nicely, with Adam Numbers in a more relaxed way, and with OUTSTANDING melodys in Rick´s tracks. One of me and my family discs, to share while we´re together.
Absolutely love this DVD. Have had the pleasure of listening to a bootleg from Sao Paolo on the same tour(my all time fav boot!) and this DVD have all the good songs.
I'd like to say I am just posessed by this "music of the spheres". The album sounds absolutely perfectly with the great rhytm section and lovely motifs... Brilliant vocal. I feel the mystery of the universe every time I listen to the album. It is too unusual but I enjoy it restarting again and again. Rick's music call me to the new horizons in my life. Wish his lyrics were printed for being Ukrainian I can not catch words...
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Caroline Locke on 20th August 2008 [Other reviews]
Fantastic orchestration.The first track is so powerful it bring tears to my eyes everytime I listen to it.I bought it in the early Eighties.I have loved Rick's piano playing since 1976.I sincerely believe that Rick is a musical genius.
A great intro to Rick’s most successful, prolific and creative era and an easily accessible recommendation for the Wakeman newbie. Only down side is that should be a 5CD box set containing absolutely everything from ’73-’79. Now that would be SWEET!
What can be said that hasn't been said? This is possibly one of the greatest compositions of all time. A dark aura surrounds this recording. Synth-lovers, you're in for a treat. There's something for everybody in this. I am a guitarist and enjoy every movement of this great piece of work. Thank you for your hard work, Rick!
This is the album I have been waiting for a long time. I can well remember asking for the possibility of an album like this in the website Q&A back in 200? - yeah, long time! I can also imagine very well that it must have taken many hours to make those keyboards work properly (well, more or less), but they sound fantastic! And you can actually hear that those songs have been written especially with those keyboards' sounds in mind - only the production, crystal clear - contrary to the overproduced and heavily compressed "Out There" - is far from Retro, but that doesn't bother at all. Going further in detail (spoilers alert) I really liked Rick's musical quotes from his past: the Mellotron line from "Heart of the Sunrise" in "One in the Eye" (great title!) or the Mini Moog line at the end of the solo of "Men in Suits" originally from "Merlin The Magician". "Leave The Blindfold" is a superb lo-fi synthi-pop song with great vocals from Jemma Wakeman. Generally Rick once and for all proves that he is the Master of the Mellotron!!! But we knew that, didn’t we? Okay, enough said. To cut things short: Go out and buy this album!
Despite Rick's misgivings, 1984 really isn't all that bad. There are moments, especially in the Overture, when the band rocks harder than I've previously heard on a RW album and, on the slower tracks, Rick's capability for sweet and delicate music really shines through. Agreeably, Tim Rice's lyrics (and his quirky vocal on "The Proles") are among the album's high points. More importantly though, the bulk of Rick's albums take several spins to grow on me, yet this one I liked right from the off. 1984 isn't a bad place to start for the RW newbie and, thanks to its recent re-issue on CD, it's accessible in more ways than one!
Best described as a high-energy trip down memory lane, reviving pre-digital technology and real drums. Personally I always loved the old synthesizers with strange-sounding names and that makes this album a big event in my book. Good songs and plenty of fantastic solos. Get in there!
Not a remake of the first Journey. It does hold true to the original format but the music itself is a whole new majestic work of art, with a star laden list of artists that develop it marvelously. Patrick Stewart’s narration, which is more involved than on the first Journey, adds to the overall depth and interest. If you like Rick Wakeman’s music, you will enjoy this album immensely. As ever, a musical work of this quality is rarely appreciated without a little effort from the listener too. Thank you for another wonderful album Rick!
Been looking forward to this for a while, after Rick played some of this on his successful Planet Rock radio slot on Saturday mornings. I can honestly say this album is one of his most fresh and 'new' sounding in recent years, which is ironic considering the keyboards used on this project. A perfect companion to Out There IMHO. 10/10 Great stuff.
I had to buy this album at the internet, because it’s impossible to find Rick’s recent works here in Brazil, like the new DVD 'Made in Cuba'. But that’s ok, it’s for a good cause. Very, very good album, which reminds me a lot old Rick’s works. The synths are great, just like the Mellotron and the Hammond Organ. Ashley Holt is better then ever, and the big surprise is the vocals of Rick’s daughter, the beautiful Jemma Wakeman! This album is certainly better then a lot of works that Rick recorded at the eighties. The first track 'Just Another Day' gets things off to a great start. The second, 'Mr.Lonely' has some aggressive , weird and distorted vocals with a great moog solo. This moog me reminds me science, I don’t know why. 'One In The Eye' is an excellent short instrumental work out, with a great bass line. The song is very similar to 'White rock 2' pieces. The synths with Mellotron are very nice. Fernandez is excellent here while Rick has plenty of fun. Classic Wakeman. 'Men In White Suits' starts with a nice slow symphonic introduction. The Mellotron is well used here before Holt takes over with his powerful vocals. Then another instrumental section follows that again is classic trademark Wakeman before Holt returns again. Not too much to dislike here. Good solid prog. 'Leave The Blindfold' it’s very quiet, with not too many solos and is ably sung by Rick's daughter Jemma. 'Waveform' is the second pure instrumental piece on the album. This track reminds me a lot the great album 'Rhapsodies'. 'Retrospective' is another quiet and dramatic song, again with vocals by Jemma. 'Homage To The Doctor' is a tribute to Bob Moog as you might guess. Crazy moog solos, that Keith Emerson probably will love. Rick does some brilliant soloing before Jemma and Ashley finish the track off with great vocals. 'Can You Smell Burning' starts with some Wakeman Hammond work similar to Six Wives, with a tiny Hammond solo. Tony Fernandez provides the oomph factor on the drums. Top notch instrumental. The album is finished off with 'The Stalker'. Holt sounds suitably desperate as he laments not being able to be with his true love. The lyrics are maybe a little on the Andrew Lloyd Webber side of things but it’s okay. For me , this album is a masterpiece. I ´d really like to watch Rick performing this tracks alive, with all the vintage keyboards and Jemma and Ashley singing. Highly recommended CD!
I liked Rick’s performance at this concert, but it seemed to be missing proper accompaniment. The solo piano is fine, but even though Rick may be "an octopus out of control", he still needs three or five other fish in the sea to paint a solid mural of music. "Birdman of Alcatraz" is beautiful as always, Rick is hilarious as always, those parts are solid. Good DVD for good fans.
Man! This one is fantastic! I just ordered this album from my local record shop and since then it's in my CD player all the time. This is Mr. Wakeman at his best, using all the analogue keyboards that were hidden in his vault for more than 25 years. Read the liner notes for more information on that. The very fat sounds of the old synths and keyboards dominate this album! I particularly like the solos in the opening track 'Just Another Day', the riff in 'One In The Eye', the lovely sung (by Mr. Wakeman's daughter Jemma) 'Leave The Blindfold' and the very 70s sounding 'Can You Smell Burning'? The band is doing a great job, the Mellotron's sound fine, and even the compositions are very nice, in my humble opinion. Here we are: one of the highlights in the entire RW discography!!!
Retro is a fully produced, fully realized prog-rock masterpiece with a proper band. Ashley, Jemma, and Rick himself take turns on the vocals. Rick plays only analog keyboards and they sound amazing. Retro has a great variety of material. There’s stuff that’s spacey, stuff that’s bubbly and exuberant, stuff that’s dark, stuff that’s very funny, stuff that’s epic, and stuff that rocks your socks off. And of course there are jaw-dropping displays of musicianship throughout. The running order is perfect resulting in a very satisfying listening experience from start to finish. The production is adventurous and Retro is one of the few recent rock albums that was actually mastered properly. It sounds crisp, clear, spatial, and dynamic. Bottom line: I consider Retro one of the greatest prog albums of all time. I hope it sells very well. It deserves to.
The whole concept behind 'Retro' is the vintage approach, using only modern recording techniques so that now we can enjoy Rick's most traditional form of music but with the benefit of 21st century recording quality. As for the music itself, it creates a strong enigma right from the off, rather in the same way as 'Out There'(2003) does, with a mysterious keyboard riff. There are many catchy keyboard riffs undertaken on much of the vintage line up, the best of which I noted to be in the tracks, 'Waveform' and 'One in the eye'. These are what it's all about, and confirm that Rick still has it as far as progressive rock is concerned. The youngest sound on the recording is that of Rick's daughter Jemma, who gives some sterling vocal performances alongside Ashley Holt, who consequently is well-known amongst Rick's fans from being in 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' (1974). In conclusion, if you've enjoyed any of Rick's previous albums you’re sure to find this a great listen. You've done it again Rick!
This is the album we have been waiting for! It is truly a trip back in time. It takes me back to the first albums right through to the latest albums with the keyboards from the golden days and the production and energy of now. Ashley Holt’s voice is in top form, and the (fantastic) voice of Rick’s daughter Jemma is really British and very gentle (on Leave The Blindfold), love it! And even though the album spans nearly 70 minutes, it leaves one wanting more, so putting your CD player on repeat, will give you the thrill of this album again and again. Rick mentions in the sleeve notes that this is a truly one off album, due to the condition of the older keyboards etc., but let’s hope he grabs one of them from time to time on his new albums to come! This albums bursts with an incredible energy, and leaves me wondering what it would sound like if Rick would guest play on an IQ album, because their styles are very similar. The tribute song for Bob Moog is a fitting one, it is not a sentimental slow song, but instead a rocker (Mr. Moog would have been proud). I can go on and on, but experience this CD yourself, you will not be disappointed! PLAY IT LOUD! (but be careful). Rick, you did it again, and please keep doing it! Out of 5 stars I give it 6!
EXCELLENT!!! SUPERB, masterly 70s Rick Wakeman returned!!!!!!! mixing the prog style in most of the pieces, and in the other the new Rick, it is superb, and interesting, old instruments but with the new sound quality of 2006, like if you were in the 70s with the 2006 technology, very original!!!!! excellent one to have!!!!
Right from the opening bars of Just Another Day you know this album is going to be special, yes its a step backwards to see further forward, excellent lyrics and vocals from Ashley simply add to this superb album, Boy o Boy would I like to see this album performed live but I'm sure due to Technical difficulties (gear all about 35 years old) alas not. No weak tracks here everyone a gem, even the slightly unusual "Leave the Blindfold". I’ve been a fan since Six Wives and this album simply reaffirms this. P.S. well done Jemma. Highly Recommended. A Homage indeed to the Dr…
For those have haven’t heard this album I thoroughly recommend it, especially if you miss those 'heady' 70's LPs. As with most Wakeman releases several plays are required to fully appreciate/take in what's on offer here and what's on offer is the best Wakey CD I've heard in ages; I don’t know if it's just me but I feel that Rick's dexterity gets lost 'in the mix' (or was it the production?) sometimes on the digital keyboard albums, if you know what I mean? On this CD the keyboards really sing - something I've really missed - prominent solos, not solos lost in the mix but ones that soar! Jemma makes an appearance on backing vocals and lead on 'Leave The Blindfold' The best way to describe her voice is as 'pure' very well trained and sweet. The only criticism that I could lay at the door of this CD is the occasional 'duff' lyric but I love this CD so much I can easily forgive its very occasional lyrical misfire...& as usual Ashley does a great job with the vocals, his voice has real character and presence. I nominate 'Can You Smell The Burning' as one of the most powerful tracks since those on the 'Six Wives' album - and that's saying something :-) Mr. Fernandez's live drumming is a treat on this CD - please Rick forget Drum machines in the future, there's no substitute for a real drum kit, it makes all the difference and really compliments the keyboard work.
While moving someone said to Rick Wakeman that he should make an album with those vintage (the youngest being 25 years old!) keyboards alone and immediately a new project was born. It is obvious that the album lives up to the title. While ‘Retro’ was being recorded synthesizer legend Bob Moog died and so Wakeman decided to write a song especially and a thankful tribute it is. 'Retro' literally is an old fashioned but very nice album that and I think there aren’t too many albums that are recorded with fire extinguishers on standby these days... (full review on www.yesfocus.org)
A superb album which inspired me as a young teenager, I listened to is so much I new all the narratives and vocals. So much so, it inspired me and I quoted some of the scripting in my English O Level and passed. Once heard never forgotten, thank you Rick, I hope you are not a crumpled heap of beer stained denim!
The Six Wives of Henry VIII is undoubtedly a classic and should be listened to by Progressive rock fans the world over. The Drumming in the second track is reason alone to listen to the album, and Rick's unique style of writing and performing sets it apart most prog rock outfits of the time. If you liked any of Rick’s other albums, or indeed, and early albums from Yes, you'll undoubtedly enjoy this one. It's a classic.
A great continuation of the "Aspirant" saga. New Age or New World electronic meditative music. 3 CDs. Each with one hour programme. All I had written about "Aspirant Sunset" I could repeat here. Musical landscapes. You could return to the places created by wizard Rick many times and each time you would find something new. Very mentally healthy, positive and clear music. Our crazy depressive world is in the need of it now. Rick, please, more of that cure... Some melodies sounds more impressive than music of "Sun Trilogy". "The Snow Leopard" reminds me of music from operas by Rimsky-Korsakov. If you are lover of ambient and new age, this album - is your choice. If you are an old rocker - well, try before sleeping time, may be you would like it, it’s good to try something new sometimes.
The "Rhapsodies" Album is the one with the Swiss "Matterhorn" (the one with the triangular shape) in the background of the cover. Inside of the double album there’s another nice panorama picture of the Swiss Alps in a great perspective. This is quite a lot of air... But when we listen to the music, we will find some nice adaptions of classic music as e.g. "Swan Lager". Rick interprets this theme real beautiful, in a way the synth neither exaggerates nor sounds stupid. The other, well known theme on side one is Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue". Here the lead melody, in the original a wooden clarinet, is synthesised with a Mini Moog, it seems as if the blues continues. This adaptation to me is a good example of what a synth can be used for, Wakeman has put a lot of energy in it; a masterpiece in technique. What else can be heard ? Well of course "Summertime" (again Gershwin) is a good opposite to all the cold electronic (and snowy mountains), - it’s getting warmer. This virtuoso Wakeman album has nothing from that massive "Yes" Sound, just a pure, electronic product of the category "rare & vintage"!
Despite Wakey's verdict "Please don't buy it", I like this DVD very much. I think it's too bad though, that I can't escape from the impression that parts have been deleted. As always, Rick's anecdotes are really funny (I especially liked the one about 'After the ball'). David Paton's guitar-work is sublime, specifically on Eleanor Rigby; truly a great instrumentalist! All in all, a very good buy (never mind what the grumpy old man thinks!).
A very creative and very good album, with very good pieces of music, a new concept to watch and hear. I imagine a new journey to the centre of the earth but with more technology and in the future. If you are very interested in good and strange, but very good things I recommend this to you - particularly I like Cathedral of the Sky.
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.
How does one describe such a seminal piece of music history? This album has been my all time favourite for many years and for many reasons. The six pieces of musical composition has everything, from the humour of The Breathalyser to the primeval gut wrenching emotion of Judas Iscariot. I defy anyone with a soul to listen to Judas Iscariot and not be moved. The sheer power of the Church Organ and choral vocals make the hairs stand up on your neck. This piece leads one through the betrayal of Christ and to his ultimate crucifixion, portrayed by the popular hymn 'there is a green hill far away without a city wall'. It ends with the moving music depicting Judas Iscariots suicide and his obvious angst and regret. I simply cannot hear this piece and not be absorbed by it. I can only liken it to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. It has that sort of power to evoke feelings of longing, of understanding regret. Quite simply moving. Conversely The Breathalyser makes one smile. The car chase reminds me of the old keystone cops music and the choice of Bill Oddie for the vocals is pure genius! The Birdman of Alcatraz is a wonderful piece, Rick accurately has depicted birds in flight so well. Those who know the story will easily recognise the dichotomy of a prisoner and the freedom of birds in flight. Take my advice...listen to Chamber of Horrors in the dark and imagine yourself locked in there after dark, that girl's scream makes me jump every time! Don't analyse this album by genre or even in comparison with Rick's other albums. Just get it! It is simply a work of pure genius. Thanks so much Rick for the many happy hours I’ve had with this masterpiece.
This DVD is a must have for two reasons: We all know how difficult it is to record a live concert. Technically this is one of the best live recordings of Rick and NERE ever made. A lot of camera's in the right places. Editing the pictures logically with the performance of all musicians. Excellent picture quality. And good sound. Not perfect sound, but hey, it is a live concert. Compliments to the makers. But of course more important, this has been a great concert. I envy those who could attend. The band was sharp as a slingblade. Timing was excellent, tempo changes made without any hickups. Everybody playing together as a band, supporting each other. But, most of all, having fun. Rick was playing with a glint in his eyes, clearly enjoying playing with such excellent musicians. And then to think that the rehearsal time for this short tour was very limited. What else to say? This is Rick Wakeman at his best. Sorry I wasn't there, happy that there is such an excellent recording available. If you like Rick playing live, this DVD is a must have.
This is an amazing album. Although some say the vocals were bad, I think they added to the overall appeal and mood of the song. The keyboards Rick played sounded great, and sinister at times. The different parts each lead to their own mood, and set the feeling correctly to their name. And the narration was superb. Highly recommended. (I just bought the 30th anniversary DVD!)
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Fernando Lantery on 24th September 2005 [Other reviews]
Absolutely amazing! Everything I like is in here, classic style music using a lot of harpsichords, medieval choirs, excellent piano works and a lot of amazing classics keyboards sounds, featuring vintage Moogs and Mellotrons very well interpreted. It sound very creative, there is a huge orchestra sounds with exotic instruments (like church bells), that only Rick has the audacity to use.
It is honestly one to have, it’s a little bit similar to Live in Buenos Aires DVD but with more passion, very good music and surprises, Rick did his best in that album!
I first heard this at a friends and spent ages tracking it down. It was, and remains my favourite album of all time, from anyone. The interplay of orchestra, keyboards, vocals all blend together to make an awe inspiring piece. Even the small errors and blips add to an atmosphere of excitement. Having heard it thousands of times I still find new bits here and there - it's an album you can never tire of listening to.
This album is made up of beautiful piano pieces. It is great album to listen to as you are lying in bed going to sleep at night. It is relaxing, peaceful and beautiful music.
Amongst his best. Classic vintage Rick sound. Beautiful, largely instrumental compositions. On side one Chris Squire plays bass and the combination is fantastic. Recorded while they were recording 'Going for the One'. Very Yes. Wonderful raw analogue synth sound and arrangements. Great piano as well. A must for fans.
The reason why I love this album is the music was totally unique and different, as well as the concept of the album. I am glad this album was not your regular Top 40 situation. I had to rethink the way I listen to music because when it comes to music there is no such thing as normal. Thanks Rick for opening my eyes and mind to unlimited possibilities for I play the drums.
This album has matured with age. Whilst I wasn't overly keen on some of the songs or singers in 1981, after 20 plus years, they can stand on their own. As such Chaka Khan is excellent, Hymn is pure Jon Anderson. Proles is a fun, if a bit of a throw away song.
In Rick's huge catalogue, there are incredible albums that are sadly not easy to find as his most well-known works. This album is one of them. African Bach is absolutely amazing. A song-cycle in rock style, that ranks among his greatest albums ever (rock or otherwise). The subject concerns the apartheid problem of South Africa (this was recorded in the late '80s) and thus receives a highly emotional charge that impacts the listener. In addition to Rick's band of the time, it includes an authentic South African choir that enhances the "African" subject and spirit of this work. Long time collaborator Ashley Holt is superb, just like Tony Fernandez on drums. "My Homeland", "Liberty" and "Brainstorm" are among the highlights. In short: Highly recommended. If you see it, don't hesitate: Buy it!!
For me, this album is great, it’s not in all albums of Wakeman that we find cool music like Montezuma's Revenge, White rock and The Shoot. They are very good, but Montezuma’s is terrific, it should be replayed, because Rick has never played something so simple and nice, White Rock is a big amazingly fast Moog solo, very funny at all, and The Shoot, its a very different music with incredible basses (synth basses) and a strong melody interpreted with a lot of different sounds, I think it should be replayed too! After the Ball is beautiful. Apart from that, I don't know what a piece like Lax'x is doing in this album, it’s very strange. The first eight albums made by Wakeman are incredible (except for Piano Vibrations that was not made by him, only interpreted, but it is good too) and this is one of them, everybody should listen to it!
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition DVD by Fendall Hill on 13th August 2005 [Other reviews]
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and well produced DVD with, considering the age of the footage, surprisingly good sound quality. Needless to say the musicianship of Rick, the band, vocals, choir and orchestra (except for the atrocious brass section) was brilliant! The renditions of Merlin and Anne Boleyn were a real highlight, and the hymn "The Day the Lord..." - Rick's lead-in and performance of that hymn always affects me personally more than any strictly sacred piece I know. The classical guitar is exquisite. I'd heard about the blow-up dinosaurs, but to see them in "action" made me laugh uncontrollably loudly. The "Lost Journey" documentary was real fun, as was the whole DVD.
Well, to be honest I like that DVD, it’s very calm and relaxing, if you want to be calm in the night and to relax a little bit, buy it, play it and that’s all!
A very good DVD, the new style, a wonderful duet (Adam, Rick), and the favourite and classic songs, I really love it, I recommend to you
I got this as a birthday present from my brother he thought he was getting revenge I loved Rick’s early work and I loved this as it was so quirky and I played it lots, often very loud just to annoy him. He's visiting me later I think I'll dig it out
Well, in my very own opinion I LIKE IT TOO MUCH!, In every pieces you can find the classic Rick Wakeman style!, and then well all the songs I like, especially Birdman of Alcatraz makes me cry, and Merlin the Magician, and I think it’s the best piano/keyboards album that I ever heard. Congratulations Rick Wakeman once again…
For me, this is one of the best of Rick’s albums. The music changes very much all the time to slow from fast, it’s confusing like Rick said, but it has a lot of different electronic sounds, a lot of good solos and the classic Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, that Rick made a fantastic version of. This album I recommend for all people that have heard The Six Wives and The Myths and Legends, it’s a very different type of music, but is very good.
A very, very nice but humorous application of synth sounds turned into music.
You would have thought that after 32 years Rick's work would have become rather samey and boring, in fact it's getting better than ever, this is without a doubt his best album to date. I bought this Album in Aberdeen whilst waiting for a train back to London, and what better way to kill 7 hours, but to listen to this album 7 times? I mean the classic combination of Keyboards, Drums, Guitars and Choir that we know so well from many of Rick's albums is back and better than we've ever known before, well done Rick, I take my hat off to you.
A beautiful piano release, full of emotion and passion. Wakeman's trademark melodic sound waves are evident and his expressions of sensitivity denote the maestro's personal views on a new era, a new beginning for the world and mankind. Preludes to a Century is an exquisite trait to the ear, but especially, the soul. This album is of particular personal significance for me because each time I play these songs to my adoring wife it helps me reach her inner musical sensitivities. The music on this album turned her into a serious Wakeman fan.
I found it, at the time, certainly very refreshing as music goes. It was nice to listen to music (an album) that was far away from the run of the mill (rubbish) that the charts were pushing out. From what I remember listening to, I thought it was well thought out as an album and the design of the cover certainly caught my eye!
Well it's all played on a piano - and a great sounding one at that! Some people may feel this is an album to have a "nap to" which is understandable and their prerogative - the beautiful melodies certainly do have a hypnotic quality to them at times. However, to just write this work off as another "chill out CD" would be to miss the heart of the album. In my opinion I have never heard a CD of songs played on a piano by Rick in which you can tell what is going on in that studio from the tips of his fingers right into his very soul. I have not heard another album of Rick's that is as musically honest and as open as this. I wish I'd found it earlier.
The Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a rather controversial album, on one hand you have the classical style, (the orchestra and choir) but on the other you have a one off album that can't be matched (well possibly by either Jeff Wayne’s 'War of the Worlds' or Genesis 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'). The imagery obtained from the story along with the playing of the orchestra and keyboard allows a mental picture like no other. The keyboard playing gives the music a 'certain haunting quality' which is only present in this and 6 Wives.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Col on 6th December 2004 [Other reviews]
I can never listen to this album without remembering that amazing gig at Wembley on ice. The orchestra all fall over trying to get to their positions, the skaters collided a couple of times ended on their arses. But behind it all the sublime music.
Having ordered this from RWCC, and asked for a signature, I expected this to take a while to come back, but it was faster than expected - about three weeks. I couldn't wait to stick it in the CD player, and boy was it worth the wait. The epic opening title track sets the pace for a superb album that Rick should be incredibly proud of. His band are, in a word, great, and the singer has a good range to his voice allowing the music to soar to incredible heights, without him sounding as if he was straining his guts out just to hit the notes (note Hammersmith Live CD, where the singer had to transpose the songs as he sang them). This is a really excellent package, and I can't wait to see them live.
Since a CD-Reissue has become available through Voiceprint in the UK using a different artwork though, this album has lost a little of its value being a sought after collectors piece. Nevertheless it is still extremely hard to find. I managed to pick up an original copy for £ 18.50, which is a very reasonable price, on eBay recently. Note that UK Polydor copies have a laminated sleeve! Honestly there is nothing special about this Album, except that Rick's playing the piano, of course. Yet, enough has been said about the music - except maybe for the surprising inclusion of Randy Newman's Yellow Man (I would have expected this from Van Dyke Parks, but not from John Schroeder!) or James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" (it's Piano Vibrations, isn't it?!). So - what about Dylan Vibrations? Is Rick on that one too?
Well, I think this is the most beautiful album in Rick's solo career. The atmosphere is incredible, with superlative vocals and music... Just listen to "The Prisoner" to understand what I mean…
This epic is marvellously composed. It actually inspired a dream for me. One word-BIG. If you look at the cover, you can't even see the audience. Ashley Holt is a wonderful vocalist, although Gary Pickford-Hopkins...is...struggling. I'm hopefully going to help arrange an excerpt for my school's marching band...BIIIIIG!
Whenever I cannot get to sleep, I play this one, and I will be in dreamland before the second track begins!! This is to my opinion one of the best works Rick has ever done! Musically it is of the same high standard as his 70's output, although the music is completely different, only choir and piano. A must buy for all who enjoy beauty, complexity and relaxation. And indeed because of the sheer quality this one should appeal to a much broader audience than Rick has ever experienced!!
I saw the concert in Rio back in ‘76 I already had the album, read Verne’s book. For a 12 year old surfer Wakeman’s long blond hair and his keyboards with the chorus and orchestra seemed to describe a fantastic voyage not to be missed, the perfect translation to professor Lidenbrook´s journey. I still listen to the album with my kids who surf as well.
A "creative" work? Yes. A "virtuosic" work? Yes. But, is it an "intelligent" work? Absolutely. Keep this in mind when sampling or listening to the whole album - contemplate the "mood" of each piece in relation to the actual history of Henry VIII and his wives. Each track exemplifies Rick's knowledge and understanding of the history of Henry's relationships. This is a highly "realized" album best described as "history translated into music." A welcome musical experience for anyone interested in British history, British royalty or diverse keyboard talent.
I had this for years and am still amazed at the work, especially on Journey. The entire work is one of the best live shows ever.
Forget Rick’s opinion! This is a wonderful album. Good orchestration, beautiful melodies, lyrics and vocals. The instrumental tracks are superb. Great songs! I remember how happy I felt when I first heard The Hymn and Julia on the radio because that period of time was very difficult for Walkman’s fans in Brazil, and this album gave us what we all expected. For me it’s the finest work since No Earthly Connection.
I wouldn't like to say this is the best compilation as there are other great ones as "Voyage" or "Recollections". But is definitely a great one. I'd like to start with "Light Up The Sky". This is a great song that you won't be able to get anywhere else as it was originally released as a single. ("The Bear" is another song from that single). I would describe it more as a "modern" compilation as it doesn't contain songs from the 70s ("Wives" & "Merlin" are live versions). This compilation covers the period of 1985-1998. This would be like a follow-up to "Voyage". It has songs from 12 different albums & the "Light Up The Sky" single.
Great album! Reminds-me a lot some hard rock, specially the track " Universe of sound",that sounds like Deep Purple or Nightwish. Rick should use a real Hammond Organ in " to be with you", but that´s ok. I wish I could listen "Out there" on a space station, looking to Earth.
Some of Wakeman´s albums are worth buying just for some of the tracks that are on them. Although some tracks are not really appealing to me, just having the pleasure of listening to "Gone but not forgotten" and "Twijj" is enough for buying this CD. I believe they are masterpieces and great examples of what Rick Wakeman is capable of (and famous for). True pieces of keyboard poetry!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Carlos Fernandez on 6th July 2004 [Other reviews]
The best gift in my life. Thank you, Rick.
The Burning I picked up in a music shop in Sutton Surrey in the 80's and it instantly was a masterpice as far as I was concerned. Their are two sides, one side with the music from the film - the other side is variations and shows Rick at his best on the improvising. I suppose the thing I love about Rick is his ability to imrpvise and make it better than the original and this is a classic example. Although Rick does not rate this as one of his great works - I beg to differ. If you can get hold of 'The Variations' then do, no true Rick collector should miss this track.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Live in Concert DVD by Vinicius Franco on 26th May 2004 [Other reviews]
Fabulous atmosphere and great music: an amazing show that translate all of Rick's qualities as musician and composer.
This is one of those albums where there are several guest vocalists, and your appreciation of the songs is largely dependent upon whether or not you like each vocalist. Chaka Khan has never been one of my favourites as I've always found her to be a bit undisciplined, but the others are good. Jon anderson always works well with Rick, as they are after all, both members of Yes, and Steve Harley does a brilliant guest spot, so you are more than compensated for Chaka Khan if you don't like her. The instrumental tracks are again, superb, and the finale is even more so. Even though the concept was all too quickly overtaken by history (it being released in 1981), the musical content carries it way past that, and it stands up as a great recording even now, twenty years after the actual "1984".
The high speed start of track one on this album is a bit of a surprise, and when it slows down, it is a bit of a releif. Rick himself is the first to admit that the piano used was a turkey, but my father (who is a fan of all things Wakeman orientated) thinks that this simply fits in very nicely with the concept of the title. There are a couple of real gems on this album, including "Gone but not Forgotten", which is really beautiful, and the closing track with Robert Powell narrating, but overall the consistency is not as good as with other albums. Buy it anyway, because it's a lot better than some stuff you'll hear elsewhere.
I first heard this album in 1982. It has the same effect on me now as it did then. It chills then it heats up. The keyboards are some of Wakemans best. I have started introducing my children to the Wakeman Album collection Mine is not yet complete, but I am working on it. My kids love the music and they have only heard clips from four albums.
I love this album. The first song with the vocoder stuff is music to my ears. I've always found it interesting to experiment with the human voice and electronics.
Just received the DVD in the mail today. It was a long wait, but worth it. This is a very unusual movie. It's one long video-clip for the album. In my opinion the album is already one the best in Rick's line of concept albums (frankly I like Return to the centre of the earth and 1984 the most), and this movie adds something extra. The movie is a kaleidoscope of images that support the music and add atmosphere. In no way the picture is 'louder' than the music. And that is a good thing. The surround sound is great. The extra behind the scenes comes with an interview with Rick and impressions of the live show last year. I would have liked more footage from these concerts, especially the performance of Ashley Holt, who was better than ever (yes, I have seen the show). Well you can't have it all and I have my memories. All together this DVD is a must have. It is a next step in enjoying music. Can't wait what will come next.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Clive Stitfall on 13th February 2004 [Other reviews]
My first LP. A lucky guess on my part based on hearing snippets of Yes at school. This was and remains a "classic" album and it's hard to pick a favourite track. Nearly 30 years on and I still can't listen to it without playing "air" keyboard. It's a rollercoaster ride through musical moods evoking images of each of the characters. If there's another album like this out there, let me know as I'd love to hear it.
That´s a funny and "weirdo" album, it´s very similar to Rhapsodies for me. Rick has a very strange voice, when I heard "Do you belive in faries?" for the first time I was shocked. All the tracks are very good, I really recommend this album!
Still the best! Rick's first three albums are his best three, and the first of them all is the best of them all. After all this time, this record is still unbeatable. Some say it has dated : if this is true, it isn't obvious. The sounds are still powerful, evocative, and varied; the playing is masterful; and the compositions are inventive. This solo album without vocals was a daring move which opened the door to some wonderful music. Musically (if not historically!) we could wish old Henry had had ten wives.
This album is not based on actual book or mythology and presents original concept by Rick Wakeman nicely described here by reviewers.It's also exciting to read Rick's perspective which I would like to share with very much. NEC represents to me one of the outstanding "cosmic records" which seems brave and progressive today as it was decades ago.It's opener is really an example of musical sound as the key to the other dimentions.Yet no one there "screams" about alien existance but takes you to the deeper reveries in melodic and enlighted way. While listening you can realise your self as a part of extraterrestial existance and expand the knowledge about your soul.
There's obviously no doubt about the greatness of the album! Thanks also for sharing with us the exciting Rick Wakeman story about how hard the true masterpiece was born. Trying not to repeat the things told in previous well-written reviews I only would like to add that it was probably the most famous Rick Wakeman recording here in the Baltic states of the former Soviet Union. And was the first I ever heard as a kid back in the 1980s. On this side of the "iron curtain" at the time you could probably find a few real vinyl LPs of "Journey..." in the whole of Lithuania. Many of us would tape it from each other, as I recorded it on mono cassette player from old mono reel-to-reel tape recorder by strong recommendation of my beloved cousin. It's hard to imagine how terrible the quality of sound was in our case. Somehow it didn't restrict the overwhelming impression we received and the feeling of the musical journey. In my opinion, the spirit of perfect melodies and performance is so strong that it breaks through any bad conditions and puts a good mark on the whole our lives.
The first true Rick's solo album is pure devotion to music. The piano play is great and the synthesizers are very mature... special attention to the Moogs, they've never sounded as punchy in other albuns as in this one. Jane Seymour is a true painting, you can almost see it when listening to the beautifully played organs. Catherine Parr is Rick's best song to me, so I'm not commenting on this one, just see for yourself. Catherine of Aragon has a very cool piano intro and very good Moog basses. It's a pity it's a short album (around 35 mins), but you will be pleased to listen to it. All the tracks are played with great emotion and passion.
Times may have been hard for Rick when this album was recorded but you would never have guessed it from sense of peace and tranquility that comes from these pieces of music. Forget the "New Age" tag that will probably deter a lot of people from buying this - this is superb solo piano music. No flash or bombast here - just Rick and a Grand Piano. The result is charming and peaceful - yet it reamins an involving collection of music unlike the usual insipid,Muzak wallpaper that you normally find in "New Age". Some of Rick's undoubted spirituality seems to shine through here too and this really is a record that you will find will refreshing and uplifting. It always makes me feel good! If you have not heard any of Ricks Piano works this is a superb place to start. Give yourself a treat and track this down You will not be disappointed.
For 17 years I've been wanting to get this album on CD, vinyl, tape, or whatever. I finally got a CD in Japan, which came in an LP sleeve including the roll-up sheet of reflective paper to see the visual effect from the cover. I truly love the music. I think Rick captured the meaning of the phrase "music of my soul" beautifully. Absolutely one of my favorites.
Very inspired piano by the maestro. Sea Airs is full of ambience and evoking pictures. Every song is so rich, melodic and melancolic. This work of art is one of Wakeman's best, yet most underrated treasures!
One of my favorite CDs from the maestro. It is full of musical textures, ranging from slow moody tempos to fast upbeat phrases. Wakeman's writing trademark abound in every song... slowly constructing melodic themes, then making variations and finally resolving each song with beautiful mastery. It was very interesting (altogeteher highly shocking) to read Mr. Wakeman's opinion on the album, which tells how big of a sensitive genius he is. Thank you for the music!
I just received this DVD in the mail 2 days ago and have watched it 3 times already. The video and audio quality are exceptional, and the band is extremely tight. There are a couple of camera miscues, and a few times that Damien Wilson's vocals could have been a little louder in the mix, but otherwise it is pretty flawless. The highlights to me are the opener "Lancelot"(which you don't see performed very often),"Merlin"(with the incredible dueling keyboards with rick's son Adam), and the closer "Starship Trooper". A must have for all fans!!!
An incredible album!!! I had only heard bits and pieces before, but not the whole CD until last week and it is awesome from start to finish. Patrick Stewart's narration really adds the sophistication to this piece it deserves, and all of the guest performances are excellent too, esp. Ozzy on "Buried Alive",Trevor Rabin on "Never is a Long,Long time", and Bonnie Tyler on "Is anybody there?". Also, "Dance of a thousand lights" is a powerful and moving piano tour de force with impeccable orchestration behind it. I don't understand why this album has received so many negative reviews(not on this site!!) I LOVE IT and highly recommend it-in my opinion much better than the original!
I puchased this at Rick's concert in Atlanta and recommend it to everyone, but esp. to those who will be catching the remaining concerts on this tour since it is one of only 3 available at the shows! For those of you who haven't heard the current lineup of the ERE-it is definetely a "heavier" sound esp. due to Damien Wilson's vocals and Ant Glynne's guitar-which are both excellent and spotlighted on this live recording from 2001. The updated versions of "Journey", "Jane Seymour", and "No Earthly connection/the prisoner" are better than ever, the version of "Buried Alive" really rocks hard, and "Starship trooper" features great playing by Rick, his son Adam, and Ant. The only thing I really missed was a audio version of 'Merlin" with the dueling keyboards of Rick and son like that featured on the DVD-I realize it is a different show apparantely. Overall, great production and mixing-all of the musicans are very tight. Great addition to your RW collection!
I loved every inch of this 12 inches of vinyl when I bought the original LP back in '73. I cannot understand why it was not well received at the time. This is an awesome classic and for me is still Rick's finest hour. It is timeless and for me listening to it a few times again recently it still sounds every bit as interesting and exciting as when I first heard it 30 years ago. Some of Rick's 80's music sounds dated now but not this. I just wish Henry VIII had married more wives! If divorce and marriage inspire him like this maybe Rick should consider an "Elizabeth Taylor" project.
Looking at the Italian sounding name on the cover of this made me think that we were in for something very classical sounding, and maybe even an operatic album. This is not the case at all. Mario Fasciano has a voice very similar to the Great 70s sound of PFM (anyone remember them?). This is a really good prog rock album, which interweaves the Neapolitan sound with rick's excellent keyboards almost as if the'd been working together for years. My old copy still gets played on my Radio Show regularly.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Alan Morgan on 23rd October 2003 [Other reviews]
Having heard Journey when it first came out in 1974, I was really eager to hear what Arthur held in store for us. The packaged Booklet was a joy to handle for the first time, and I anticipated the music with what can only be described as glee. Back were the vocal duo from the previous release, and in fine voice they were too. Every track on this has it's merits, but my favourites have to be the Opener, "Arthur" and the opening track from the second side, "Merlin". The spoken word finish, concerning the fate of Arthur was very moving, and I do wonder how much of that last statement is true. Arthurian Legend is one of my interests, and this is a very fitting musical tribute.
This album is exceptional from beginning to end. The individual tracks are strong musically with a good production. Some have said the guitar is too harsh but in my opinion the guitar is very fitting in the overall sound. I wish the drum sound was different with the exeception of 'To Be With You'. The vocalist is also fitting with the type of music. It is interesting to note the difference betweeen his performance here and the one on the 'Live in Buenos Aires' DVD. Mr Wakeman is still a brilliant songwriter and conceptualist. I hope he will continue to produce very adventurous music for our listening enjoyment.
(Japan LP sleeve) At last! Having waited nearly 30 years for another release of NEC, I'm delighted that time has not wearied this classic innovative RW album one whit. The compositions are tight and integrate earthy funk and ethereal, poignant melodies. Horns, choir and keyboards all blend together beautifully - nobody gets in the way of anybody else and it all comes together in a very listenable and musically satisfying collection. Rick has written and arranged the songs with great sensitivity and style. Brilliant.
I just bought the album here in Sweden, which is sort of rare, because Wakeman albums are usually pretty hard to find. Being a long time fan, I didn´t hesitate. The style did surprise me a bit at first, it´s much more heavy metal than previous releases. And there´s even guitar solos! It´s quite shocking actually, since the keyboards are usually in the mainframe. Anyway, the sound is crisp and sounds pretty modern, which is what I guess Rick was going for. The only thing I miss are the sudden changes in the music. Its a little too easy for a prog-fan to follow the songs because they have such a steady beat, except for cathedral in the sky, which is by far the best track. When I heard what the album was about, I envisioned a continuation of "no earthly connection", so I was a bit disapointed For my taste, it was just too much rock and too little classical. But those who like the heavier stuff will probably dig this.
Japanese remaster (24bit) Superb - thank you A&M for not doing it half heartedly - a treat for the long suffering fan, quality packaging (representative of the record) and absolutely first class sound. Wakeman at his mid 70's best.
This is a good album. It contains progrock with Christian lyrics. The music reminds me somewhat of "The gospels" and in particular of "Softsword". "Hymn of hope" is present here in a new version, and that song is quite representative of this album.
nother one of the quiet and gentle instrumental album, containing mostly piano music. Every other track is Adam's, like on the "Tapestries" album - the most obvious album to compare this one to. "Tapestries" is perhaps somewhat better, but not much. If you like "Tapestries" you'll like this one too. Esepcially the opening track is very good.
This is one of those albums that make you think: "What's the point?" This is not among Rick's major works. It sounds like diverse instrumental keyboard work which Rick has done quite similar and often better somewhere else. No songs are really very good, and not really bad either. This album remains anonymous and very easy to be totally indifferent about... It resembles perhaps albums like "Wakeman with Wakeman", "Zodiaque" or "Crimes of Passion" - although with a 90s sound.
Out of all the classic rockers who have harnessed the power of the digital versatile disc (DVD), none have been quite as prolific as virtuoso keyboardist Rick Wakeman. With a recorded legacy already bursting at the seams, Wakeman's extraordinary career has been faithfully documented over three recently re-released DVDs from Classic Pictures: Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, The Legend, and Live From Buenos Aires. Each disc takes full advantage of the format, enlisting comprehensive and flashy menus for track selections and a variety of ample sundries. Now that Wakeman is back on the frontlines with Yes, there has never been a better time to get acquainted with one of rock's most musically accomplished and charismatic characters.
Despite its somewhat primitive cinematography (even the director's assistant puts in a cameo), Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is a show to behold -- for historical reasons as well for an element of pure aplomb. Filmed on February 4, 1975 at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia, in front of 30,000 people, Wakeman, donning a cape no less, was on a mission to move mountains, adapting classic stories like the Jules Verne novel and wrapping them around progressive pretentiousness of the first order. The centerpiece -- which includes an early edition of the English Rock Ensemble along with the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Verdon Williams), the Melbourne Chamber Choir and a hip-looking narrator (!) -- is sandwiched in between selections from Wakeman's other two opuses: The Six Wives Of Henry VIII and The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table. . Together, they capture the pinnacle of the excessive passion and artistic ambition that Wakeman unabashedly gushed forth. Packaged with a CD from the very same performance (just in case the television is on the frits) Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is an intriguing spread for the curious and fans of old. Younger people might think the whole thing is a complete farce ala Spinal Tap. But hey --it was entertainment back then.
Fast-forward 25 years and The Legend finds the master in a completely different setting. Filmed within the intimate confines of Marlborough College in Marlborough, England, Wakeman goes it alone, playing favourites, Yes and Beatles covers and classical pieces tempered with witty banter to boot. While it occasionally meanders into a sort of new age haze, watching Wakeman work the crowd as a performer, showman and player is an amazing and invigorating spectacle (he puts a whole new spin on nursery rhymes). Six additional audio-only songs fill out the DVD. Among these is an instrumental version of "Morning Has Broken," the Cat Stevens hit that Wakeman originally embellished as a hired hand. The DVD also includes an all-inclusive biography and a delightful pictorial chronicling the musician's multi-layered occupation. The bonus CD replicates the concert and includes an extra track, "Merlin the Magician."
Live From Buenos Aires finds Wakeman accompanied by the newest edition of the English Rock Ensemble for a lively 2001 concert at the Gran Rex Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Offering the best of the three, in terms of quality audio and video, the concert covers the gamut, along with a strapping crack at "Starship Trooper." Even as some of the band members seem mildly out of place, Wakeman's son Adam is a chip off the old block when it comes to holding his own as a keyboardist Aside from the random sampling of songs, the DVD's other redeeming quality may be the reaction the band gets from its South American audience. Elsewhere, Wakeman's own "Behind The Music" piggybacks the extras section while the package is bundled with the obligatory CD. The Official Bootleg, as it's called, is a crude sounding recording from July 1997 that mischievously makes the whole experience worthwhile. Clearly, these reissues have left no stone unturned.
This disc has much to recommend it. The construction of the songs is perfect Wakeman. "Rope Trick" is a good thump of fun, and the title track is one of his best bits of pop-song writing. The whole project might have come across better without the drum programming. Where was Tony Fernandez?
This is an outstanding album, "The Room (brainwash)" for me is one of the best things Rick has ever composed! I also liked the band of the album, I don't know why Rick didn't like them. The track "1984" teaches anyone how to compose progressive rock music, and at the end there is something like a circus sound. "Julia" is the most beautiful song and for me Jon Anderson should sing "Robot Man", Chaka Khan sometimes is singing too loud. Rick should play "The Room" in his shows. Please Rick!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Allan Minder on 22nd August 2003 [Other reviews]
A true masterpiece! This unique combination of orchestral and progressive has to be heard to be believed. Some of his leads will remind you of his rockin "YES" years. This definitely has Rick's signature synths on it! A "MUST HAVE"
I'd just like to say a few words about this latest release, or should I say word...WOW... this has got to be Rick's best since the seventies (IMHO). As a keyboard player myself, I can only say that the drawbacks are the choice of synth sounds, however, what a brill moog solo 8 mins in on the main track!! Don't stop Rick.
I have always found difficult to classify Rick's music. It's a melting pot of classical, progressive, jazz and other genres. This album is no exception. Rick shines above the rest and consolidates not for his technique or exuberant live playing, but for its composition. I don't have any musical instruction, but "coherent" is the word I can find to describe the album. How the music relates to each of the Criminal Record themes... Do yourself a big favour in life and rent Scorsese's Last temptation of Christ movie, and then go listening to Judas Iscariot once more (with a subwoofer). If you don't cry or feel any goosebumps, you are already dead!! Do the same with The Birdman of Alcatraz, I think it's Burt Lancaster playing Stroud. Great movie too.
This is probably the best album Rick composed at the 80´s.He doesn´t uses amazing sounds at the keyboards,but the atmosphere of the songs is very interesting. The most beautiful one is "Man´s best friend", that you can listen and think how you like your dog, if you have one. The style of the album reminds me a lot of Brazilian rock from the 80´s. I just don´t understand why some people doesn´t like this album!
"The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams" is a beautiful set of modern classical pieces for piano & choir (with a little keyboard added here and there). The lengthy tracks are prime examples of Rick's unique compositorial and arranging gift & ability - still you can hear influences from Bach or Haydn to Gershwin and Philip Glass, if you like. In times of "Crossover", Bocellis, Brightmans, ERA and Bonds or even Kennedys, this album could easily reach (want it or not) a large audience - then again it's of course by no means "pop". So if you like modern classical music or you're simply looking for a new way to relax(it works!) you should definitely give this album a try. Completists need it anyway. Oh, and before I forget: order it through the RWCC-website, couldn't find it anywhere else on the internet - pity.
This album is a mix of a classical, jazz and fusion with a rock twist. If you are deeply into instrumnetal music, this is the album for you. Great compositions all the way around with what I think is a genius concept.
Bought my first Wakeman in '74, being 20 years of age. That was Six Wives of Henry VIII. Already collecting YES, Purple, ELP and the likes, when this music crossed my path, and I fell in love instantly. Over the years I bought every new album up until '79 and then I stopped for some reason. Rediscovered Rick in '03, with Return etc. Boy, did I miss out on a lot of beautiful stuff. This album is a masterpiece, and every time I listen to it, I discover something new. Have managed to collect about 25 albums I missed so far. Thanks Rick, for giving us so much joy, I hope you live to be a hundred in good health.
Really one of the greatest contemporary albums, and the saying "the more I listen, the more I like it" suits here well! Recently I was very much into research about the Hollow Earth (which is represented widely and very colourfully on internet sites). You will find it amazing, inspiring or at least tantalizing; satellite pictures showing possible holes on both Earth poles (well, don't be so quick to reject :), inner sun, thoughts on Aurora Borealis, tales from Tibet or Mt. Shasta USA; All the sources have in common the theory about life underground even cities, one of the most "well known" of is Shambala; If it all could be taken at least as a metaphor, you will read positive stories or philosophical gems on peace, love, nature, care and harmonic society, or who knows, maybe you will spark to go to explore the mystery, as Rick Wakeman did, to inspire us, would you let me put it like that. Lying on a carpet with the amount of internet papers and maps all around I was listening to the Music - the first Journey and the Return - and it's like travelling without the body moving... till the words that fells deep inside - "...Time within time, dream within a dream"... While listening I surely wonder to my self how our dear Rick is familiar or interested in Hollow Earth theories today, but it's not the most important because the music speaks for itself. I only know (but have not heard) the other album called Agartha by Miles Davis which is some how connected to this theme (Agartha is the name of the underground kingdom in many myths and legends). I also dare to say that the Return To The Centre Of The Earth is an even more philosophical and poetic album and if someday Rick will open the doors of sound and discover the long lost cities of the ancient wise ones the Agartha kingdom, then that would be a great sequel of the story by the only composer who has spiritual keys to do this! [well, it's not a suggestion, just a personal thought; though if someone has interest in the fields mentioned above I'd be glad to name the websites]. Lukas Devita, Vilnius, Lithuania (Oriental dept. of the National Library)
This is a very nice album - and quite a pleasant surprise for Strawbs fans. The songs are good and melodic and the entire album is quite pleasant and relaxing. A must for all Strawbs fans, and also an album Rick fans should buy. (I had looked for it some time when I suddenly found it in the record shop under "H"... Someone in the shop obviously thought there was a band named Hummingbird who had just released an album called "Wakeman & Cousins"...)
I had read all these ecstatic reviews of this album, and by all means - it IS a good album. But is it really THAT good? "The cathedral in the sky" is a glorius triumph, however, and quite obviously the best track on the album. It sounds like a cross between "Judas Iscariot" and "The last battle". This is Rick at his best. The rest of the album is generally good but not truly great. They pass by more unnoticed. But "The cathedral in the sky" would make this album worth the money all by itself, so there is no doubt that Rick fans should buy it.
After not listening to any of Ricks work for over a decade I saw a selection of newish CD's in my local store. I can only say that I am glad I bought it. Since then I have seen him live (Out There Tour) and two weeks ago YES. This is Rick doing what he does best, play superb rock-keyboards - the vocals are great, and this album should be a must for any listeners new or old to Mr Wakeman. 10/10
Classical mainstream prog-art-rock album. One of the best albums of the 90s. It starts with remake of Yes song "Starship Trooper". Romantic and emotional "The Promise of Love" follows it (with very beautiful keyboards party). After that - instumental "Spanish Wizard" (with acoustic guitar party)... It`s not a concept album, but Rick very well harmonized the sequence of songs, so you would listen to this album as a single piece of music. And the spirit of this album.. A kind of new beginning for Rick. Very optimistic. It seems that music were written by experienced craftsman (but still young and a little bit naive). By the way, if you are starting your acquaintance with Rick - this album would be a good choice. In this case I also recommend you "Six Wives of Henry VIII", "Journey" and "Return to the Centre of the Earth".
There's really only one word to sum up this album - STUNNING. Beautifully recorded with everything sounding bright and lively.Caesarea is one track that proves the point showing off Rick's classical training and ability to blend in a modern tempo in the same piece of music. This should be considered a real Wakeman masterpiece - it's simply gorgeous and I never get tired of listening to this, and all the other tracks. Paint It Black could have been left off in all honesty becuase Rick really shines through best when the music is written by him, rather than a cover version of someone else's material.
Whilst a huge fan off all Rick's early, I haven't been a devoted follow for years. So naturally with the huge number of releases many have slipped by me. The last few years have been devoted to remedying that situation. Amongst the "new" discoveries is Cirque Surreal. Any what a find it is! If you like vintage Rick and all the great synth sounds, melodies and generally mind blowing playing, then get this album. Some stand out tracks for me Gnash, Wired for sound and Juliet. The whole band is a tight as all heck with precision playing throughout. Some pretty good guitar from Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith and the vocals from Chrissie Hammond (not all tracks) are superb. All in all a great Wakeman album.
Just beautiful serene solo piano playing inspired by the obvious natural delights of Britain.
Very much in the same vein as Heritage Suite - I think Rick's catalog has a bit more in this style, such as Country Airs. Back to the point, beautiful inspired solo piano. This album really delivers to its theme. Sailor songs could easily be trite and cliche - not here. Tracks like The Pirate are trully evocate of the subject matter. Currently has a permanant place on my desktop. So I think it's fair to say there are a number of styles that Rick plays in 1) Rock synthy, concept album (GREAT), 2) melodic solo piano (GREAT), 3) the odd 'bum album' - if only my best could equal his worst! 4) religous - haven't quite come to grips with that and 5) Choral (like the Wizard... which hasn't grabbed me yet) Sea Airs falls into category 2 and is must have!
Out There is the best album Rick has unveiled over the last years and I suppose it's everything the fans were waiting for. The album is energetic, cohesive and musically very strong. More than a solo effort, it's a band album, and Rick is at service of the music, synths and guitars many times running together and fighting for room. As for ERE, throughout the album they are brilliant and incredibly tight. The title track is an epic of the best vintage and with the tempo variations and choir that comes in to add the classical element, it can be considered as equal to Journey and Arthur. Apart from that, halfway the end of the piece there is a synth solo (Moog, I dare say) which is to absolutely die for. "The Mission" keeps the high vibes and presents Rick on a solo organ that takes me back to the seventies and I just loved it. (Apart from Rick and Keith Emerson, is anyone out there – no pun intended – still messing around with Mini Moogs and Organs?) Tony introduces "To Be With You" and this piece has a sentimental mood. Again the chorus is present and it fades away leading the end of the song. "Universe of Sound" is breathtaking and it also presents very good solos, but there are strong echoes of "Never is a Long Time" from "Return" casting a shadow on some parts of it. On the foreword, Rick explains that the Album's writing started more or less 5 years ago, let's say circa 1997. "Return" was recorded in 1998 released in early 1999; so it's possible that "Never is a Long Time" has the echoes of "The Mission" instead. Nonetheless, the similarities are evident. "Music of Love" is strong and intense and here the keyboards conduct the piece along with the guitars. By the mid of the piece Rick throws a solo that if this song is ever played on stage, I'm sure it would be extended and it would be really something. Having read other reviews whilst awaiting the arrival of my CD from Amazon I had high expectations about "Cathedral of the Sky" but I have to say I was disappointed with it, because all the right elements are there, church organ, choir and Rick, but the opening riff which is repeated throughout the piece is rather corny and does not correspond to Rick standards (Yes, I can hear the moans and groans, but I had to say that). Probably productions costs prevented the use of a real church organ, and the result is that it sounds a bit synthetic. Anyway, this is a great album and for the reasons above mentioned I give it 9 out of 10. It's 100 per cent prog rock (I've read this elsewhere) and highly recommended not only to the fans, but also to everyone who loves great music.
One of the best albums I`ve ever heard, and in my opinion, the best in all of Wakeman`s discography. A ¨must have¨ for every music lover. A masterpiece from the very beggining to the very end. Wakeman really take us in this journey, the way he can manage to blend the keyboards with the orchestra to create this almost surrealistic experience is fascinating. Thanks Rick
After the opening synth-chords, the music just flourishes. Great vocals from Ashley, terrific playing from the band, and a superb concept. I used to use the opening chord as a demo when I used to sell HiFi speakers in the early 1980's. Brilliant.
It`s a piano album, without electronic keyboards. New Age? May be, because music is elegiac and a little bit melancholic. But melancholy here is very light. "The Sad Dream", "Twightlight", "Night Owls"... The music fits the titles. Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, even Satie - you could find here influences from different epochs of piano classic music But it`s not that academic serious - here`s Rick! There`s no agression feelings in this music, and it is easy to listen to it. If you are lover of classical music - it would be intersting to compare Rick`s taste with your own. If you are true rock fan - may be this disc would be for you a door into the realm of classic music.
A consept prog-rock album, historical topic. If you`re starting to listen to Rick`s classics - "Travel to the Center of the Earth", "King Arthur" - you should prepare for a long orchestrated songs. This album much softer (without losses of quality of music). It`s very interesting how Rick with the help of only horn player imitates Baroque orchestration in the first song - "Magna Charter". Every Rick`s album got his own mystery. Mystery here is "After Prayers", probably the best Rick`s lyrical song. Meditative bluesy ballad with emotional vocal by Chrissie Hammond and beautiful organ party (I think it`s Hammond organ). Emotional and spiritual final song "Hymn of Hope". Do you need more words?
White Rock was my first Rick’s album and in spite having got it nearly twenty-five years ago, it’s listening still arises powerful emotions. Luckily enough recently I’ve laid my hands on a CD version (Thanks Mr. Bartosik)because the original Album was completely worn-out. The main theme is a never-ending solo, played full steam ahead and it’s a perfect example of Rick’s dazzling dexterity with the Moogs. Searching for Gold is pure and delicate whilst The Loser and After the Ball blend together Steinway Grand Piano and electronic keyboards with a result which is beyond words. The Shoot is energetic and Lax’x surprises with all its variations of sounds and directions. Ice Run closes the album, and starts in an introspective mood that towards the end changes to a rocky organ. Needless to say, here and there on Side One, there are some fine touches of Choir, just for a good measure. According to Rick’s words on his autobiography (Say Yes), the album was a blend of synthesized rock and acoustic melodies and it got excellent reviews at the time. The success wasn’t by chance though. In spite of not being a super-production like the epics Journey to The Center of The Earth and King Arthur, White Rock has an atmosphere and textures of sounds and melodies that are unique and thus wonderful.
It's a classical New Age Album. While listening to Suntrilogy (of course not while you driving a car, but probably at the end of the day) you could imagine yourself riding your battleship through "The Sea of Tranquility" or (far from the city) hearing "Whispering Cornfields". The music would help you to relax, to keep the warmth in your soul (and so it would help you to live). Here Rick works like a landscape painter (say J. Turner). You could return to Suntrilogy (like to paintings of Turner) a week, a month or even a year later and catch something new.
Don’t believe all negative reviews. Make your own choice. It’s a must. Because the album contains one of the best instrumental things Rick ever written - "Alpha Sleeps". If any person would ask: "Who is Rick Wakeman?" I’d get him to try this track. Here well-presented and well-balanced all elements of Rick’s music: melody, art-rock, electronic keyboards, virtuoso playing, influences of classic music. "Alpha" is a soundtrack to good science fiction or fantasy book. Another hit here is "Spy of 55". Very optimistic music, written with a good sense of humour.
Very unusual record. Imagine: Milt Jackson and Modern Jazz Quartet finished their work and left the studio. Here comes Rick and Tony. They listened to MJQ and they began to play, but they did something different. It’s a jazz record not in style of music (let’s call it instrumental art-rock with a little touch of New Age), but in another sense: the album is a kind of dialog between keyboard player and drummer. It seems that not many overdubs were made there. And the mood in this record is a little bit darker than usually on Rick’s albums.
What a performance! I always thought that Keith Emerson had "the fastest hands in West", but now I've got the impression that Good Ol' Rick beats him to it! Tony Fernandez's percussion solo in Anne Boleyn is truly amazing.In my opninion this DVD shouldn't be missing in any true Wakeman fan's collection. Supertastic!
Out There is clearly Ricks' best album in recent years. Reminiscent of certain previous epic albums yet rooted firmly in the present, the album reaches epic symphonic proportions in the opening track. If any criticism can be levelled at it, I guess it must be that the heights reached in the opener are rarely reached again until the last track. That is not to say that the intervening tracks are weak in any way, though I do find that they seem to be'full on',insofar as they don't allow you to mellow. I would love to see this presented live, where I am sure the dynamic of this music would be better justified.Come to Newcastle Rick! why are you not? The production does, at times, minimise the virtuosity of the keyboard and guitar solos as they blend into the mix. A common fault with digital recording and production. You don't get to hear those beautiful MiniMoog filter sweeps in all there richness.That said, the album explores the source of music. How is it that we are literally moved to experience emotion, and so much more, by this strange thing we call music... or sound? Where does it come from? Ricks'lyric doesn't try to impose an answer, merely embellish the question, and, in so doing, leaves the listener to explore their own 'music soul'.Perhaps there was a time when Rick might have alluded to the rather specific answers to these questions, to be found within the the ancient Hermetic writings and other 'myths' from an ancient pre-christian era,which state that the universe itself, and all that is within it, is literally created and structured around a form identical to that observed in music theory.Conducted by God. As a scientific researcher myself, I must add that I have found nothing to persuade me that those ancient theories are wrong in any way.But Rick seems to be suggesting that music is of, and from, God (in the Christian sense) and is not therefore to be questioned, merely experienced. Whether one agrees or not with that 'hands off' philosophy, one thing is clear from this album. Rick is heading back towards his own 'music soul' and his ability to write epic themes and symphonic rock is still there, as good as ever. Wherever it comes from! A great album, and, I wouldn't mind betting, he is going to build on this in the near future.
For me, this is the best Wakeman album ever. I first made contact with this one after I heard Six Wives, back in 1979. The style portrayed in Criminal Record overpasses what he accomplished before. It's incredible how can a man can display such hability and pureness on keyboards. Rick really becomes keyboards in this album. I've tried to find it again in Mexico, but it's been very difficult. Thank God, I have a good copy that one of my friends (a Wakeman fan also) gave me two years ago. From the beginning with Statue of Liberty to the end with the breath-taking Judas Iscariot, Rick portrays his true feelings and concepts about instrumental music. Long live Mr. Wakeman!!!
If 'Orisons' draws heavily on 'Prayers' then this album draws similarly on 'In The Beginning'. Like it's sister album 'The Word And Music' has a meditative quality that will immediately appeal to those with a leaning towards the spiritual side of life. In this instance the narrations are all Bible Readings, read by Nina. For the Bible Scholar out there, they are taken from the Cambridge Daily Reading Bible, which means that they are well suited to reading aloud The subject matter deals with well-known character, Moses, Noah, Daniel etc and the setting of these tales against the backdrop of Rick's subtle yet effective keyboard work makes this a compelling listen, As I believe both 'Prayers' and 'In The Beginning' are now deleted these two albums are excellent value for just a fiver each.
A brilliant album, with a lot of sound like Yes (of course) and Black Sabbath (Specially the vocals). Fantastic combinations between synths and vocal choir and fantastic guitars. If I should compare this album with other Wakeman albums, I think it sounds like Return To The Centre Of The Earth, 1984, "Journey" (the original version of 1974) and No Earthly Connection in a good combination. Five out of five stars.
You'll probably all know that Rick's big break before joining Yes was spending a year with The Strawbs. He made one full studio album and one live album whilst a member and, I think, contributed to Dave Cousin's solo album. To hear that Rick was making a new album with Dave after many years was great news, and the finished product does not disappoint. Dave Cousin's voice is unique - and I can certainly understand that some people don't like it. But believe me, the songs on this album will send shivers down your spine, they are that good. And Rick is certainly on form. Just listen to the keyboard solo that occupies the last minute of the opening track "The Young Pretender". To me this is the best Rick has sounded for many years. If you've not been sure about buying this album, please do: I know you'll like it!
This album sounds like Rick summing up the 80s - as well as taking a quick look back at "No earthly connection" from the 70s. The album features typical 80s instrumentals from Rick and songs sung by Ashley Holt, Chrissie Hammond and Ramos Remedios. The fact that these three singers all appear, makes this album sound a bit like a "greatest hits without the hits"-album. (Quotation: Bob Dylan). The album summs up the Ramos Remedios era, as well as the Chrissie Hammond era. The Ashley Holt tracks reminds me very much about the "Cost of living" / "1984" period. This album contains some very good tracks, like for instance the last two, but it can also be a bit too much to listen to the entire album. Programming can be a good idea to avoid losing interest along the way. The 90s was a period when Rick Wakeman sometimes seemed to prefer quantity to quality... (Who else would release ten to fifteen albums a year?) This has improved from "Return to the centre of the earth" and onwards.
I'd like to review the new Rick Wakeman CD 'Out there'. The CD in my mind is a good mix of old and new 'Wakeman' in my view this is one of his best to date. The superb vocals of Damion Wilson compliment this wonderful Rick Wakeman music score. If I had to pick one track above all others it would have to be track 3, 'To be with you'. Its words are simply wonderful and reflective in nature. Track 6 'The cathedral of the sky ' is also a great track to finish a great album. Well done, Rick. 10 out of 10.
"Journey to the Centre of the Earth" was the first Rick Wakeman I acquired - it was a present on my 13th birthday and I'm now 40! I won't lie and say I was a Wakeman fan then; I was a Jules Verne fan (much more exciting that that Harry Potter stuff that kids have to put up with these days!!). But my love affair with Rick (oo-er missus!) started on that day and my collection has continued to grow ever since. When I first heard about "Return to the Centre of the Earth" I was very excited. I had visions of it being a remake a la Mike Oldfield and "Tubular Bells" 2, 3, etc.: basically the same tunes but done in a more modern style. I was hugely disappointed when I first heard "Return". I wanted long suites of music not a group of songs on a theme. And that narration! Too long, too dull! I liked some of the songs but was not impressed by the whole package. Now a few years on I've rediscovered this album. I still don't like the narration but the music ... Wow, what was I thinking? Rick's work with the orchestra on this album is what Yes's "Magnification" should have sounded like (just imagine what it would have been like with Rick on board). Just listen to those songs - Ozzy, Justin Hayward, Trevor Rabin: all absolute masterpieces. And the interplay between the keyboards and the orchestra on "The Kill" is truly incredible. So Rick - sorry for doubting you. Great album, and a lesson learned - it's always worth going back to re-evaluate something you don't like. Right - where's my Jule Verne book?
To paraphrase the infamous office poster : you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy this - but it helps! Orisons draws heavily on the previous album 'Prayers' and opens with the beautiful 'A Wish' from 'The New Gospels'. The title itself is actually an old English term meaning 'Prayers' and, like the aforementioned release, 'Orisons' brings together a collection of prayers, some from The Bible, others from great theologians like Martin Luther and Francis of Assissi and even one by Rick's Great Grandfather. All are set to appropriately ambient music and are narrated by Nina, Mary Hobdell and the Bishop of Sodor and Man. Like it's partner album 'The Word And Music' this is going to appeal mainly to Rick's Christian fanbase but I think that it's meditative quality would be enjoyed by fans of some of his new age stuff too.
Yes - It´s it. When You reflect what might be the best Album or piece of music you ever heard - you will of course make no decision. But there are some things that will come out every 5 years. So I wonder what´s been going on in his mind - the mind of the creator of f. e. Music Reincarnate. Variations on only that 5 Notes - ascending or descending - will hammer you a concept in your mind - I don´t know if Rick has had really this concept of consequent variation. But I think developing such a cycle of so different pieces of music, based on a little five-tune-theme, can be named almost classical. My Favorites: In 1978 I was surely first impressed by Judas Iscariot (Tr. 6) but soon I found the Birdman of Alcrataz (Tr. 4) - You can hear each single Bird out of one overdubbed Piano - just MUSIC HISTORY. But then you go into the Chamber of Horrors (Tr. 3) - for me one of the greatest and most dramatic pieses of music ever composed - very breathtakin, anytime you listen to it - imagine there is no vocal on it - But you can feel the story so real! But when you know the record intensively you´ll discover there is an Opener - Statue of Justice (Tr. 1). There will never be another Intro. The tunes get introduced - there´s a wake up - and then you an imagine what means the Word: to compose. (Wasn´t it the Year of Awaken Mr. Wake.man?) It´s a Composition. I´th ONE composition - the whole Album. Probably one of the best. Wish similar came out today !!
Note, published as received
I have received the CD yesterday from RWCC and haven't stopped listening to it since. In my opinion it is the best Rick has recorded since "Criminal record". It is a truly epic work in the tradition of Rick's 70's recordings, but without the extravaganzas (or should I say pomposities ?) that sometimes went in the way in some of Rick's earlier albums. Here the compositions are more focused on the concept of the album. Rick does wonders on keyboards as usual, but in a more "restrained" way than on some earlier albums. No showing off here, just virtuosity at the service of the music, with some of the best keyboard parts ever written by Rick. The ERE also shines here, with a very tight performance. Definitely a "must buy". With great expectations too for the forthcoming DVD.
In my opinion this is one of Rick's best 'rock band' albums and it is certainly near the top of my playlist. The extra track (that I assume was not on the orignal release) smoothly blends the new themes of 'Election 97' with the familiar theme of 'Arthur' and is a perfect opener. But track two is one of my all-time Rick favourites, 'Starship Trooper/Wurm'. I guess this really qualifies, in every sense, as a Yes cover, taking into consideration that Rick was not the keyboard player on the original, despite having played it thousands of times since then. Chrissie Hammond's vocals are perfect for this track. I would have liked to hear a live drummer on the album, but Stuart Sawney's programmed percussion is as good as you're going to get out of a box. Other highlights are 'The Spanish Wizard' which has some great guitar work from Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith and the pacey rocker 'The Rope Trick'.
When I heard that Rick Wakeman was going to release a "progressive rock" record in 2003, I was very excited. I have already been very pleased that Wakeman is back behind the keys with YES. One of my all-time favourite concert highlights was seeing Wakeman playing the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ organ at Radio City Music Hall during a Yes concert this past summer in New York City. To me, Wakeman is one of the most important figures in the history of progressive rock. The idea of him returning to his roots with a progressive release is music to my ears. Needless to say, I am very impressed with the release and Rick and the band are in excellent form throughout. ‘Out There’ contains a beautiful dedication to the seven astronauts who flew the last Columbia mission. This is a very appropriate dedication since the album relates the origin of music to ‘unseen dimensional astral plains somewhere amidst universes known and unknown’. Wakeman’s lyrics constantly reinforce this theme. The album begins with the epic title track, ‘Out There’. Wakeman’s symphonic intro lets the listener know he or she is in for a musical treat. The track, like many great epics, is broken into many sections. Wakeman’s keys are outstanding throughout, as are the vocals of Damian Wilson. Wilson, who reminds me a bit of Cairo’s Bret Douglas, has outstanding range. It is obvious why he was voted by the Classic Rock Society as the best male vocalist of 2002. I am also very impressed by the guitar playing of Ant Glynne. His driving guitar is present throughout the track and he explodes with a few blistering solos. In classic Wakeman fashion, a choir is used on many of the tracks. The choir adds to the emotionality of this particular piece. This song, in my opinion, is a modern day prog classic. ‘The Mission’ opens with Wakeman’s keys, which are joined by long time band member Tony Fernandez’s drums. Once again, Glynne’s guitar is prominent. Excellent playing by bassist Lee Pomeroy is also evident. I especially enjoy Wilson’s vocals on this song. ‘To Be With You’ begins with Fernandez on the electronic drums and the intro reminds me of the Yes song ‘Lift Me Up’. The choir has returned to handle the chorus in a beautiful fashion. ‘Universe of Sound is the most rocking song on the album. Wakeman and Glynne alternate several amazing solos. I really like the variety of sounds that Wakeman is achieving from his keyboards on this album. The song ends with an incredible Wakeman solo. ‘Music of Love’ is another great rocker that features more great keyboard and guitar solos. The final song, ‘Cathedral of the Sky’ is a favourite of mine. In vintage ‘Jane Seymour’ fashion, Wakeman’s presence on the church organ is unmistakable. The church organ/choir interaction is magical. The ten minute plus track is another Wakeman classic. Overall, I feel that ‘Out There’ is an outstanding album. I am very impressed by the band that Wakeman has put together. More than a solo effort, this is truly a band album. Wakeman has never sounded better and his songwriting is outstanding. I am also impressed by how important Ant Glynne’s guitar was to the overall sound of the album. With some albums that feature keyboardists, the guitarist will often take a back seat. This is not the case on this album I really enjoy Wilson’s vocals and Fernandez and Pomeroy are solid throughout. The addition of the choir completes the sound. In my opinion, ‘Out There’ compares favourably with any of Wakeman’s albums from the 70’s. The missing piece now is an American tour from Rick and the Ensemble. Of course, I will settle for some more US Yes dates. After hearing how great Wakeman sounds on this album, I am really excited about the prospect of a new Yes studio release! I highly recommend this album to any lovers of progressive rock and consider it a definite early contender for album of the year.
Great! What a wonderful show. I very much liked the "duelling keyboards"-part where Rick and his 'little Ninja' seem to be trying to outplay each other. I also found the "Behind the music"-documentary part very interesting and enlightening. A MUST for every Wakeman fan!
Time was when a new album from Rick was a major event in my life, just as it probably was for many of you "out there" (groan!). I would be on the doorstep of my local "record shop", (remember them?!),waiting for it to open on the day of release, bunking off college, work, etc., just to get my hands on this precious item. I hadn't felt like that since around 1983, after hearing "Cost of Living”, but still remained a fan. I thought, after seeing the concert in Perth last May, that this album was going to take me back to those days.(Except that in place of the "record shop”, I had pre-ordered at Amazon!).Well, firstly, it didn't arrive on the day of release (black mark against Amazon!), but arrive it did. What can I say? 3 out of 5, I am afraid. Musically, it is strong. I'd say it's Rick's best studio playing for A VERY LONG TIME, but it is let down by other parts of the mixture. I think you need to find another singer, Rick. Damian Wilson may have power, but he has a limited range, and his voice has no "light & shade". It's all at one place, and that can be very wearing. Think of Ashley Holt,(to use an example). He managed to sing the Gary Pickford-Hopkins parts with ease. Damian Wilson CAN'T carry that off. Sorry. Secondly, no disrespect (people usually do mean disrespect when they say that, but I don't) to Ant Glynne & Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, but the only place Rick needs a Guitarist is in YES. It's just a case of following the old rock formula. They don't contribute anything significant to a Rick Wakeman album. I want to hear Keyboards take the lead here, not guitar solos. I do have to say, though, that it is a far better album than "Return", which didn't feature enough Rick either, and seemed rather formulaic. The keyboard sounds are a joy to listen to and, as I said previously, His playing is the strongest album work for years. I know I come across rather negative, and I'll be surprised if this review gets published, but I WILL be playing this CD, unlike "Return", which hasn't seen the light of day for at least 18 months! P.S. the 3 stars are largely down to Ricks' playing & the quality of the music.
Well worth the wait and I haven't stopped listening to it since it arrived. This is Rick back to his roots and back to his best. The album certainly grows on you the more you listen to it with my favourites being the title track 'Out There' and the last track ('The Cathedral of the Sky') with it's 'Jane Seymour' organ. The vocals from Damien are excellent and the choir adds to the whole listening enjoyment. Throughout the album the music from Rick and the NERE and choir is excellent with a variety of keyboard sounds and styles. It's certainly a rock album but not too 'hard' to listen to and enjoy. I don't like all of Rick's stuff - but I certainly like this one !! As has already been mentioned there is also a touching tribute to the Columbia crew on the cover and a bit of history about Rick's interest in space - something I was unaware of. In summary you hardened fans won't be disappointed, and anyone considering buying their first Rick album, you couldn't do much better than this for a starter! Thanks Rick for a great album - can't wait for the tour and DVD !!
I listened to this for the first time this morning while walking to work. Since I've been a fan of Rick since "Journey" (I was given this for my 12th birthday and I'm now 40!!), any new album is an event to celebrate and not being able to listen to it last night was very frustrating. The title track is epic in ever way - 13 minutes long (and broken into different parts like all prog-rock epics should be!), with massive keyboard and guitar solos, a great rock vocalist, and that fantastic pairing of the church organ and choir, a sound that for me is trademark Rick Wakeman. The closing track "Cathedral of the Sky" reiterates that wonderful organ/choir combination and leaves you wishing for more. This is a fantastic album. I would never want to say it's the best Wakeman album ever, simply because there are so many that are fantastic but it's easily the best new prog rock I have heard for many years. Highly recommended (and should be amazing live).
Out There is THE best album in the world! But I think in a review, I should give my reasons. Well first off, this album is wonderfully dedicated to the Columbia Disaster. With a lovely dedication text on the inside cover. And the songs are just incredible. "Out there" is in 5 Chapters. All together they make Out There a brilliant production, and my favourite on the album. "The Mission" is also exceptional. "To Be With You" is a great song, with good drum modifications. "Universe of Sound" another brilliant rock song is just fantastic, great guitar riff, solos and vocals. "Music of Love" another great production, absolutely excellent guitar/Moog solos. "Cathederal Of the Sky" long, But VERY much worth it. Makes you bob your knee the whole way through, brilliant Church organ most of the way through. All together makes this album The best I have ever heard. You cannot fault this album - really. And the lyrics are deep and imaginative. Totally "Unfaultable" THANK YOU!!!!!
Just great! Simply wonderful how the man who has been voted "progressive rock pianist of the year" for 7 years, gives a performance that has almost all the ingredients of a classical concert. Rick also shows his great sense of humour in his anecdotes (lots of funny stories, all true). A great buy!
In the tradition of his more classical works Wakeman has recorded this collection of traditional hymns in inspiring instrumental arrangements. It has taken him eight years from the initial concept to the finished album and the time and effort that Rick has put into the pieces gives this collection a feeling of commitment from the heart. Rick says this is 'one of the most satisfying recordings I have ever made' and as you listen to his variations on the traditional melodies you will begin to see the joy that this work gave him. Obvious inclusions had to be the version of 'Morning Has Broken' that Rick originally recorded with Cat Stevens and the current concert favourite 'The Day Thou gavest Lord Has Ended'. The album also brings together tunes that all will be familiar with, whether from a religious background or not. 'All Things Bright And Beautiful', 'Jerusalem' and 'Abide With Me' are amongst the well-known titles. Rick has recorded the melodies mainly on piano with a keyboard accompaniment. Fans of Rick's rock output might be surprised at the volume of classical, spiritual and ambient material he has released, as a visit to his website will reveal. 'Morning Has Broken' is a great introduction to another side of the rock legend. 9/10
The latest release from Rick Wakeman's Hope Vision is the 100-minute concert video The Piano Tour Live . This release features Rick's concert at the King's Church in Newport on the recent tour in it's entirety. Of course there is already a concert video available, Simply Acoustic (HRV 002), filmed in America. I met Rick at a recent gig in Swansea and asked him why he thought people might want to buy both releases. 'The British tour was very different from The American one,' he explained. 'We've tried to make sure that's reflected in the videos, so there are a lot of different pieces of music on them and different stories too. When I toured in America all the Churches had great P.A. systems and beautiful grand pianos so I played all the pieces on their pianos. Of course it's not like that in Britain, we had to take all our equipment with us so I had the chance to use other keyboards as well.' It is apparent from watching the videos that the presentation is vastly different and that, where there is repetition of material. For instance the two David Bowie pieces, Space Oddity and Life On Mars are arranged for electronic keyboards for the British video, giving them a more atmospheric feel, whereas the piano arrangement is more natural. Both videos contain a selection of Yes material but Simply Acoustic includes some of Rick's better known solo material, Catherine Howard and Merlin The Magician, whilst The Piano Tour Live includes the humorous Nursery Rhyme Concerto, and arrangements of The Lord's Prayer and The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended. The film crew at King's Church have done a very impressive job so each of the videos has it's own merits. 9/10
Back in 1974 Rick released the massively successful Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, an album which boosted his solo career several hundred steps up the ladder of success. Ever since that time Rick has wanted to do a sequel album but time, money and technology have never been favourable to the idea - until now. The new album, Return To The Centre Of The Earth was released in March on the EMI Classics label with a huge press campaign and entered the national album charts at number 34 in it's first week. Three years of writing, planning and recording together with a £2 million budget have resulted in Rick calling this 'without question the most important and exciting musical journey that I have been involved with since the original Journey.' The contributions of the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir bring the album it's underlying classical feel whilst the contributions from many top contemporary vocalists add a rock edge, all of which is perfectly blended together by Wakeman's astoundingly diverse talent. Incidentally those vocalists include Justin Hayward, Bonnie Tyler, Katrina Leskanich and Rick's long-time friend Ozzy Osbourne, who takes the lead for Buried Alive, it's difficult to imagine any other vocalist handling this particular song so well, despite it's unusual time signature. With narration from Star Trek's Patrick Stewart carrying the story along Return...is a compelling listen. 10/10
Rick goes to the circus! I've never seen Cirque Surreal, but the music does seem to convey that kind of circus atmosphere, something to accompany feats of daring, constantly active performance that you would expect. Wings Of Fortune and Static seem to convey this to me most strongly, with that carnival-like organ playing. I must freely admit I don't know much about keyboards, but at least one used here sounds exactly the same as that used in Return To The Centre Of The Earth (only 4 years between them after all), and so I was sometimes reminded of that album, especially during the songs on Cirque Surreal. I'm afraid that the songs here did little for me. They don't sound bad, but they don't stand out. To put it another way, if this had been the first RW album I'd ever heard, I would've concluded "Stick to the instrumentals Rick, that's where you shine so well." Of course I do know better, and he has written some great songs, from Guinevere to Still Waters Run Deep. But that greatness does not shine here for me. As I intimated though, the instrumentals are excellent. It probably comes as no surprise then that my favourites on Cirque Surreal are devoid of lyric, they being the aforementioned Wings Of Fortune, Static, and the final track, The Jig. The Jig is wonderfully upbeat, and sounds like modern day Celtic folk music. It's a perfect finale to the album. Overall, I think Cirque Surreal should appeal to those of you that liked Return To The Centre Of The Earth. It isn't the same huge production, but Rick and his band are so pumped up here, it doesn't need to be. There are definitely at least a few tracks here that deserve to stand out up among the greats.
Simply.... is a masterpiece... the orchestra, the choir, the singers... EVERYTHING.... everybody should listen this album as much as the classical masterpieces of the last centuries…
I never heard about Rick before... I only saw the Voyage CD in my school library, I saw the track names, the booklet and then I said... all right, lets listen it.... after hearing Catherine Howard, I say WOW! he is a master, after that, I´m listening more Rick albums, and thanks to Rick I met the Yes music, which is beautiful too. I feel a great joy to know that today, in this world with many commercial music that sucks, there are already people who knows the meaning of the word "music". Thanks Rick
Something of a curio, this. Parts of it are excellent - 'Elegy' (a true 'must-have' for any RW fan), 'Gone But Not Forgotten' and even 'Twij'. The rest is really disposable - Rick in his 'rockin' mode which, to be honest, sounds rather flabby and tired. Certainly, during the 1980s, Rick went through a bit of a tired-old-rocker phase, which alienated a lot of fans; what they liked about his work was his amazing keyboard work and his willingness to produce albums which, although not fashionable, were nevertheless interesting and distinctive. 'Elegy', 'Gone But Not Forgotten' and 'Twij' fall into this category; the rest is rather disposable. For me, this album represents my 'buying a RW LP just for the odd good track' phase; I was willing to do it, but thank God for CDs which mean you can skip the bad stuff (a footnote: we played 'Elegy' at my Father's funeral: I can't think of a more appropriate track for that occasion, nor a better reason to recommend this LP despite its faults).
Hmmm...I was dubious at first, having picked this up in my local second-hand record shop in Tokyo. Rick and some unknown chappie (to me at least - apologies to everyone who's heard of Mario Fasciano!), putting together an album about a King and Court I've never heard of. Hmmm. Just shows how wrong you can be - this is classic Wakeman, on a par with 'Six Wives' or 'Arthur', and doesn't deserve the neglect it's fallen into...why hasn't it been re-released? The subject matter, the language (Neapolitan, is it?), the playing - all of these things conspire to make it a kind of 'Arthur' for the Nineties; by that, I mean that Rick's Keyboards and his ideas of what a song/track should be had changed but he still managed to capture not only the essential 'Rickness' of the subject, but also provided a perfect foil for Fasciano's lyricism and romanticism. In short, a classic: all you RW fans out there, hunt this down and enjoy...
Okay, who's the dumbass? Saw this in a record shop years ago and didn't buy it - looked like Rick trying to pay the rent. Oh God, I was so wrong - if you like 'Country Airs' (and who doesn't, for its purity?), you'll love this: classic Wakeman, largely piano and totally beautiful; forget the tourist-like sleeve notes, and just listen...meanwhile, one eBay auction and a lot of money later, I've learned not to doubt Rick's judgement…
The Very Best of the Rick Wakeman Chronicles Video by Ben Jordan on 29th December 2002 [Other reviews]
Although originally hailing from Australia, I'm too young to have seen Rick when he did perform Down Under, so this video for me is perhaps a bit of compensation for that. It was also the only live performance of Rick I'd ever seen, and the warm atmosphere of the set, punctuated by Rick's enjoyable anecdotes (such as what it was like to play in Japan with vocalists unable to pronounce the phoneme /r/!), really make the proceedings a pleasant thing to watch. It's great to put faces to names, and to see, for example, Mr Pickford Hopkins and Mr Holt being the great prog rock stars of the time that they were, rather than simply hearing them. Being able to see it all really brings to one the 'feel' of the era. We fans do think of Rick's greatest works to be timeless, but it doesn't hurt sometimes to view them as products of the era in which they were made. Of course, if you were alive then, it's a nice nostalgia trip too. And there's also the joy of the obviously very satisfied Melbourne crowd which is pleasing. In the end though, this is all about the performance itself. When I first got the video, I'd yet to hear the Henry VIII and King Arthur albums, and was thus judging their renditions here afresh. Although sounding quite melodic and interesting, I enjoy far more the original studio versions I have since heard. Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn, for example, are simply not the wonderful haunting mood pieces that I would later hear on the studio album, but there's no flaw in the way they are played here. I think the problem is because the actual sound is a bit flat. No criticism of the performers, it's the recording itself. With today's recording equipment, this concert would no doubt have stood out even better, and of course it would've been in stereo. It is however a great joy to watch Rick play Merlin, especially the keyboard solos. With his hands dancing over not just one, but two keyboards at once, it seriously demonstrates what a talented man this guy is, in even his early days. I listened to the Journey suite with a very critical ear, as it was something I'd listened to repeatedly as far back as I can remember even existing, and I knew it off by heart. Initially, I wasn't so impressed, again I think because of the sound quality. Journey also suffers because without the backing of a proper choir and orchestra, it lacks the sheer power and resonance that made me completely at one with the music and oblivious to my surroundings everytime I heard the original as a child. With repeated listenings, I find myself being more charitable to even the sound quality here, and appreciating all that is on offer for being a different interpretation to the original albums. This would continue later when I listened to the same tracks played on the Live In Hammersmith album, and finding that although markedly different, and scaled-down, there was something about these versions that made me appreciate them for what they were. Why should they have to reproduce the originals note for note? One thing that irked me though was Terry Taplin. Sorry, but David Hemmings was THE man for that job, and Terry's voice is too high and lacks any weight to be taken seriously, though he does nonetheless really throw himself into it. I have also found that plugging the vcr (or vtr) into the stereo system's speakers really helps. I recommend this video despite it's faults for the chance to see Rick live in his heyday, especially if you never had the chance to do that in person. It's also worthy since it allows us to hear what the 3 most popular albums sounded like when played live at the time they were made. It's worth buying if you really like these 3 albums, and enjoy listening to all the different permutations of them. Yes, I've waffled on about the sound quality a lot ^^, but in the end, it's the visuals that you ought to get The Rick Wakeman Chronicles for.
Put simply, Nina Wakeman giving narrated highlights (in sequence) of the Christian Bible (as opposed to the Catholic, Mormon, Methodist Bibles, etc), accompanied by a simple, uncomplicated soundtrack of Rick Wakeman on keyboards, essentially his new age style. There are no instrumentals, but moments where Nina pauses before reading another verse/book, where you can hear music only. You don't absolutely HAVE to be a Christian to like this album. I can say this because I'm an atheist, and I'm perfectly comfortable to sit and listen to it. I've always felt that even if you are completely unreligious, the Bible is nonetheless the most influential text ever in human history (in the Western World at least), and that makes it a book worth paying at least some attention to, if only for it's historical perspective. Sitting here, listening to Nina's very clear enunciation, accompanied by Mr Wakeman's practised hand is a very nice way to do it. If there is anything you have to be in order to listen to this album, it's that you have to like Rick's new age music. This is a far cry from the albums that he is known for. It isn't prog rock, or even rock, so if that's what you want, this isn't the place to find it. It's laid-back early 90's synth. I don't assume that even if you are religious, you'd automatically appreciate this album. After all, you're here because you're a Wakeman fan, so again, it could well depend on your appreciation of this electronic-only work. I can't see myself playing this too often, as another reviewer said, but it's not bad. I don't need Rick to be a prog rock musician all the time, but it is what made me get into his music in the first place, starting with Journey, and this is a world apart from that. This is not the music or even the playing which made Rick famous. It isn't complex, experimental multi-textured lines of anti-mainstream sound that made us recognise him for a virtuoso in his own right. But Rick is a diverse player, and thus it gave him longevity. This album was deliberate meant for a quite specific audience, and was thus not ever intended to please every Wakeman afficionado. My only criticism of In The Beginning is that I feel Nina's voice drowns out the music a bit too much. It should've been mixed in such a way that the narration and backing music seem more a part of each other, rather than sounding like one layer added to another. Apart from that, not too bad for what it's meant to be.
When this album was released in 1974 it was a milestone in music, it totally redefined what music could be. No longer was there just rock or classical, there was an album that incorporated it all into a contemporary symphony. The use of a symphony orchestra and choir, as well as a rock band, synthesisers and tape SFX, moves music to a new level of expression. It was and still is far ahead of any of the "contemporary classical" music that's being pushed as new and innovative. The innovation and integrity that was used to portray a scifi/fantasy story, not as film music, not as classical, nor rock or any other individual style. A whole new style was created to express this story, a style that has influenced many people since.
Sea Airs is a true classical masterpiece. It brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. That is all I can say about this work.
For almost 30 years, Rick Wakeman has been slogging it out as one of the preeminent keyboardists in rock -- notably as an off and on member of Yes. Along with ELP's Keith Emerson and Deep Purple's Jon Lord, Wakeman brought the keyboards to the frontline of the band -- often outsoloing guitarist Steve Howe while throwing in dashes of classical and jazz just to show how well schooled he was. As Emerson and Lord barely stray away from the confines of their respective group situations, Wakeman has continually forged ahead -- composing full conceptual pieces in which his keyboard navigates makeshift ensembles of rock players around full-blown orchestras and choirs. During the early 70s, Wakeman lodged these musical experimentations with classic allegory. With historical accuracy, he boldly released The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur and The Knights Of The Round Table. His most well-received album, however, was based and titled after the classic Jules Verne tale -- Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. In and around 1974, pretentious, theme-oriented albums were becoming the norm. Jethro Tull ( Passion Play, Thick As A Brick), The Who (Tommy, Quadrophenia), Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Moon), Genesis (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway), even Wakeman's present band, Yes (Tales From Topographic Oceans) -- had all been stirring up the conceptual fire with a measurable amount of success. Rick Wakeman -- brandishing his infamous sparkle-covered cape -- decided to up the ante with Journey. To begin, he brought in The London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir. Then he patched together a group of session players and singers. To give Journey a more cerebral slant he threw in a narrator by the name of David Hemmings to read passages in a manner in which the listener became part of the journey. To make it even more ambitious, he performed and recorded the album "live" before an audience. It was pretty much downhill from there. Progressive, classically-charged rock outraged the critics, and gave way to a roots revolution in the form of punk, heavy metal and an R&B strain called disco. Wakeman and his ilk had to either conform or retire. With occasional resurfacings, he would never eclipse the artistic satisfaction or commercial success of Journey. These days many of the great conceptual works of the 70s have re-emerged. Tommy, Quadrophenia, Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall have all been submitted to various treatments. Technical advances in video, audio and instrumentation have made the idea of recreating such monstrosities far easier. This, along with a desire to possibly regain his momentum, is what has apparently driven Rick Wakeman to Return To The Centre Of The Earth. For almost 77 minutes, Wakeman pulls out every trick in the book. Once again, he procures the services of The London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir. He employs a backing band of virtual unknowns. This time, however, Wakeman peppers his piece with a few big names. Guest vocalists include Trevor Rabin (Yes), Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), Bonnie Tyler, Katrina Leskanich (Katrina and The Waves) and Ozzy Osbourne. Reading the passages this time -- with infectious precision -- is Patrick Stewert, best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Contained within the elaborate gatefold packaging by longtime Yes artist Roger Dean, Return opens up with a pattern of lush orchestrations, slyly garnishing Stewert's poignant articulations throughout. Utilizing a number of computerized gadgets and tools, the keyboards are seemingly shrouded -- certainly not as distinctive as Wakeman's sound can be. It isn't until the fourth track --Buried Alive -- that Return sonically surges forward. Ozzy Osbourne's vocals swim effortlessly through The London Symphony's framework. Wakeman unleashes one of his trademark solos during the song's mounting crescendo. From here, the Return takes on a rather ethereal tone. With no real central theme to convey -- aside from the journey itself -- there are, nonetheless, some stellar performances. Bonnie Tyler's nicotine-stained reading on Is Anybody There? is lifted to a glossy finish as the English Chamber Choir sails through each emotive verse. Tony Mitchell's generic turn on Mr. Slow is also largely carried by the orchestral/choir accompaniment. Trevor Rabin's vocals and guitar on Never Is A Long, Long Time take a backseat to the additional instrumentation. This is one song that could do without the spiraling strings and chamber voices. On the other hand, Justin Hayward is able to make Still Waters Run Deep sound like something he'd do with the Moody Blues. The CD's most lilting track may be the Katrina Leskanich vehicle, Ride Of Your Life. Without her "Waves" and without Wakeman's somewhat excessive arrangements, Leskanich executes her range to its full potential. It would be interesting to see a song like this launch her comeback. With talk of comebacks, one must wonder how Return To The Centre Of The Earth fits within the contemporary music scene of the 90s. In truth, it doesn't. It isn't much more than a self-fulfilling aspiration for Rick Wakeman. A chance to relive the days of glory, with an assembled "Dream Team" along for the ride. Perhaps Wakeman should think about a visual counterpart --a multimedia concert or film. Today's audiences -- many orbiting in a nihilistic trance -- simply don't have the patience or desire to sit through something like this. Thought-provoking, literary exercises of this sort have never registered high on the richter scale of mass taste and popularity. Originally published October 1999 -- www.vintagerock.com
No Earthly Connection is one of the greatest albums ever produced. Its idea that music's at the heart of the human soul makes it a brilliant piece. It's dated by today's standards, but surpasses today's music. More than just music, it is religion, and like very few artistes has managed to show incredible insight into human existance. Note: "Brain's destroyed, my body's cold, leave the ruins music soul"
A must. I think it has a great set list. "Buried Alive" from "Return...", a great medley of "1984" with unbelievable bass solo. If you love the GUITAR solos from "Clasic tracks" & "Live at Hammersmith", you fall in love with this version of "Catherine Parr". Some YES, etc. BOTTOM LINE: Another WILD Wakeman concert!!! :) Plus it has a bit of "RW Behind the Music"
The most incredible this in this ambum is Ashely Holt, is emotional voice is just AMAZING!!!!. The trumpet and trombone in "Lancelot..." takes the song into a whole new level. If you were gonna compare this to Yes, this would be the "Yessongs" of Rick.
It's funny to think that I actually hated this album when I bought it. But after a few years of being in my CDs rack I gave it a 2nd chance. "Overture" & "The Proles", made me feel comfortable with the CD, but when I saw the live version of "The Hymn/Robot Man" in the "Live Buenos Aires DVD" it totally changed my perspective. Now I can honestly tell you it's a great album. And I learned something very important too. Since Rick has so many diferent styles, it happens a lot that you buy a new album especting certaing style and when you listen to it you receive the surprise of hearing a total different thing and therefore you "don't like that album". But the truth is that you just have to wait a bit till you change your mood and giving it another try till you find your peace with that album. (NOTE: this doen't apply to the boring New Age albums. LOL :)
I have only heard the title song "Light Up the Sky" and you can also find it in "The Masters" compilation Very hard rock, very commercial, . I think it's Chrissie Hammond's best song! I love it.
Ladies and gentlemen, this album, together with King Arthur, stands among the ouvre of Wakeman. You may have criticism on the lyrics, on the orchestration or on how the whole concept is blended into an album. Everybody may have a different view on the overall sound of the orchestration and of that of the rock band. But I salute Wakeman in his effort in doing this remarkable piece of work. I first heard this album at the age of 10 or 12, and since then, I return to it again and again. The mere presence of this messageboard, among with many others on the web, is a proof that there is something to remember and talk about!
I like musicals very much and this one is gorgious. It is nearly twice as long as the first one (which i also loved dearly) but so much more matured. Return is captivating to listen to and i'm always sorry at the end of the journey... Can't wait for Rick to create an opera based on 'Lord of the Rings', please Rick do it....
This album is a third part of Vibrations Series. This series are produced by John Schroeder, who has his own band "Sounds Orchestral". Piano Vibrations sounds like easy listening. Rick always says this is NOT his first solo album. I really understand what he says, because he performed only as a pianist, not as a artist or arranger. This album is produced and directed by John Schroeder, arranged by Lew Warburton, recorded at PYE STUDIOS LONDON. If you want to hear this album, I recommend to hear John's CDs. because, Piano Vibrations record are very rare and hard to find, and maybe very expensive. But John's CDs are easy to find at any CD shop. So,you can touch the Sound of Piano Vibrations!
Little Gems...Mostly a collection of piano driven works. Of particular note is the Swiss Suite which makes this entire album a must have...classical in its approach deeply emotional, yet restrained.
I heard this album for the first time today. I literally had tears in my eyes listening to Birdman of Alcatraz. What a wonderful collection of music. This album is as good, maybe even better than Six Wives of Henry VIII.
1984 was Rick's last big production concept album of this era before Punk's tenious grip finally faded and Rick with it! The Overture is, without doubt, one of Rick's most enjoyable intrumentals. What people shouldn't forget is the wealth of talent associated with this album. The production for a start is excellent combined with strong lyrical content from Tim Rice and some great vocals from the guest starts. The whole work oozes quality and great musicianship from all parties concerned. I feel this is a highly underated album and deserves a higher status amongst Rick's works. But that's just my opinion!
First of all I have to say it's a wonderful piece of music and impression. The excellent narration from Patrick Stewart (I still await the moment when he'd say: Make it so!), the fantastic Orchestra, Rick's oustanding keyboard playing, good vocals (nice to hear again Trevor) and a wonderful Choir. That's the right album to turn of the lights and enjoy listening it with closed eyes in the darkness. It has slow and quiet parts and loud parts with pomb. What else could be used to describe as bombastic?
Return To The Centre Of The Earth, a more than perfect achievement from (now proven again to be) the best composer of this time! Together with hundreds of other gifted musicians (LSO, ECC, Bonnie Tyler, Fraser, Trevor Rabin, Ozzy Osbourne and many others) Rick has proven the world that good quality music has not and probably will never die out! EMI gave Rick the possibility to do this project to the full, and that is exactly what he has done. With a visualizing and breathtaking narration from Patrick “Jean Luc” Steward this album takes you all the way to the centre of the earth! Every song is perfect, the balance between the relaxed and heavy rock songs couldn’t be any better, the solo’s are pure ecstasy, Rick plays the old Moog like no-one can! This album is a perfect, and I mean PERFECT blend between classical and rock music, the melodies are complex, the recording is of the best quality and the singers are great! Rick Wakeman at his very best, let’s all hope that he will from now on get more opportunities to do projects like these because there is no living soul who can do this better than he can, everyone not deaf should buy this album!
Thank you Rick and son, Adam, for showing us the degree of emotional beauty and balance you are capable of. A must have. Now where is that piano concerto?
I can vividly recall purchasing this album at my local used record store not knowing what to expect. Sure, I was familiar with his shining Yes moments and The Six Wives Of Henry The VIII record but I wanted more of the same thing.What you get here is toe-tapping,slightly psychedelic,light-hearted "pop" tunes,a marvelously odd-ball record and quite underrated.
This video or DVD was recorded for ITV in 1990. It features "The old boy", Ashley Holt, Tony Fernadez (sp?) And David Paton. Rick Is absolutely astonishing, Performing some of his most well known peices. The layout of the stage is also quite something. It features a Giant "W" at the back of the stage, And unmissable, Is Ricks' Huge keyboard rig, 9 keyboards in all! It also has Tony Fernandez (sp?) in a Brilliant 5 minute Drum Solo! And David Paton doing a quite splendid Gituar solo. So to sum this up, I say it's a must buy. (In my opinion of course)
Rick's interpretations of 7 classic Yes tracks, piano, synth, bass and drums for most. For me this must rate as one of Rick's best yet. His interpretations of Yes music go beyond his original involvement with the tracks and reproduce those glorious Jon Anderson vocals in synth and piano melody lines in a way that only Rick can. I found the interpretation of Close To The Edge rivetting and heard the track in a way which the sometimes raucous guitar never allowed The other standout track is Roundabout where Rick get's another go at the guitar parts as well as keyboards. The album indicates 'solo and duet piano' and I suspect this track is an example where either Rick has grown a third hand (possibly fourth) or it's a "duet" overdub. Either way great listening. The classic Hammond solo isn't as free and wild as the live performances and this may be from the need to keep some kind of time. Fantastic. Push on past Your Move if it's not strictly to your taste, the album is a gem.
I have always regarded Rick as one of the big three players, the other two being Keith Emerson and Chick Corea. I saw all of them play at their peak energy level around 72' to 75' and they were awesome!! On the Wives album I have always loved Cathrine Parr and I learned the riff and used it for many years to impress my friends. Thank you Rick you are a true original and an immortal.
This Album is a MASTERPIECE - pure and simple, all the way around. I WISH IT WAS ON CD!!! The tunes, vocals, instruments are all incredible. Always my favorite Rick Wakeman work. I would say it is a bit more "down home Rockish" then Journey. BUT, do not let this fool you! It is at the same time just as complex too! Beautiful guitar, drums and bass work, and Ricks keyboards to me have NEVER been better.
As a huge fan, I really looked forward to this disc, and as far as the music goes, it is excellent, and if you remotely like the original soundtrack, you'll love this one. The keyboard work is truly characteristic of '70's Rick. However, the disappointing thing is that the narrations here bring to mind the perversion of the original movie, which takes away from the overall enjoyment of the disc.
As always, Rick is in top form as a storyteller on this disc. The stories are very entertaining. The notes on the back of the disc say it will only be available as part of the Treasure Chest, and this will be a nice bonus for the fans who buy the box.
Volume 6 already. Time flies. The original Jane Seymour on church organ is really a sensation. “Beyond” is a little too short to make an impact, but I haven’t come across a copy of the “Beyond the Planets” Album yet, so maybe I shouldn't judge it then. I have heard of the “Microcosm Suite” before, but of course never heard it – again I have to give credit to my younger brother, who told me about the game and that it was intended to have music by Rick more than ten years ago and even had the opporunity to chat with Rick about the game at a Wakeman and Wakeman show here. The music is very much like Rick’s early 90ies work, Wakeman with Wakeman e.g. and has some fine moments. “Flyin’” quotes “The Forest”. Musically it lies between “The Burning” and “1984”. Isn’t that the time, when the mysterious “Spider”/”Danielle” Single must have come out? Then there’s the Bootleg factor with tracks 5-9 (12-16 on my display), but the performances are that good, that I personally really don’t mind the slightly limited sound quality. Finally, there’s the “Suicide Shuffle” Live on CD, one of my favourites when I saw it in concert in 1993. Music: A+ Sound Quality: A+ / B+ (tracks 5-9)
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey to the Centre of the Earth + by Christian Loebenstein on 25th May 2002 [Other reviews]
Volume 7 features 65 minutes Live in Concert from North America, ca. 1974/75. Originally a bootleg (see “Unleashing The Tethered One”), the sound has been cleaned up pretty well, but it varies, so I can easily give it an A-minus on one hand, while others only deserve a B-rating. Excellent performances throughout though! See if you can guess, which choir parts in “Catherine Parr” are actually sung, and which are obviously played on the mellotron. At least that’s what I think! The Piano Concerto at the end rounds it up nicely. This is almost it. Just one more treasure waiting in the chest... Music: A++ Sound Quality: varies from A- to B
Rick Wakeman – Stories: No need to say more. What I’d like to say at this point though is, that for the last couple of hours I have been listening to the Treasure Chest, step by step. I have only made a one hour break for dinner and the 7:30 news on TV and that’s it. I’d like to thank Rick especially, the team and the people at Voiceprint for letting us share these rarities, and I’m crying out for more.... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
The Treasure Chest is here, and it's one fantastic box! Volume 1 consists of the "real" Lisztomania Soundtrack, as it was intended by Rick, but refused by A&M. From the opening scene narration by Paul Nicholas, through the Country Rag of "Country Sword Dance" and excellent versions of well-known Rick pieces as "Free Song", "Dante Period" a.o., this Soundtrack is hilarious, innovative, funny and provocative. I don't have to tell you, that it beats the one that came out in '75 a thousand times (or more than two thousand, to quote the master himself). Music: A+ Sound Quality: A+ And this is only Part 1 of the Box-Set…
...on to Volume 2: The Oscar Concert It is there due to the fact, that only 86 people turned up at a show during the 2000 UK Solo-Tour, and a small dog, Oscar, stole the show. You can witness the moment when Rick spots the dog in the audience and starts to turn the whole show (including his famous inbetween songs stories) into the Concert for Oscar. This is as sentimental as funny, and the performances are excellent throughout. What'd you expect? Watch out for "Classical Doggy In The Window" Performance (+stories): A+ Sound Quality: A+
...on to Volume 2: The Oscar Concert It is there due to the fact, that only 86 people turned up at a show during the 2000 UK Solo-Tour, and a small dog, Oscar, stole the show. You can witness the moment when Rick spots the dog in the audience and starts to turn the whole show (including his famous inbetween songs stories) into the Concert for Oscar. This is as sentimental as funny, and the performances are excellent throughout. What'd you expect? Watch out for "Classical Doggy In The Window" Performance (+stories): A+ Sound Quality: A+
The Missing Half contains the first, band performed, half of the original Journey Live debut. Besides the three wives, there's "A Road To Ruin" in which Rick plays around a couple of well known melodies, much to the delight of the audience and probably the rest of the band aswell, who seem to enjoy the Honky Tonk Piano too (and add bits of percussion here and there...). I'd like to see that on film!!! "Twelfth Street Rag" has a stunning mellotron + moog -intro before turning into the traditional rag tune it is. This is probably when the Orchestra came onstage. Some might remember the wonderful "Pearl and Dean Piano Concerto" from Private Collection. "The David Hemmings Voice Collection" is a standout! English not being my native language, I had to ask around what 'camp' was, and my younger brother told me, that it was kind of sloppy language, typical for stupid one-liners as used in the Evil Dead films starring Bruce Campbell. Anyway, we laughed our *** off, listening to this all over again!!! The rough mixes of Arthur and Guinevere at the end, made me wonder why A&M has stopped remastering their seventies back-catalogue. Music: A+ Fun factor: 1,000,000 Sound Quality: A+ On to Volume 4 then!
“Sophie for Joy”, a wonderful 11 minute improvised Piano piece opens Almost Classical. The demo for “Merlin” dates back almost 30 years and is of stunning sound quality! What I love about the Swiss Suite, is that listening to it, I can well imagine leaning back on a clear summer day, watching the mountains around the lake where I usually spend the summer. This brings back a lot of memories from my childhood. Being half-Swiss myself, it’s about time I get back there this summer, “The Swiss Suite” in my MD-Player! “The Barber of Wigan” is very special. Rick surprises Ramon Remedios with an operetta written especially for him (while Ramon actually thought he should do the Barber of Seville). While the conversation before the actual piece is already funny (and you can hear the audience reaction there), the operetta itself is pure fun, including a lot of Monty Pythonesque non-sense and hilarious rhymes. You can even hear Ramon Remedios laugh. Before switching to Volume 5, I have to check my water supply and, of course, the shampoo bottle... Music: A++ Sound Quality: A+
The Mixture opens with a “No Earthly Connection” Medley done as a duo by Rick and Ashley Holt Very powerful. When it comes to “Make Me A Woman”, I prefer the version with Dave Paton on fretless Bass. “Fool On The Hill” has always been one of my favourite Beatles tunes, and this version, again a duo – Rick on Piano, Holt on vocal – is a fine one! Eleanor Rigby is, as we know it from Rick, all instrumental (speedy ending!) The rest of the CD is Rick and Adam with Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, Fraser giving a fine vocal performance on “Space Oddity” – (this is Fraser, not Bowie, right??!!) and “Life on Mars”. Hearing “The Jig” live ( featuring the three of them again) is a big surprise, as is “The Breathalyser” (Adam on vocal) with the inevitable story by Rick, and a musical quote of Jimmy Webb’s “Up, up and away”. This must have been a very good show! More, please! Judging from the pictures on the inner sleeve, I hope Korg are still paying Rick... Music: A+ (again) Sound Quality: A+ (again)
I'm not surprised that your guests to this site voted this Wakeman's best. I bought the album when it was released and was quite moved by it as I am to this day. What may be surprising is given the number of albums by Wakeman, his first is his best. There is great individual expression found on this album, thankfully the record label allowed that freedom. It was released around the time of the greatest progressive rock work ever, "Tales from Topographic Oceans." I believe the mindset of the group of musicians called "Yes" was at it's highest level of understanding then.
Pure virtuosity from the keyboard master on his debut album! Fast stunning and harmonic pieces of music that have quality written all over them. Personally I like Catherine Parr the best, because of its super sonic Hammond solo’s, Jane Seymour is a masterpiece too; a gorgeous church organ composition which can easily compete with a good music piece from Bach or any other well known composer. Anne Boleyn has got beautiful bits of piano and Catherine Howard has such a lovely melody that it can make you cry. Anne of Cleves is one to get used to; you will probably not like it the first time you hear it, but the more you listen the more you love it. A key album that forms the foundation to every Wakeman or even prog rock collection!
This has to be the standard to quality entertainment, written by the master himself (as is all his work) it shows the world that music has been given a new definition; Music=Rick Wakeman, the rest is just insignificant sound (okay, not all of it, but a lot is!). A perfect Rock-Opera with full orchestra and choir, Rick plays the moogs perfectly and all his other synths too. I can listen to this one a million times and I even like it better! The singers being bad just makes it more fun to listen to. I can’t get enough of the forest and the moment the storm begins always is one of the most enjoyable moments of the album for me. It has a perfect grand opening and a ditto ending! This particular version is great but the dvd version is even better! If you do not own a copy yet, you should better rush yourself to the store to get one!!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Tim Boudewijn van der Wart on 30th March 2002 [Other reviews]
The MaLoKAatKotRT is a very emotional and personal masterpiece. It is my number one Wakeman record. If anyone of you owns the family album and wonders why Rick himself isn’t on it; that’s because he already described himself musically here...I think Rick is Merlin; both very wise and genius as he is humorous and affectionate. The album is full of the prettiest music with an historical feeling to it, instrumentally and verbally a perfect achievement. And a definite must to all the genuine fans, if you don’t like it, I can’t understand what attracts you in Rick’s music at all. You just got to have this, it are Rick’s heart and soul that speak on this one.
Lisztomania…a soundtrack that makes you longing to see the movie (and I still haven’t seen it because I can’t find the movie anywhere). Although not all the tracks are Wakemans’ it is a beautiful album with a very special feeling to it. The combination of Roger Daltry's lightning voice with the gorgeous Wakeman melodies makes this a sensation. Peace at Last is the best song of the album; it’s a kind of extension to love’s dream which is also very beautiful. There are also a few sinister tracks on this album such as Hell. It can be quite hard to find a copy since not many of them were sold, if you can’t find it try to get the exclusive eight cd box (only 1000 of these around! so be quick) because Rick has put the “real Lisztomania” in there.
No Earthly Connection is a very good album on which Ashley Holt breaks all his personal records and it can also besides the beautiful music form the beginning of a new religion! Good use of the English Rock Ensemble here enhanced with a brass section. It is just like all the seventies albums a must for your collection. It contains really interesting moments; on the Lost Cycle there is a solo which sounds like the keyboard is played the wrong way round! The entire music reincarnate is a lesson about how to live your life (you have to evolve your music sense which will give your soul eternal life). There are pretty melodies (“wait, wait look at the sun…”) and rocky songs (“you shall hang said the maker…”). It can be quite hard to obtain a copy because it was never (and probably will never be) released on compact disc. A very good album which to my opinion belongs in the top seven of the Wakeman album charts.
Yet another great masterpiece from the maestro. The Loser is the one of the most beautiful Wakeman tracks ever, and White Rock is the song the mini-moog was probably invented for! Lax’x is a very abstract and complex composition, very good though. Searching for gold is also very good, it has a catchy chorus; the entire album can be called brilliant if you ask me. There is lots of piano and organ use, also is there a good choir. Among the fast rock pieces there are very beautiful piano compositions enhanced with synths Rick does so amazingly well. In my list the album ranks probably at number two. A pity it was never released on cd, such a masterpiece must be possible to play always, and not to be worn out till here are no copies left anymore.
If there were any academy-awards for best album Rick would win these for this album every year again! The first half of the album consists of three very beautiful, versatile and energetic pieces of perfect Wakeman keyboard art And the second part really knocks you off your socks every time you listen to it. Birdman of Alcatraz is probably his best pure piano composition, the Breathalyser is a fast and striking keyboard piece with a funny vocal ending, and Judas Iscariot is...it is so amazingly good that it can make you cry over and over again. This album is unquestionably a top three album if not number one in the Wakeman album charts!
Although some will argue this, to my opinion this is still a pure seventies album (and not even Rick’s last! to my opinion that’s Rock ‘n Roll prophet!). The style, the instruments and the humour is all typically of the seventies and that makes it a very good album with good and powerful songs (sea horses, summertime, the pulse) and there are also good and funny songs like Bombay duck and woolly willy tango. The album being long does not affect its quality; it is a very good en enjoyable listen with typical Wakeman moments, which we actually all want to hear from Rick. It is a link you don’t want to miss in your collection, there lots of them around too so it won’t be any trouble finding a copy.
I'm not the best at reviewing but I'll give it a go for ya. The first track, Oriental Iceman, was obviously written for the 1972 Sapporo Olympic Winter Games for it has a VERY Oriental sound. Just recall all the documentary programs such as National Geographic or nearly any movie that changes locations from West to East and sets the location as the Orient by the music before any action or subtitle. This piece has a very distinct theme that is repeated very frequently. Perhaps too much, as this piece could have been easily shorter than the 11:48. There are nice easy solos between the choruses, no major flashes. I find this to be the weakest piece of the recording, not bad, but ironic for the opener, and may be the reason some have shown trepidations in the CD. The rest of the album improves. The next track, Ice Pie, starts with a haunting subtle melody on the Korg but switches as it picks up speed to the Roland (I think). Thorneycroft-Smith does a good job of interweaving with Rick a longing guitar sound into the piece. Brad Waissman plays a bass line that is beautifully crafted to fit this very melodic piece that aptly recalls the grace of ice skating as it flows around the rink. The piece continually crescendos as a skaters long program would. Rick uses practically every keyboard to melodically, without to much flash, raise the energy throughout the piece. I read a review that said there was no "After the Ball " piece on this recording. Must have been a different CD. Dancing on Snowflakes is absolutely a beautiful piece. Rick on piano, a beautiful acoustic guitar accompaniment and very well orchestrated. I love the piece and it could easily be a compliment to "After the Ball" when touring in the classical mode. One of my favorite pieces of any, and my favorite on this recording is the ROCKIN and fun loving piece, Nine Ice Groove. It recalls "Ride of Your Life" from Return and "Never Ending Road" from Fields of Dreams. Excellent fun solos from Rick and rockin' guitar work as well. A lot of the clavinet sound, gets the moog fired up, some great sustain and pitch-bending.. just a happy tune. The next tune is "In the Frame" which seems to have borrowed heavily from the "One Shining Moment" tune that is always played at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament. You know... the highlight reel of still shots, perhaps hence the title. This next tune is another of those that makes the purchase of this CD worth it. Harlem Slalom is a well thought out 3 movement classically oriented piece that incorporates improvisation as well. The first movement has a similar majestic feel and sound to it as "Arthur". The second movement has the string arrangements drawn from Prokofiev with a great acoustic guitar solo to bring the piece into the third movement which takes the themes of the first movement and improvises on them Everyone takes a turn at shaping and reshaping the main theme and returning to it. The final piece, "Frost in Space" begins by evoking the speed and precision of the speed sports.. downhill, speed skating, and then the suspension of sound while flying in the long jump with sustained chords played as a way to change tempo and summarize another event. About halfway through, one of these changes evokes the plodding and ever methodical moving of cross country racing. As I'm sure you realize by now, I really enjoy this CD. I'm sure you'll agree I should stick to my day job as well. It's nice to see new material and not just live or compilation material being released. Having this CD in your collection enhances both your and Rick's value.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Iván Melgar Morey on 9th March 2002 [Other reviews]
25 years, two vinyls, three cassetes and one CD have passed since I bought my first Myths & Legends, and certainly I've never heard a better album. This masterpiece has everything, narration, great chorus, atmosphere and of course the great talent of Rick. The songs have a perfect balance, they go from the epic Arthur to the nostalgic Last Battle. Every progressive fan must have a copy.
A history of Rick played on solo piano, containing tracks originally recorded by the Strawbs, Cat Stevens, Yes, David Bowie and ABWH as well as Rick favourites. This is a beautiful melodic album which can have no better recommendation than the the number of people unaware of Rick's work that it has enchanted.
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.
A near perfect fusion of rock and classical music. The use of both synthesiser and piano is something which Rick (Wakeman)does better than any other artist I have listened to. The album goes from medieval rock to contempory classic in a way that is almost impossible to describe to someone who has not heard Wakeman before but suffice to say that the piano has never sounded better. Ah well, I have tried, go listen for yourself and you will hear what I mean. A masterpiece!
This is the album that first got me in to Rick's music (and consequently Yes). Recorded at the same time as Awaken (my favourite Yes track), this album is Rick's finest. I saw it once on CD (Japanese import), but didn't buy it immediately and it was gone when I went back! Finally found it on vinyl. Judas Iscariot is simply wonderful - the sheer power of the church organ, together with the choir is awesome and beautiful. I'd like to see Rick do more albums like this. Note its place in the favourite albums poll, despite how rare it is.
On this album you'll hear piano,synthesizer and church organ. Judas Iscariot without doubt is the best track with all the above instruments and that amazing church choir. Time may pass but everytime I play this track it is guaranteed to give me goose bumps. I remember hearing Rick playing the church organ when I first heard Awaken and Parallels on the Yes album Going For The One. If you can find this album,BUY IT!
Classical Variations is wonderful! Rick plays 10 great classical piano pieces in his own style; creating new arrangements, or variations, with the quality we expect from Rick. His execution is virtually flawless, and the grand piano itself sounds so good! It is peaceful, strong, sweet... everything a great piano album should sound like. This is an album that should be in every piano lover's collection! "A thing of beauty is a joy forever". Thank you Rick! Please do more of these! We await your piano concerto(s)!!!
My first album of "Wakey". It's simply a (perhaps the best) masterwork. "Catherine Of Aragon" it's a special composition, it's concise, it's spectacular: it's Rick Wakeman. I'm a keyboard player and I can feel everything of all the passion and the genius of Rick. I can't never stop playing "Catherine Of Aragone". Mellotrons, Organs, Grand Piano, Moog Synthetizer are a part of Rick Wakeman and of me. Rick Wakeman will be a part of my heart, life and existenze...for ever. Thanks Wakey.
Really terrific, esspecially Merlin, where Adam and Rick both play on a portable guitar like keyboard, extremely fast! You have to get used to the singer tough, but that is the problem with a lot of Rick's albums. 1984 is great too! It is a very very good buy, as all his dvd's are, and you will get official bootleg live for free along with it!
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).
This recording from a 1976 Old Grey Whistle Test is most of all a lot of fun, in addition to that you get a perfect Catherine Parr, a happy mamma journey excerpt with terrible vocals and wonderful keyboard playing, a good Merlin and Lancelot and last but not least; three great songs from the rare No Earthly Connection album. I heard this album (Live on the Test I mean) was only just deleted from being on sale, I don't know if it is true, try to find a copy nonetheless it is definitely worth the money and the trouble!
Together with Tapestries these two albums form a piece of true piano art! Fast and slow pieces, good for dinner music but also very good for relaxing or intensive listening. Both are "must buy albums" for the piano fans.
Together with Romance of the Victorian Age these two albums form a piece of true piano art! Fast and slow pieces, good for dinner music but also very good for relaxing or intensive listening. Both are "must buy albums" for the piano fans.
For Catherine Howard this version is actually better than the original! This is a beautiful album filled with new and old tracks. It is in a way a "best of piano" album, which is a good initiative I think. For the piano fans it is a real gem, but beware it is by far not as relaxing as Tapestries and Romance of the Victorian Age, it is a quite energetic CD, but truly gorgeous.
This is without doubt the definite A&M seventies compilation! Outstanding in each aspect. Even if you own all the pieces already on the separate albums, this is a must buy because it is just secure to have for example a magnum opus like Judas Iscariot on compact disc (my vinyl version is almost completely transparent, as probably a lot are). To my opinion it should even have been a 3 cd-set! More from the Music Reincarnate e.g. the Warning or the beautiful Reaper - and what about Statue of Justice and the Breathalyser? The CD is an absolute must for all, all the pieces are great and the former vinyl pieces are flawlessly remastered.
I hate the Paint it Black cover, to me the worst thing a musician can do is to cover a rolling stones song, just awful! The rest of the album is surprisingly good, in particular past and present, megalomania and lure of the wild. All the tracks are pure keyboard except jiggajig, that a simple two piano piece, quite nice though. I think it is a nice thing to have in your wakeman collection, not a must, but nice.
The CD starts with a beautiful Pachelbel intro, real nice and easy but the sound is a bit digital. Then comes Birdman of Alcatraz (from Criminal Record), this one is truly as pretty and sweet as it should be, but the original version beats this one. The Wives are good, but again, they do not sound pure enough to my taste. The Nursery Rhyme Concerto is a beautiful fast and funny piece. What can I say about Merlin, I think I have a total of five different versions of it, and they're all good, this one is not the best (it has a kind of Return feel to it). The Beatle tracks are good, better than the piano tour versions. The YES stuff is OK, but I always miss Jon while listening to YES with no one but Rick. The Journey excerpt is relaxing (it's like the instrumental Journey from greatest hits). Clair de Lune is an outstanding Claude Debussy arrangement, although I like the Tapestries version more. The entire CD is really good, but virtually every song is better preformed on the albums they originally came from, that is of course a matter of personal taste so don't let me scare you off, for the piano lovers as for the keyboard lovers it is a beautiful compilation with lots of variety. The only "bad" thing about this album is that they cut out the talking in between. That doesn't take away the beauty of the songs, have fun!
This is the live recording Rick's music has long deserved. The choice of material is inspired, performed by a terrific line-up, and the whole package looks and sounds fantastic. It was recorded on a different night to the "Out of the Blue" album, so you get completely different versions. This well worth buying - fantastic stuff!!
Looking back, this is a great album. It's time "Caesarea" was recognised as a true Wakeman classic. What a fantastic album!!
I love this album. For those who don't know the story behind it, the album features music from the circus Rick and Adam did the music for in the mid 90s. The band performed live for the whole of the first week of the Brighton festival, where the circus was based - a whole week of Rick live!! Lots of great tracks - instrumental and vocal. This is great stuff.
The Private Collection is rather a treasure box for the purists than an ordinary commercial release. It opens with a studio version of "The Battle" (repeat, studio!) done with the original Journey line-up plus the usual extra bits (choir, brass, etc). Most of the other tracks, classical pieces for piano/orchestra, were recorded live during the original Journey concerts - the quality of those recordings is stunning. "Steamhole Dance" and "Warmongers" sound very much like they were left off "Cost Of Living", interesting that these typical Wakeman instrumentals weren't used on the Album. Onn second thought they could have been on "The Burning" too, the backwards piano effect reminds me more of "Cost Of Living" though. The set concludes with "And Now A Word From Our Sponsor", a track that collectors might remember from a vinyl-single B-Side…
The best Rick Wakeman album I've ever heard. I think it has some of the most beautyful piano pieces and arrangements. I love "Birdman of Alcatraz". Just a MASTERPIECE.
Unleashing The Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour by Kevan James on 13th September 2001 [Other reviews]
Although this is a unique recording, you should note two things - the quality is crap and it's a bootleg. It is a straight recording of the original vinyl bootleg and you get the sound of the run-in groove plus the break in the middle of "Journey" where you were supposed to turn the record over. If you must have this, I suggest you hunt down an original vinyl copy or better still, but the DVD/CD pack - at least Rick makes some profit from that!
This is one of a very few albums I loved all the way through the first time I heard it (except for the vocals, but they've grown on me over the past 25 years). I have three copies of it, the orignial LP, a quad LP, and the CD. "Journey" is a major work by a young musician. I really expected Rick's popularity to exceed Elton John's at the time (another young keyboard musician) but I guess the lowest common denominator prevailed. That doesn't take anything away from a truly wonderful piece. Even my parents were impressed by it!
Well what can I say, simply brilliant. I have just finished listening to it, and it really leaves you on a high. My favourite has to be 'Buried Alive' with Ozzy Ozbourne. The keyboard solos with the Mini Moog are absolutely the best I have ever heard!!! If you don't own this album you're missing a big part of Rick's best work, for music cannot get any better!!!
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Live in Concert DVD by Lester on 31st May 2001 [Other reviews]
I received my DVD Journey yesterday and promptly put it in my PC DVD player. 26 years ago I saw the concert in Madison Square Garden in New York City. I remember how great it was and still is. Thank you Rick for taking the time to sign my copy of the DVD. Anyone who is thinking about buying it then do it. A great and talented musician you certainly are Rick!!!
This album offers something for everyone, from Ozzy Osbourne's hard-rocking Buried Alive to the instrumental Dance of a Thousand Lights. And the narrative by Patrick Stewart--well, it's AWESOME! If you're tired of the same old stuff served on a small plate, do yourself a favor and buy this rich platter.
This album is a masterpiece. Rick has chosen 14 of his favourite hymns, and what good choices. One normally associates such tunes with an air of simplicity, however Rick works his magic well and weaves his subtle intricacies throughout. Piano is the main instrument and this is a perfect addition to the "Christmas Variations" album. A timeless selection including "Morning has Broken" which can really be claimed as "Rick’s own" piece.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Tina Hansen on 27th March 2001 [Other reviews]
This album is definitely "fit for a king." It shows the power of a good story with music that anyone can appreciate.
This album is a great way to introduce people to the work on which it is based. It would make a good multimedia show if you could add visuals to it.
How anyone can claim the title track to be the bad I will never know. It is one of Rick's finest Moog presentations. The whole album is solid, there is not a bad track on the album. And yes, tracks like Lax'x do sound like Toppographic Oceans by Yes, cause Rick is using the same keyboard. This album is amongst the finest Rick as ever done and the following album Criminal Records is probably the last desent album Rick ever made of studio work. After which is writing went to pot. The best album after this was a live album, which is Live At Hammersmith.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Samantha Dawn on 5th February 2001 [Other reviews]
As a child I listened to this album. My imagination was brought to life and I was captured by its magic. I am now 33 & 10 months old, and still every time I listen to the tracks it is as if I was listening to it all for the first time. I encourage anyone to listen to the album in its entirety. Everytime you hear it, something new will delight! After playing 2 cassettes to their death and being told I could not get a replacement...I am overjoyed to be able to yet again listen to it again, on CD! Your purchase will be its weight in gold. You will not be disappointed.
This video is none other than fantastic, it has everything a Rick Wakeman fan could want, funny stories, piano pieces, keyboard pieces. I would highly recommend this video to anyone!!!
This is a must for all of Rick's fans new and old. My question is why did it take A&M/Universial Music so long here in States to finally put a Greatest Hits album out in which has been long overdue? All tracks have been digitally re-mastered using 24bit. I think the clarity is simply the best, you can hear it all!. The highlight of the collection is (The Prisoner) this is one of those hard to fine tracks from No Earthly Connection and for me just having this on CD is well worth the price in it's self. And one final note for the record company this should had at least been a double CD with all the outstanding music Rick has made during the A&M years! And to all the fans enjoy this because it is well worth the road trip to the record store where ever it may be! Thank You Rick for all the outstanding music.
This truly was the genesis of Rick Wakeman as a full fledged classical/rock musician. The wonderous mix of musical themes in this album opened my eyes to music in general and to Rick in particular. Because of this album I bought a Korg 800DV synthseiser and began!
What can one say about an album that truly captures the "essence" of the winter olympics. When one hears this album, one is transported to the crystal clear mountains of Austria and flies down the slopes with the competitors. White Rock is the "white" stuff!!
On a biblical scale, this album sums up the very essence of Rock/Classical and Jazz. Rick has managed to mix all these themes together into a truly wonderful "experience". A must for all ages and likes!
This album, the original "Fields Of Green", was released in 1996. It opens with a good rendition of the classic "Starship Trooper", only the percussion programming sounds poor and way too straight, if you have either Bill Bruford's or Alan White's drumming in mind. "The Promise Of Love" is a nice ballad, which could have been on "1984", beautifully sung by Crissie Hammond. Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith shows his skills on "The Spanish Wizard". Generally the album keeps that level - good compositions / production and excellent playing, and even the drum programming improves throughout. It was re-released in 1997 on the Music Fusion label, plus one bonus track. My favourite track: "The Never Ending Road"
Well this is the only Wakeman album I own but it must be the best cos I can't stand a better one. Tracks 2, 5 & 6 are wonderfully arranged numbers, full of finger braking chord changes and flashy solos from Wakeman, plus some solid bass and drum playing by masters Bruford , White and Squire. The conceptual feel and strange Wakeman photo in the booklet adds a degree of quality to this work. Highly recommended to all YES and in fact to all prog fans.
This double CD includes performances from the 1993 Wakeman with Wakeman Tour and features 75% of the set. I saw one of the shows that year - sadly enough the excellent "Suicide Shuffle" and "Sea Horses" are not included here. The band (Rick, Adam, Tony Fernandez and Alan Thomson) are in great shape, and the sound (board-recorded: the bootleg factor) really reflects the atmosphere of the show. Since they didn't have a singer on that tour, "Journey" is 38 minutes all instrumental. "Lure Of The Wild", probably the most powerful track on the album, is probably also one of the most underrated Wakeman compositions. Since 1994, this set has been released in different forms with different titles and artwork, so if you're not one of those "I must have them all" collectors, check the releases before buying them.
Wow...but for the mature power and beauty of Criminal Record, this one would easily have the spot for best Wakeman record ever. This was my introduction to Ricks solo career (I bought it because of the Six Wives medley on the Yessongs video). Catherine of Aragorn starts off the album with the perfect blend of classical and rock; complex and powerful, yet beautiful. Ann of Cleves lacks a bit I'd say given its inclusion on such a inimitably great album, but still is excellent nonetheless. Catherine Howard has beautiful melodies, although now I prefer Ricks version from The Piano Album. I cant remember the next two very well. I believe Jane Seymour has some cool church organ work, but nothing to rival Close to the Edge or Judas Iscariot, or even Going For The One. Anyway, the final piece, Catherine Parr, is an absolute gem. It jams. Rick tears up a Hammond organ with lightning speed, and flies through chord changes without slowing down his insanely out of! control right hand. Unbelievable. I want to learn how to play the organ now! Anyway, this is an excellent piece, and if you dont own it already, I wonder how you managed to find this site. EVERY Wakeman fan, no matter how casual, needs a copy of this album.
Please take note, everyone of you, that the lyrics of the album are not in Italian - it is Neapolitan, so you couldn't be able to understand it even if you are learning Italian. Mario Fasciano is Neapolitan as well - and I think this is why the album is so unique: the baroque, redundant renaissance style of our Rick goes directly into the baroque, redundant mediterranean style of Neapolitan popular music, creating a brand new style that you only can define TRULY progressive. Also note that in Italy the album has been almost completely unsold - strange things happen under the sun of Napoli!
Impressions. The smell of the green chrysanthemums. The white bow on the chlorine field. The bird with wings tightened by the pellucid invisible sticky band. The strong sentimental hands by the pellucid sticky band with confidence. The pearly grey sea. The splashes of surf and the smell of the green chrysanthemums in my room. The music sounds in my blood. The music sounds in myself. The cold from the iron scissors between my shoulder-blades. The white band. The smell of the green chrysanthemums.
This is RW's first major album as a solo artist. The themes reflect character, personality and fate of King Henry VIII's wives as Wakeman tries to describe them musically. The album stands out as one of the prime examples of classic progressive Rock in the seventies and is a must-have for every collector. For further listening check out the excerpts on "Yessongs" and especially the "Jane Seymour" segment, which includes the best mellotron playing I have ever heard.
When I first listened to this, I (like many people) did not like it. This is definately an acquired taste. It was the same way with Yes music for me. The first time I heard Close to the Edge, I was confused and indifferent to the music, but with repeated listenings (thousands and thousands of times!) I now regard it as the best rock composition ever. Now to back to JTTCOTE; this is an addicting album! Rick has a band, orchestra, choir, and narrator perform live on stage for a concert. No overdubs (to my knowledge)! This is impressive, but also contributes to a weak point in the album. The lead vocals. One voice, the softer, higher voice, lacks character and power, while the other more operatic voice that mainly sings harmonies and backups is simply wretched, being just plain flat for most of the album. Not that its really their fault; you have a full orchestra choir and rock band on stage, and you cant expect everything to go just right. But I am for! giving on the vocals and the rather cheesy lyrics, seeing as my aforementioned favorite song ever opens with "a seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace." Ricks keyboards are excellent as ever. He tended to use a LOT of Minimoogs, and he also used a Clav quite a bit. To my dismay he didnt tear up on a Hammond organ very much (if at all), and the Steinway was neglected for most of the album. But overall, it is essential library material if you are a patient Wakeman devotee.
The Very Best of the Rick Wakeman Chronicles Video by Julia Harries on 11th November 2000 [Other reviews]
This is definitely one for the collection! If you didn't have the privilege of seeing Rick live in the early days, you need to get this video to see what you missed. Filmed in Australia in 1975 at a huge venue, it shows the maestro in his flamboyant youth, all flowing hair, sideburns and voluminous spangled cape. Why he never featured in shampoo commercials is beyond me because his hair is in such great condition and he swings it around in true superstar fashion! Performing with the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and the Melbourne Chamber Choir as well as a six piece rock band, Rick dominates the proceedings and looks confident and in control throughout. He tells a couple of anecdotes that are very funny. The whole thing evokes the mood of the time perfectly with Terry Taplin giving it large in true thespian style as he narrates Journey to the Centre of the Earth, complete with giant plastic dinosaurs. Gary Pickford Hopkins is every inch the rock vocalist, lithe and svelte in tight trousers and a lacy shirt, in direct contrast to the more robustly built Ashley Holt. Journey is performed in its entirety and there are two tracks from the then unreleased King Arthur. Three of the Six Wives complete the set list. Particularly good is Catherine Howard that has a good acoustic guitar solo by Jeffery Crampton that includes a snippet of Waltzing Matilda, much to the delight of the Aussie crowd. The mixing is a bit dodgy in places but it doesn't spoil the enormous fun. This is Rick in his heyday and is a great piece of rock nostalgia.
This two cd set was recorded live in front of 8,000 people in Buenos Aires, Argentina during August 1993. On this tour, Rick was accompanied by his son Adam who also plays keyboards, long time collaborator Tony Fernandez on drums and Alan Thomson on Bass. "Lure of the Wild" opens the first cd with an atmospheric intro and some typically dazzling speed playing from Rick. Live regulars "Catherine Howard" and "Catherine Parr" both give him the opportunity to play a bit with the basic pieces, a task he accepts with relish. Rick's arrangement of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby", is wonderful and a great live piece. Highlights from "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur" are played without the vocal accompaniment that makes an interesting change. The second cd is almost entirely devoted to "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and very good it is too. Again, no vocals allows the music to paint the pictures and the arrangements are fantastic. Even if you know "Journey" really well, this live version will give you a whole new perspective on it. Rick's interpretation of "Paint it Black" the Rolling Stones hit, is the last track on the cd and is absolutely stunning. Throughout, it's practically note perfect and as the sleeve notes say, no jiggery-pokery has been done to the recording at the mastering stage so you can be assured this is exactly as the audience heard it. Rick Wakeman is at his very best in front of an audience and this cd proves it in great style.
Open this video with a fabulous Rodney Matthews cover and you have a live performance recorded in an outdoor amphitheatre in Caesarea, Israel in 1988. It starts at sunset and the backdrop to the performance is a tranquil beach. Rick, soberly dressed in a black suit and wing collar shirt with sparkly dicky bow, looks really great and the performance is lovely. The story of Jesus Christ is narrated capably by Robert Powell both live and in the intercut scenes out and about in the Holy Land. This gives the video an interesting dimension and adds texture to the musical performance. Rick performs with the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Eton College Chapel Choir and Ramon Remedios and the whole show is delightful. Regulars David Paton and Tony Fernandez are also in evidence. There are good shots of Rick playing and although his performance in this show is obviously more restrained than his rock shows, it's good to see him perform in this style. Highlights for me are the charming "Welcome a Star", Rick's great twiddly bits in the style we know and love on "The Baptism", "The Lords Prayer" which Ramon Remedios does brilliantly and "Children of Mine" which combines a terrific melody with great playing by Rick and vocals by Ramon.
This concert was recorded in 1991 and is just Rick and David Paton performing a set that includes some great pieces in a classical style. The set starts with the ever brilliant "Merlin" and goes on to "After the Ball" which Rick introduces with the bowel-loosening story of how he "wrote" it. The brilliant arrangement of "Summertime" is just perfect followed by the lovely "Sea Horses" and then Rick's Prokofiev-style "Eleanor Rigby" which just gets better the more you hear it. David Paton contributes gifted guitar accompaniment throughout but his contribution to "Eleanor" is outstanding. The set finishes with a selection from "1984" including the superb "Hymn" and a great version of "Julia". The blurb on the box promises more of Rick's anecdotes than the video actually delivers, which is a bit of a disappointment if you were expecting to have a laugh as well as hear great music, but the stories he does tell are delivered in his inimitable style. Well worth acquiring, not only for the fantastic music but also for the interesting trousers Rick's wearing!
This recording contains a selection of Rick Wakeman's compositions and two of his best covers, all performed in a classical style. "Eleanor Rigby" has been arranged by Wakeman in the style of his favourite composer Prokofiev and gives the listener not only a virtuoso performance by the maestro but also a brilliant accompaniment by David Paton on guitar. It's as close to a duet as you can get. The wonderfully gentle "Birdman of Alcatraz" has been rearranged from the now unavailable "Criminal Record". "Summertime" by Gershwin is another triumph of interpretation and is a perfect lazy Summer Sunday afternoon track. "Farandol" was recorded in 1971 during the recording sessions for Wakeman's first solo album "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and is special because it features Steve Howe on guitar, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums. It's only short but it's a real fun piece. All the tracks are good but one other that stands out for me is "Art and Soul". It's a piano piece with digital orchestral accompaniment, which is just brilliant.
If you have seen the 'Keys to ascension' DVD issued last month, on which Rick plays with his former Yes colleagues, you may have been dissapointed at the crude visuals and 70's style effects. I am very pleased to say the this concert, taken from the 'Evening with....' tour, has been well filmed, directed and edited. It is a pleasure to watch and even better to hear. Unlike K.T.A., there are no effects and the camerawork is sensitive and sensible with many shots being taken from a 'crane' providing the viewer with unrivalled views of Rick's keyboard skills. Indeed, the view is far superior to that which I had during a concert on the very same tour....even from the 3rd row! The sound should be excellent. The DVD claims to carry Dolby Digital 5.1 along with analogue Dolby Surround. The concert is a must for all Wakeman fans. It captures the live performance in all it's detail, making the atmosphere of the evening almost tangible. The set is interspersed with Rick's "witty" stories, each serving as an introduction to the following piece. The music is excellent; Rick at his best! It brought back the memory of a wonderful evening with selections from the past 3 decades.
Ten carols - If ever you need the traditional feel to this season ( even if it starts in February for some ! ) this is the way to mellow in spite of the hassle that passes for the modern Christmas. From Silent Night to Angels from the Realms of Glory, every well known melody is given a simple, effective and atmospheric performance. This may be 2 kilos of Persil to some, it may not be available until Feb. 2001 to others, if you can, buy it, do the Christmas shopping, put the shopping aside, play this and be restored that this is the season of goodwill to all.
What a bonus! A free DVD or CD whatever your preference. The DVD is superb. A polished performance at Malborough College. The DVD is really good value with the CD thrown in for free. The production and editing is first rate.The extras just add to the enjoyment. If you had the privilidge to see Rick on this tour a great momento.
This is perhaps the best pure piano album Rick has ever released. It is soft and melodic, but intense and fast as well. Therefore it is quite varied and never boring. It reminds me of the great Rick compositions; tracks like for instance "Caesarea" from "Wakeman with Wakeman". This album has a more "grandiose" feel than most of Rick's pure piano albums.
This recording contains a selection of Rick Wakeman's compositions and two of his best covers, all performed in a classical style. Eleanor Rigby has been arranged by Rick in the style of his favourite composer Prokofiev and gives the listener not only a virtuoso performance by the maestro but also a brilliant accompaniment by David Paton on guitar. It's as close to a duet as you can get. The wonderfully gentle Birdman of Alcatraz has been rearranged from the now unavailable Criminal Record. Summertime by Gershwin is another triumph of interpretation and is a perfect lazy Summer Sunday afternoon track. Farandol was recorded in 1971 during the recording sessions for The Six Wives of Henry VIII and is special because it features Steve Howe on guitar, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums. It's only short but it's a real fun piece. All the tracks are good but one other that stands out for me is Art and Soul. It's a piano piece with digital orchestral accompaniment, which is just brilliant.
I close my eyes and my body becomes adrift , floating to the Isle of Man. There, they are waiting for me, the Chronicles of the master Wakeman, glorious relaxation, a moment of contemplation, time has ceased its passage. The Steinway in Wakeman`s hands sounds uplifting, one can hear tunes that recall a whisper of the island`s history, this music touches the imagination. Having been in such a state for an hour, I return from that voyage into reality. Someday I must visit the Isle of Man.
Rick Wakeman's live playing on this CD is vivid and energetic, with some snappy drumming and fluid lead guitar as support. But, and its a big but, the songs are ruined by the singing. Ashley Holt is unimaginative and his voice is so raucous I begin to wonder if he was a heavy smoker. With a more reflective, sensitive singer this would have been a lovely momento of a live Rick Wakeman concert. Pity.
Overall this album has some lovely music and the digital production is outstanding. It is best listened to on a good hi-fi a few times (and not all at once) as it grows on you. The singers are very well matched to their respective songs - I personally like "Mr.Slow" from newcomer Tony Mitchell but among the six songs there's something to appeal to all tastes. Some of the lyrics are provocatively thoughtful. Rick's keyboards are spine-tingling when he enters with his extended solos over the choir and orchestra. The narration, needless to say, from Patrick Stewart, is beautifully spoken accompanied by hushed keyboard textures. My only reservation about this performance is the English Chamber Choir - they acquit themselves well and obviously put a lot of work into it, but they are of the older "big choral society" school. I would have preferred a fresher choir with younger sounding voices. However this is just a small quibble and is really a matter of individual taste. This album should be viewed as a landmark of modern music and is a great achievment for Rick Wakeman - Congratulations.
This album is interesting for a couple of reasons. The fact that it includes some of Rick's funniest between song anecdotes (lager powered, by all accounts) and some pretty awesome keyboard work on the classic synths that we all love makes it a worthy listen. The sound quality is pretty standard for the period (1976), recorded during Rick's first leave of absence from Yes, and his piano sounds a bit distorted. The vocals are a little off at times, and the brass does nothing for Catherine Parr. But it's Rick that comes through best, and let's face it, that's what we all want isn't it?
Rick's first solo release, and the fact that nearly thirty years after it's initial release, it still sounds fresh and exciting is testiment to the sheer quality of the composition and performance that Rick achieved. Any Yes fans who delight in Fragile and Close to The Edge and haven't heard this must do so...it's still around! In all honesty, it must be said that Six Wives was the record that got me into Rick's music, and then Yes in the first place. Simply remarkable.
This is the first of Rick's pure piano albums, released in 1986. I generally like Rick's pure piano albums, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. I regard it as the weakest album of this category (I haven't heard "Romance of the Victorian age" yet, though). It is very calm and quiet, so much in fact, that it gets a bit boring. If you're into this type of music, buy "Heritage suite" or "The piano album", or "Tapestries", instead.
This is a really thrilling, pure piano piece. If you like Rick's pure piano albums, then this is it. Perhaps his best pure piano work. The tunes are sometimes fast and thrilling, sometimes slow and relaxing. This creates variation, so that the album avoids being boring.
This album is among Rick's best 80s work, and shows us the man thinking big again, like in the mid-70s. The sound is very different though, due to new synthesizer technology and Ramos Remedios' voice. The narration and the choir are both in place, but the orchestra is missing. However, Rick's doing a very decent job, making all the instrumental sounds himself. The music is generally good on this album. All in all, it is a Wakeman album a fan should possess.
The follow-up to "Black knights in the court of Ferdinand IV" is, like its predessessor a nice and melodic album. Ten years have passed since the last album with Mario Fasciano, and the sounds have improved. This album has got a more superb and elaborated sound. The songs, however, can be a bit less interesting - except for the title track "Stella Bianco", which is the absolute gem of these albums. This track alone could justify this album. And the rest are quite nice as well.
Rick Wakeman's BEST Record! (Although possibly tied with Six Wives of Henry VIII for that title.) An EXCELLENT album, showing Rick Wakeman's diversity extremely well. Statue of Justice starts on some jazzy piano stuff and eventual dives into some Hammond organ pyrotechnics reminiscent of Catherine Parr. Birdman of Alcatraz is a beautiful piano piece with gorgeous melodies. Judas Iscariot is a wonderfully deep piece, using a church organ and choir. Rather dark, albeit excellent. Overall probably his best work in my eyes.
Absolutely beautiful! I ordered this from President Records in the UK (I'm from the US), and although I do not own a massive Wakeman collection (yet), it is one of my favorites. Stand-out track is #2, the Abbey Garden. Breath-taking interaction between the melody and chord progression. Very relaxing, a wonderful piano album. There are occasionally some string overdubs, but it is mainly Rick massaging your ears with his Steinway prowess. Top-notch stuff, really.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Alexander Lopez on 5th October 2000 [Other reviews]
This is an album I'd choose to make a "Les Miserables" style theatre show, complete with dialogues and dances. Although Metallica and Scorpions have done this "rock band meets the symphonic orchestra" gig recently, if you purchase "The Myths and Legends..." first, you'll agree with me that those Men In Black rockers needed more training before attempting this kind of work.
Hi I am Brandon I am an almost 12 year old boy. This particular album helped me in 3 projects for school. I got an A+ on each. I put on a song while I presented it to the class, they were all blown away because they listen to Eminem and all this other crud. Thanks Rick
If Rick had performed this in the time of Medieval Britain he would have blown them away with this one. For us it awakens the spirit of history. A fine performance of classical meets rock virtuosos embellished with Rick's typical trills and frills with carefully crafted interlacing of majors and minors. One or two surprises though, a sprinkling of synthesised strings and possibly a mix up of titles between The Seige and Castle Rushen. If any of us ever wondered if Rick might have come from another planet, then this album confirms it! I aspire to his mastery of the instrument.
Some people say, the cover-art of this record is probably described best as: how low can you get (and they mean the inside of the Gatefold sleeve). Others have asked me, if Wakeman has ever been in Abba. That's "Rhapsodies" judged by the cover. From the inside, the view is quite different: 1979, Mountain Studios Montreux, Tony Visconti producing - what a mixture. The set: 17 tracks, all instrumental; a fantastic rhythm section and a lot of synths; nice melodies and some typically funny solo-ing. Somebody has mentioned an attempt at "easy-listening". Piano-indulgers check out "Summertime". All others I heavily recommend "Bombay Duck" - so am I really the only one to vote this song No.1??? Overall this Album must have been great fun in the making (credits-section)and it is listening to. Track down a vinyl copy, I don't think it will ever be released on CD.
Recently listened to JTHCOTE after many years. Yesterday found the Return CD. I have not stopped playing it. From "the Return Overture" to the breathless "the Kill" to "the End of the Return", this is a masterpiece. Perfect. flawless and pure.
Being both a fan of Jules Verne and Yes, I much enjoy this classic from Rick Wakeman. Rick's keyboard playing meshes quite well with the orchestra. The vocals are somewhat light and some of the lyrics are a little cheesy. However, I find anyway, that this lends a certain charm and cosmic spacey-ness to the recording. To my ears, in some sections, the choir is a little overdone but that's not a bad thing in the genre of prog-rock. The narration is most excellent. I believe some of the narrative comes verbatim right from Verne's novel itself(?) - nice touch! This disc makes for great Lava-Lamp listening! For fans of Yes (and other prog-rockers), as well as Jules Verne's classic sci-fi story, I would definitely recommend this disc.
Oh boy, was I dissapointed after receiving both the video and the CD. High expectations after reading his book "Say Yes" drove me to buy this work of Rick Wakeman, but after 5 minutes my expectations decended to a new low record. With the rock opera Jesus
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Remy Struli on 5th July 2000 [Other reviews]
This album is very English and pompous, that's why I like it a lot. It has also good humour on it, at some places it reminds me always of Monty Python's Holy Grail Movie and it's also very emotional: In "The Last Battle", where the narration begins, I always nearly have to cry...Here lies King Arthur...blimey, my heart stops...Thanks, Rick.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Boran Kartal on 30th June 2000 [Other reviews]
This album is a great collage of orchestral music and progressive rock. It is one of the greatest LPs that I've ever listened to. Solo partitions by Wakeman are amazing; they take you to another world.
If your looking for a follow up to Rick's "Airs" trilogy I suggest you buy this cd. It definitely highlights Rick's "classical prowess" on the piano. A truly excellent cd!!
This has been my favourate album since I was under 5 years old. If you haven't yet bought it, buy it. The orchestration is magnificent as is Rick's keyboard playing. Best album in the world ever.
WHY ISN'T THIS ALBUM AVAILABLE ON CD?! This is pure wakeman at his finest. It may sound dated, but this makes it better. I am only 16 and I love it. The lyrics are very interesting. There is a story about humanity and their music. There are even references to Plato. If you are a fan of early Wakeman then you will love this album.
The first cd in this two disk set of previously released material is excellent. The first track, The Opening Line, is a electric piece with great vocals. The third track, Megalomia is an interesting recording with Rick's son. The track Three Wives has excellent guitar and the synthesizers sound inspiring. And a good piano track, Fremiet's Cat ends the first cd. The second cd continues with sythesizer tracks and graceful piano music.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Dylan Groot on 5th June 2000 [Other reviews]
With this album, Rick Wakeman truly gives a new dimension to the King Arthur legend. The music is so bravely formed, that it's hard not to get dragged into the realm only Wakeman is able to create. The combination of rock and classical music is just perfect. From the romantic sound of "Guinevere" to the agressive and powerful "Sir Lancelot And The Black Knight". There are not many artists who can give sounds to legends, Wakeman makes the exception and proves he's the true Keymaster. If Merlin had transformed himself into a song, this is what he would sound like...
This album is quite nice, with some very nice and melodic pieces. If you want Rick to play nice SONGS, then this is one of the obvious albums to go for. The singer is ok, and the arrangements as well. But the strongest part of the album is truly the melodies. Very few Rick fans have noticed this album. Perhaps they should.
I love this album!!!!!! This album makes Rick the Beethoven of our time!!! Every damn piece is written by Rick himself! I just don't believe it, great orchestration and choir. Rick plays the keyboards with his magic fingers as always. This one has more complex music than the Return of the Centre of the Earth, that's why I like this album more than the Return. The narration is cool too...
A very fun record!! Rick treats this well-known songs like if they were his owns. Its sound is not complex. Accompanied by suberb guitarist Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, the themes and their variations get a very special effect, it's not like to hear these famous tunes one more time but to hear them refreshned. Rick plays like always, including Mini Moogs and Piano to draw the main melodies. Even Stuart Sawney's electronic drums sound very nice here. A great album to hear, specially "Blackbird", "Help", "Norwegian Wood" & "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
I bought this album the day before new year's eve. I'd heard quite a lot of Wakeman albums, but seeing as they're all so different, I didn't really know what to expect. But HOT DAMN! As soon as I heard the overture, I knew I was in for a good time. It was such strong and well arranged music. So many emotions. By the end, I felt as if I'd visited a magical land. This is in my opinion a far better album than Yes "The Ladder". And the evening I first listened to R.T.T.C.O.T.E was much more memorable than the actual new year's eve 2000. How about that?
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Carol Vance on 27th April 2000 [Other reviews]
This particular album is one of Rick Wakeman's finest works. Although it was regarded in the mid '70's as a colorful spoof with mediocre quality, I must thoroughly disagree. In studying the themes and contrapuntal texture, not to mention the addition of a stylized classical rock mixture, this album should be re-released and marketed for a new generation of music connoisseurs that appreciate true musical talent and not merely a beat with clever words thrown in. Guinevere is my favorite track as well.
Another piano album. As for most of Rick's piano albums, "Preludes" is nice and gentle, and perfect for relaxation. It was a bit disappointing, though, because I miss the really strong compositions. Most tracks on this album are nice but not great. "Preludes" is quite inferior compared to albums like "The Piano Album" or "Tapestries".
Definitelly NOT boring at all. This LP is full of energy with all kinds of instruments. A MUST! It's classical, it ROCKS, it's progressive, etc.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Reniet Ramirez on 12th April 2000 [Other reviews]
It's a strange album if you were expecting to hear Rick the way he plays on YES. But take the time, it's worth it. It's a very nice way to learn the history of King Arthur.... It's definitely a classic!
I really love when Rick plays with a whole band with electric guitars and everything. This is a perfect album if you want to hear him rockin' in full speed. The guitar solos are very, very good. Try "Three Wives" first, to taste it.
It contains one of the most INCREDIBLE performances, "Past & Present". This live version is a lot better that the original. To the point were it inpired my brother to write a story for a movie. On the other hand I don't think that songs like "Journey..." should be played instrumentally.
It's nice to hear Rick playing his versions of some YES songs. Also a song like "Gone but not forgotten" had made me cry almost everytime I hear it. But I don't think it's right to call this a Hits album when 50% of it is "Journey..." divided in small INSTRUMENTAL pieces.
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".
Finally!!!! After Rick playing for OZZY OSBOURNE on "Sabbath, Bloddy Sabbath" & "OZZMOSIS", Now what a lot of fans have been waiting for, OZZY sings for Rick. On the song "Buried Alive". Great song, great album, a MASTERPIECE.
This marvellous recording is in my opinion very overlooked and underated to say the least. This masterpiece by the undisputed King and Prince of the Keyboard Kingdom is a wide variety of different sounds which will evoke a myriad of feelings from the listener. Some of the highlights of this recording are the songs "Dylic", the melodic and breathtaking "Children of Chernobyl", the get you out of chair and up dancing "Jungle", "Is it Spring", and "It's your Move." In addition to these excellent songs Rick and Adam once again demonstrate their committment to the causes of those less fortunate than ourselves with the heart breaking song "Dream the World Away" which speaks to the terrible tragedy of child neglect and abuse. Please do not overlook this stellar work by the Wakemans because it is just too incredible and powerful to not have in your RW and AW collection.
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with most of the reviews of this album. I think that Rick should NOT have named it "Return to the Centre of the Earth", but "Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Haven't we already done this before?" I think the whole
I am an 11 year old boy and I love the masterpiece Judas Iscariot. It reminds me of Sunday in Church because of the Wonderful Church Organs this song not only relieves stress but also sends a spiritual sensation in the air! This is a great album if you want to be relaxed of stress.
Simply the best solo album of his career! A complex mix of classical orchestration, choir, solo vocals, and rock instrumentation. Rick suggested that this album may be the pinnacle of his career and I whole-heartedly agree! Some of his works with with Yes (such as Awaken) are still beyond compare. But, to anyone that has enjoyed his music through the years, you must get this album.
This album is probably the most flowing and beautiful (purely solo) piano that I have heard. Unusually it is terrific as both soothing background or stirring when played at volume. It is an album that takes you soaring through musical highs, places you gently down and then before you know it you are irresistably lifted up again and carried on through the tracks, never overpowering but always moving. This CD is constantly on since I bought it and will probably be so for a long time to come. More please!
This 2-cd features some good and some not so good Wakeman songs... it gives me the impression that Silent Nights probably sucks, as well as Live at Hammersmith and the single Light up the Sky... Rock 'n' Roll Prophet Plus seems good, as well as the piano albums reflected on this album... it gives you a good over-look of the music that (I think?) are on the albums... this is a not so important collaboration, but any Wakeman fan wanting the "Light up the Sky" single should get this... the bear from Light up the Sky was quite good, btw... the songs from Zodiaque are not so good...this 2-cd doesn't feature the most important Wakeman tracks, at least not the greater versions of these...
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Max Hult on 6th March 2000 [Other reviews]
This is the greatest symphonic rock album I've heard from Rick, although I'm longing to hear No Earthly Connection... a perfect record for introducing listeners to Wakeman's music... this is one of the only musts in Rick's collection of records, as it contains the most important pieces like Arthur, Merlin and The Last Battle... Lancelot is great too, although I prefer the version on King Biscuit, which contains additional trumpet melodies and so on... don't miss this one!
This is probably the greatest of piano albums I've heard from Rick... I find it better and more varying than Romance of the Victorian age as well as Preludes to a Century... if you're into Rick playing the piano, this album is definitively a must have... I don't think it contains any relatively "weak" parts, as most of Rick's other albums, check it out if you get the opportunity.
This is the same recording as "almost live in europe" and "best of... live" Be sure not to buy more than one of the recordings... btw, you'll find best of live at amazon.com for 5 dollars, which is not so expensive...
This album is very good, overall... though I don't like the instrumentation (drums and percussion)... the sound is quite plastic at times... the live versions on "In Concert" are much better... Voyage contains the 4 best tracks of this album, not Catherine Parr though :(... Anne of Cleves is the weakest point on this album... either way you choose, Jane Seymour & Anne Boleyn mustn't be missed as they are two of the greatest Wakeman-tracks...
Great album, not as good as Arthur and Return though... My first impression of this album was not very good, but it's like most other Wakeman-albums, the more you listen the more you like it... If you're thinking of buying Journey, I can recommend Voyage instead, since it contains the whole Journey plus you get the best of his earlier albums for just a few bucks more...
Not so great, but containing a few goodies... the song "White Rock" is one of the worst Wakeman songs I've heard... White Rock needs to be re-released on CD, so as to allow some of the tracks to be programmed out... I believe you should see the movie along with the music, to get the point, though i can't find it anywhere...
I was really lucky to find this vinyl in perfect condition, with a promo stamp on it, for a low cost... this is a really entertaining album, with many great tracks... this album seems to be underestimated, as almost no tracks appear on any "greatest" record... Voyage contains "Judas Iscariot", though, which I think is the highlight of this Criminal Record... Rick's accompanying piano playing through the album is truly great, but this album contains a few weaker points too...
Great piano album! It's more varying than Rick's "Preludes", since half of the tracks are Adam's... Preludes seem to be too much of the same style, Romance is not as monotonous... the first track on Romance should really be placed on another recording though...
I am a private music teacher of classical guitar, music theory, music history and era training in Costa Rica. I found allways Mr. Wakeman's compositions of a high quality, but this CD is superb. In Central America we love british oratorios (specially Handel's); but after 250 years we witness the true reborn of this musical genre, in its most pure structure, but in a contemporary language. Who is the most important British composer of the XX century? Is it Frederick delius, is it, Vaughan Williams, is it Benjamin Britten?. Sorry, it's Rick Wakeman. In 100 years I think "Edipus Rex" by Stravinsky and "Return to the Center of the Earth" by Wakeman are the best examples of contemporary oratorios. Thank You, Rick.
If you would like to take a journey to Italy while relaxing in your own home just sit back and listen to this breahtaking masterpiece by Rick and Mario Fasciano. The melodies are simply wonderful, Mario's vocals which are sung in Italian are truly magnificent and the whole theme of this work is reminiscent of the type of music that you would hear if you were walking in the streets of Milan or Genoa. All of the tracks are soothing and highly interesting at the same time but my absolute favorite is the instrumental "Romance Naploi." If you would like something different by Rick which will take your mind away to far off and romantic places I highly recommend this Cd to you.
By far his best compilation-album... #2 place of all Wakeman cd's, it contains the full "Journey", the 3 most important tracks of "Arthur", the best 4 of "6 Wives" and some other great tracks like After the Ball, Summertime, Temperament of Mind (from a Strawbs concert), and "The Maker" from No Earthly Connection... Negative, though, are 5 of the other tracks, they lower the CD quite much... Better program your CD-player... Lancelot and the Black Knight should've been on it too to retain the record's style... I recommend In Concert as an accessory to get the complete "best of" wakeman... In Concert has 8 tracks on it, i think all of them are better than the original versions... That's my all time favourite...
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Phill Emmerson on 21st February 2000 [Other reviews]
Who so pulleth out this album from the record shelves shall be the true born listener of a classic album, this is an album everyone should have, reviews do not do Arthur justice, just buy it and listen. 9/10
This is undoubtedly one of Rick's greatest works, combined with the powerful voice of the great Ashley Holt, how could this not be a materiece, ahead of its time when released it loses none of its magic in a new milennium, best track on album is The Lost Cycle. Oh whatever happened to albums that gave you a free piece of tin foil???
It was with eager anticipation I waited for this album, on first listening I was a little dissapointed, surely Rick had not gone the Mike Oldfield way, let's hope not. Let Journey rest as the masterpiece it is, no Journey 3 please, one good thing about Return is The Dance of a Thousand Lights, 4/10
Maybe it is not a Wakeman's classic but it's surely a classical Wakeman, which I like. Reminds me sometimes of some of his better piano passages from the seventies. Comparing this to his other piano works it sounds fresh with some moments of passion. I believe that this world needs good piano albums but on the other hand is such a release predictable and reliable. Thanks God there's something around to rely on. Everyone enjoying Wakeman playing grand piano should get one copy. That says it all. My fave melody here is Seasons of change, light as a feather, with passages full of energy and virtuosity. In no way do I find this one boring. I'd even tend to agree with President Records calling this "his finest piano work to date".
Good new age album, but I would call the keyboard-sound as bad. The music is good, but at times it's too unvaried. A fan might buy it, but it won't catch a new listener's attention. I would recommend Adam's "Real World"-trilogy instead of this, because the sounds on that album are excellent. I'm not a very experienced new age-listener, so i can't really tell which one is better musically, but since the first impression of "Real World" was better than "Sunrise", I kinda stuck with it.
Not capturing my attention as much as Romance of the victorian age, though... I don't think there's any track which really "stands out". An album perfect for the afternoon nap, and definitely worth the money.
A review of a Rick Wakeman album, what an opportunity! For me there can only be one choice. No Earthly Connection (NEC) rescued me from the mainstream of AM radio music. It was my first real rock album ever and it made me a Wakeman fan instantly. In fact, that was how I became a YES fan - when I discovered that Rick played with them. I realize that this was probably the reverse of most peoples' experiences. I first purchased NEC on 8-track in 1977. Even that foul medium couldn't hide the magic within. From the opening barrage of synthesizer/organ and other worldly choral arrangements of The Warning to the frantic harpsichord of The Prisoner, this album has been one of my favorites for over 20 years. This was the first album I’d heard that blended classical instruments and choral arrangements with a rock band and sheer keyboard wizardry. That’s what really grabbed me. I’d heard Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Jean Michele Jarre but that stuff left me unsatisfied. This album was on another plane. It’s like a perfect meal from appetizer to dessert. This album is lyrical, melodic, technically brilliant and accessible. When required the music is foreboding and dark like in The Prisoner or introspective like The Realisation or even otherworldly with strange tonal colours like The Lost Cycle but it never loses continuity. I particularly like the use of the honky tonk piano in that piece. It has a surreal, ghostly kind of sound. Summing it up, it’s a great album by a great artist and it’s a shame that A&M don’t have the broader view required for them to see that this work should be available on CD (same goes for White Rock and Criminal Record). Perhaps with the advent of personal CD burners for PCs and high quality sound cards people like us can carefully transfer the remaining, listenable vinyl originals to CD. Thanks Rick. If your theory of music being important to your afterlife is true then I’m sure that The Maker is quite pleased with you. (By the way, with the advent of the PC and .wav files I now know what the people talking backwards in The Maker are saying. ; )
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Stephen McKinley on 25th January 2000 [Other reviews]
Although this album is now a quarter of a century old, it still sounds as good now as the day I first heard it all those years ago. Wakeman gave imagery to the Arthur mystic that no film or miniseries has ever been able to create. Every track is still a winner, but Merlin is, and probably always will be, one of the best instrumentals of last century. A must have album for all!
Disc one is a bit too soft. The Journey is very good, musically. What's not so good about this 2-cd is the sound. It sounds as if Wakeman played through some MIDI program on the computer. Merlin the Magician is far from as good as the original, but still quite nice. You really miss an orchestra, or at least a band, throughout the whole album.
This album misses the big set of instruments that Rick used in earlier days, like Journey and Arthur. Ashley's voice is not as good as it use to be either. What's good about this album is "The Prisoner", where Rick shows his great ability of playing the keyboard in baroque-style, As voice fits nicely. The tracks on the Arthur and the Wives sections are put together in a different way, quite nice to hear as a change from the original albums. The best point of the album is "Jane Seymour" which is very different from the original, with great rock/heavy metal-guitar added. For more richful instrumentation, check out the "King Biscuit"-album.
Rick has rearranged the "journey"-parts very nicely. The whole album is performed in a "journey"-like way, with a trombone and a trumpet added. The way Rick fits the instruments with tracks like "lancelot & the black knight" and "anne boleyn" is great for a change, i like them better than the original versions. If you like when Rick plays classical piano, you should check out the "anne boleyn"-outro, where he improvises a lot and extends the outro to about 2 minutes. Merlin the magician is the weakest point of the album, the mics seem not to pick up the lower frequenzies of rick's synth-solo very good, so there's a big lost. Ashley's voice is better than ever, he sings the "forest"-part perfectly (where gary's voice cracks on the original journey)
Generally I don't like Albums without personnel-credits, but this one is an exception, because Wakeman Fans can guess them anyway, or at least try to. 'African Bach' features 10 tracks, shorter than usual, and is kept in a song-based form. Vocals are handled by Ashley Holt, bass and guitars (I hope, I'm right) by the outstanding Dave Paton. The overall theme of the Album is the 'suffering of mankind and his inhumanity toward his fellow man' (sleeve notes), which is a new theme in Wakeman's recording career. 'African Bach' also marks the beginning of Mr.Wakeman using drum-computers for his recordings, although I'm not sure if the one or the other track features Tony Fernandez on drums.
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.
Having had my White Rock album stolen, I was amazed to find this in my record store. The description on the back of the cover described it as a "rescored" White Rock. Although I could never describe any Wakeman album as bad, it is not in the same league as White Rock. There are no haunting themes and beautiful piano melodies in II. The tracks seem to be all vaguely similar to each other with no jewels such as "After the Ball".
One of the greatest recordings of all time in my humble opinion. This masterpiece by Rick is, simply put, a breath taking array of spritual songs which give me the chills every time I listen to it. The band, vocals by the ever great Chrissie Hammond, Rick's use of different keyboards and the infusion of the choir create a feeling of peace, hope, and inspiration. Highly recommended to anyone who is spritually inclined or not, because the music alone will just sweep you away.
This BBC recording features the English Rock Ensemble in all their glory. They all must have had some drinks before the show. Off course they're promoting "No earthly connection" with the inclusion of 3 songs from the Album. The mix is typical "radio", but not bad. If you like Rick's legendary announcements, this is definetly the right CD for you. And don't miss John Dunsterville's Johnny Cash parody! All in all: a great mixture of good live music (some nice mellotron playing) and a lot of fun!
Aons ago, I performed 'White Rock' in a H.S. talent show with the music lab's ARP Odyssey, going nuts with the sample/hold generator half way through the song and flailing it about in a psychotic freny. The crowd went nuts. A great memory! Thanks, Rick!
Just got the album today. I have put it on "Repeat" Mode in the CD player!! Blew my brains out, when I heard some of the stuff. Infact, the whole album has an underlying Baroque feel to it. Kinda reminds one of J.S. Bach. But you can't take away the brilliance that hits you every time you listen to the album. The section between the first 22nd to 30th seconds of "Catherine of Aragon" has been ripped off by Iron Maiden and used in the intro to their piece "Mother Russia". Bravo, Mr Wakeman- A masterpiece!! Though I wonder why the stuff that he has composed with YES isn't half as brilliant!
A great concept album. I remember reading the novel when I was a kid in school. The album blows me away just as much as the book did. Makes you nostalgic of the old times!! The music interspersed with the narrative provides a good scenic texture to the whole body of work. A brilliant piece of music!!
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Sanjeev Raman on 25th November 1999 [Other reviews]
Picked up this album today along with "Journey....Earth" and "The Six wives ........". It is truly mindblowing. Calling it brilliant may be considered an understatement. Though I don't really like the vocals on it. They sound tired. But on the whole, a masterpiece. "Merlin the Magician" gets top ranking among the tracks.
While Country Airs is easily Rick's most beautiful solo piano album, please beware the re-recorded CD version. The sweetness and inspiration of the original is absolutely destroyed on the re-issue. Scrounge the first LP or CD and you will be rewarded with his most eloquent melodies and a lovely, heartfelt performance.
This is by no doubt the masterpiece of a musician who is a milestone in progressive rock history. Though I prefer to listen to his genius with the band Yes I still recommend this album, in particular to those who are familiar with Yes and the other 1970s progressive giants. Its progressive virtuoso pieces, which are an integral part of this album, are those musical elements which in my view have helped Wakeman to earn the reputation of being a match for other music wizards such as Vangelis and Mike Oldfield. And to make it very special, Wakeman has also employed Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Bill Bruford from his former band Yes, thus preserving the progressive elements of that era and make it more listener-friendly to die hard hard Yes fans like me. All in all, this is a prequisite for any serious music collection - go and get it!!
I had high hopes with this one. The cover looked just right. And well - this is Rick trying to meet the 90s but still keeping one foot back in the 70s. The arrangements are nice - and some of the instrumental parts are quite good. The songs, however, are simply a bit monotonous and boring. The great exception though, is "Hymn of Hope", which is truly a great song. It is placed at the end - but the question remains: Is really all well that ends well?
I attended a concert of "Journey" years ago and was floored by the performance. Unbelievable!! When I heard of the "Return", I hunted down a copy, knowing that I would not be disappointed. I wasn't. It's Awesome!! One of the best compositions I've heard in years. THANKS RICK.
Astonishing beautiful musical pieces. A must for every Wakeman fan.
I think this was a good effort, it has many good bits and pieces, but as a whole it seems incoherent to me and I can't stand the vocalists. Maybe it would have sounded better in the studio.
A nice piece of happy instrumental music, not more, not less. Partly interesting, partly illustrating, the ideal CD to accompany a sunday walk or a drive through your favourite landscapes during colder seasons. My favourite is "Dancing on Snowflakes", this little beauty. I'm afraid this one won't sell like it's better relative album buts it's worth listening though.
If you want to know where Wakeman came from, this is the album for you. Featuring a large selection of classical (Swan Lager) and jazz (Rhapsody in Blue) influences, "Rhapsodies" plays a successful link between the Wakeman of pre and post Arthur. An important addition to any collection.
The A-side of this album is quite weak, but alright. It sounds like a collection of outtakes from "White rock" or "Criminal record" - tracks not good enough to be included on those albums. But still they are not exactly terrible. The B-side is, however. The B-side is more or less uninteresting movie effects.... All in all, this album is among Rick's worst work.
This album could have been "1984 II". Tim Rice has written the lyrics, and the two albums are very similar. If you like one of them, you'll probably also like the other. "Cost of living" also reminds me of "Silent nights". The album is quite good (not quite so good as "1984" but better than "Silent nights") and contains one of Rick's all time classics: "Gone but not forgotten".
Tapestries is a very nice and relaxing father and son coproduction. Mainly acoustic, except for some calm and quiet synthesizers in the background, the album is perfect when you lie on the sofa and just want to relax and let your thoughts stray... The opening track is my favourite, but it is a good album all the way through. The up-tempo tracks are my favourites on this album, though.
Unleashing The Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour by Denilson Neves Rampin on 11th October 1999 [Other reviews]
(For loving of the " Journey... " and the collectors of Mr. Wakeman) A time disk! For that they want to feel itself carried stops for inside of the JTTCOTE. Without Overdubs! I must agree that the quality is not excellent, but hear Mr. Wakeman live, always is a fantastic experience. Prominence for the beautiful accompaniment of the orchestra and chorale. A classic!
To me it's very far from being a masterpiece. Some good compositions here, some indifferent and at least one very bad.It sounds indeed like a cheap production also including partly the worse vocal contributions from Chrissie I've heard till now. Personally I also would expect something epic sounding from an album called "Softsword (King John And the Magna Charter)" instead of shallow poppy sound. Well, choir and orchestra may be to expensive; how about some heavy overdubbing action then? Nowadays, one man can sound like an orchestra, technique is no limit anymore.
I find this is a very good album, full of beauty. My absolute favourite is the last track of this CD, I still wonder, have I heard this one before somewhere or does it just go straight to my heart? The one called "Stella bianca" (White star) is superb, too. As a whole possibly a little bit looser than the first album with Mario Fasciano and with a slight touch of pop-music here and there but still highly enjoyable.
This trilogy consists of 3 separate discs called "The Animal Kingdom"(inspired by the animal world; I thought this is also a very cruel world before hearing this), "Beneath the Waves"(inspired by the sea world) and "Heaven on Earth" based on some peaceful aspects of the nature. The first disc seems to be musically less interesting than the other ones. I guess the music here should be understood more as a functional relaxating background matter. It seems to me that "The Art in music trilogy" provides some more valuable musical themes than this one. The kind of music and artwork are very similiar on both Trilogies so they could've become a 6CD-Box as well.
Oh dear. One of those, "If you've heard the original - don't bother with this!" albums. I was sorely dissappointed only because I have the originals - losing Jon Anderson was like losing your fingers (- you can eat but its a struggle!) I liked the updated sounds, but the vocal tracks have been replaced by a feedback lead guitar sample, which desperately needed some pitch bend and vibrato to add the human touch. Unfortunately, this album sounded like it was produced by my XGMidi card. Still, after listening to it, I did want to buy my Allied Carpet!
I was 13 years old and my induction to Mr. Wakeman"s realm was upon hearing "Catherine Howard" via radio (believe it or not) back in '74. After seeing a TV broadcast of "Journey..." (that I can only now vaguely remember), I bought the "Journey" LP. Soo
I found this cassete in my father's collection along with MaLoKing Arthur, well, this one was found but with a cut tape so I was unable to listen to it but 1984 was brand new (my father bought it in 1982!!!) I listened to it and man, the overture is fantastic, I like Jon Anderson's vocals on the Hymn, Robot man is also cool but in this song I don't like the vocals so much. In the cassette I found all the names of the songs were translated to Spanish because it was made in Mexico, so it was hard for me to translate them to English, but finally I translated them all. The keyboards are played very good, no other keyboardist can play this! (maybe some from this album)
First of all, looking at where can I find this album on the discography page,I saw that it was impossible to me to get it, but, believe it or not, I found a copy of this album in Houston,tx! I didn't give it a second thought and bought it, and when I listen to it, I realized that this mad keyboardist played the piano as if it was too easy to play it, and like in the description on the CD, Rick Wakeman is a virtuoso of the classic piano (I think that this was an electric piano) but anyway, the 2 tracks from "The six wives..." are incredible and the 1984 overture, man, how he do that!!
This is a great collection of long lost and/or unreleased recordings like the only studio performance of "Battle" from "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" with original line-up and orchestra. Next rarity is a track from the "Journey" concert at the Royal Festival Hall ("The Pearl an Dean Piano Concerto"). Also four very nice previously unreleased solo-piano pieces to be found on this CD. Last but not least we have here two convincing rocking group tracks recorded during the early 80's.
This still remains as a big hole in my collection after going CD only 15 years ago. It is very sad that this hasn't been repackaged. They should have made a double CD album out of it with White Rock II. Ranks right up with Rhapsodies as all time favorite Wakeman albums.
Some very melodical, convincing compositions here, performed by classical tenor voice with Rick and Tony accompanying. The sound concept of this seems very unique to me and I think it corresponds well with chosen mythological themes. The market needs descriptions come what may, or is it actually New Age, tenor singing over electronic keyboards?
Contains great singer, very good compositions and ascetic keyboards but the awfully sounding drum-machine makes it sound like a cheap demo recording sometimes. It needs and deserves a re-recording! [Ed - like the New Gospels?]
Over 3 hours of peaceful, beautiful music played by Rick on electronic (in need for a better word) keyboards used mainly as if they were a piano. If you liked the "Airs..." or "Aspirant.." -Trilogy you will probably enjoy "The Art in Music Trilogy" as well. On the cover they call it an "instrumental new world ambient music", but it draws more of your attention than just relaxating background sounds. As ever Rick takes his inspiration from a chosen item, this time it's arts. Every disc has it's own title ("The Sculptor","The Writer",and "Sketches"), the latter being "a musical pastiche of time that stands still". But it's still not boring. All 3 discs have also their own beautiful artwork, so it's a shame that we can only see the picture of "The Writer"-disc on the cover, remaining two images being reproduced in the thumbnail-format in the booklet and on the discs themselves.
Well-known Wakeman classics played once again by gifted musicians. Plus one Beatles and one Stones composition. I don't quite see, why having a huge discography Rick always seems to play only "Six wives","Journey" and "The myths.." live. After two discs of this "Official bootleg" I get the feeling that this kind of synth-improvisation over given rhythm-section doesn't quite fill the listener's time. A change of mood or of improvisational speed might have caused some increase of audience's attention.
The title may suggest this to be a kind of "best of"-compilation. But it isn't. "Themes" can be described as a set of brilliant new musical ideas Rick had on his mind at the time. As it states on the cover the catalyst element could be "the strong sense of thematic composition". This album contains all in all very strong themes varying from rocky-synth-up-tempo tracks (he could have used them within Yes) with vocal contribution from guitarist and from Chrissie, to beautiful lyrical themes played with traditional or guitar-sounding keys, little bit of happy pop,baroque music and one Tangerine Dream-influenced track. On "Themes" Rick uses guitarist,female-singer and drum-machine from "Fields of Green" but this remains to me even more interesting proposition than "Fields". Great stuff!
The Burning soundtrack contains some very untypical work by Mr.Wakeman and is sometimes highly interesting. Rick does here some very good sounding recordings with some help from Alan Brawer (guitars), Kevin Kelly (bass) and Mike Braun (drums) in the best 70's tradition (although it was seemingly 1981). Those band performances ("Theme from burning","The chase continues","Variations on the fire") are of highest standards. Some very unusual instrumental keyboards passages ("Sheer terror and more", "The chase", Sheer terror") from Rick here, trying to illustrate the filmed action, sounds like I never heard him anywhere else, sounds like some Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze gone wild. And also we have here 2 very forgettable country instrumentals played without Rick's contribution. Those are included probably to complete the soundtrack. Without the latter two it can be really recommended.
I am very positively surprised by this album. Having the multitude of albums in mind, which are coming from Rick, it is still amazing that the quality doesn't suffer. "Fields of Green" opens with a Yes-track from their 3rd album,"Starship trooper/Wurm" (a
Here you will find out what Rick's classic works sounded like in 1985, as played to a live audience. Represented is a medley from the King Arthur album, 6 Wives Of Henry VIII, and a very watered-down version of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, all usin
In an age inundated with computer riff-driven musician wannabes, it's like a breath of fresh air to hear this album. With each soothing electrical note, Rick imparts his soul into his creation, and in so doing makes a serious mockery of the others, who re
IMHO, this album is great. If you're looking for the classical-stuff, you'll find some here; if you're looking for the modern-opera 80's style, you'll find it here. Maybe this is a transition album, but definitively is one of my 10 RW fav albums !!!! The vocals are OK too.
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!
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!
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?]
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.
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.
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.
I've only listened to this album twice, but I liked it! Is pretty good, it's like reading a read-along storybook and the songs are the sounds that tell when to turn the page,there are relaxing songs and good, thrilling songs, this album demonstrates why Rick is one of the best musicians in the world, while writing every instruments piece, all the music and words are composed by Rick Wakeman! How does he do that!
Having never heard of it, I saw this album at a large department store and picked it up thinking it was simply a new re-recording of "Journey To The Centre Of the Earth", (which as always been a favourite of mine) only this time using the digital technolo
Return really is a return, the return of the Wakeman of the 70s, but with improved 90s sound quality. There are some really good songs on this album, like "The End of the Return", "Dance of a Thousand Lights", "Buried Alive" and "Is Anybody There?". What is also positive, is that the arrangements backing the narrative are better than on "Journey". The singers are better than on "Journey"; no voices cracking this time. As with lots of CDs from the 90s, however, this album is too long. Too much narrative to my taste, and some of the songs on the second half of the album are not that great, like for instance "Mr.Slow". A shorter, tighter, album, presenting about two thirds of this album, would be great. Then this album would be about as good as "Journey".
It is a nice album, it is one of the greatest combinations of classical music and progressive rock I've ever listened to. I really love it, and it's the only good album I've listened from Alan White (drummer on tracks 2,4 and 6). If someone asks me, "Which Wakeman album shall I listen to?", the first one I'll mention would be The six wives of Henry VIII.
Sometimes when I get punished I go upstairs and put on my cdman and lie on my bed and close my eyes. Listenining to this extraordinary music makes me feel like I'm on the journey with Professor Lidenbrook and Axle. My dad got me into your music and now I'm a big fan of it. I am a 10 year old boy and me and my father share one.
This album is among Rick's best, although I have some negative comments as well. I think the album is a bit too long. The narration could have been cut down to about half of what it is now, which would have been more in line with the format of "Journey.."
Rick, you've done it again! This album is absolutely incredible. It's the best combination of Rock and Classical that I've ever heard, and it will be no mean feat to surpass. I've played a few tracks for my friends, and they're totally transfixed! Just as my father and my uncle introduced me to your music 8 years ago, I must now return the favour and introduce them to this album... it's your best work yet. Congratulations.
Well this has to be the next best thing to heaven!!(Sorry) Sitting at my PC, reading the Web site, writing a review and listening to Return To The Centre Of The Earth all at the same time. It was all I had hoped; not as good I think as the original, but then that was terrific anyway. Standout tracks have to be DANCE OF A THOUSAND LIGHTS and BURIED ALIVE, and of course the excellent narration: Jean-Luc you done us all proud!! Well done Rick, here's to the next one.
"Flawed, yet UNFORGETABLE"
Wakeman fans of my vintage (70's) should buy this without a second thought - it is Wakeman doing what he does best. The blend of orchestra, choir and rock band just works perfectly, with those immaculate keyboards given just the right prominence, without taking over the whole stage. The writing is melodically superb, and very distinctively Wakeman (just listen to that overture a few times). If you HAVEN'T heard Wakeman, listen to the samples on rwcc, but PLEASE listen several times, because this REALLY grows on you. Here's hoping this album is successful enough to allow more epics in the future.
I was exposed to this album 8 years ago when my father, a music teacher in Pennsylvania, USA, was introducing me to "classic" synthesizers. At that point in my life, I basically was totally awed by Rick's talent on the keys and didn't really appreciate w
A perfect, seamless blend of rock, orchestra and voice with excellent production values. This album is Rick at his best with magnificent orchestration and some outstanding keyboard work (once again the LSO are made to work hard for their money!) All in al
I just received a copy of Rick's new CD and one word comes to mind AWESOME!!! It's 77 minutes and absolutely brilliant in every respect.This is the album we've been waiting for. Patrick Stewart's narration is superb and the Return Overture(which starts th
Quite a bit longer than the first 'Journey' with natural similarities in the storyline, narrated eloquantly by Patrick Stewart. I've only heard it twice and my feelings are mixed; it wasn't the resounding work I expected, but there are some superb keyboa
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."
To me this the great lost Rick Wakeman album. Thank God I have an LP version of it from 1976. That it has not been released on CD is insane! This is the last time Wakeman used the great team of the New Rock Ensemble and this album ranks with HENRY,JOURNEY,and ARTHUR. It contains beautiful melodies and an inspiring concept. This is a must get to any WAKEMAN fan.
Journey is a masterpiece - a great fusion of 70's rock, orchestra and choir that stands out far apart from the music of that decade, and indeed the decades since. A concept album, based on the Jules Verne epic, told with great panache and atmosphere. I'd be lying if I said it didn't at times strongly evoke the time it was made, but why should age detract from enjoyability? You can criticise this album for sounding dated (and everyone's opinion is fair enough), but I wasn't even alive when it came out and it doesn't bother me at all. Indeed, it is precisely this which makes it even more unique today - you won't get anything that compares to this now (unless perhaps it was produced by Rick!) The vocals I feel required artists of a deeper timbre, though the narrator's voice and delivery is spot on. Listen to this and you'll know why Rick felt was worth making a sequel. A true classic.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Ben Jordan on 29th January 1999 [Other reviews]
The King Arthur album is another triumph for the greatest ivory-tickler in the world. Another concept album, with a stirring opener which attempts quite well to provide a medieval-meets-modern musical blend. However for me it is 'Merlin' which truly defines the album, with its melodic precision and stylisic fusion - with a madcap honkytonk interlude. I saw Rick play this track on a video of a 1975 Australian concert and you can't help but marvel at the man's gift, which for me 'Merlin' perfectly demonstrates. The other tracks are good too, but not in the same league as 'Merlin' and 'Arthur'. And the vocals are again too weak for my liking (as with Journey), but don't let that put you off - a worthwhile addition to your collection.
I had high hopes with this one, and it is a good and relaxing album, but it is not among Rick's best work. But it is good. The return of a narrator gave me hopes of hearing something like "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", and I suppose it was unwise to raise that kind of expectations. But apart from this not being able to match his early work, it still is an album I quite enjoy, especially "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon". The entire album is soft and very synthetic, with no trace of piano. This fact makes it sound like a softer version of "Zodiaque", but with narration. Like "Zodiaque", it also has a marked Jean-Michel Jarre feel to it.
I had read some nice things about this album, and to a certain extent, they were true. This is not among Rick's best work, but not among his worst either. Chrissie Hammond's voice suits the rougher pieces and makes me think of "1984" and "Crimes of passion". "Cirque surreal" is weaker than the former but better than the latter. "The party" reminds me of Jim Steinman (the man who writes all the best songs for Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler). The best track however is definetely "Juliet". That is very good. All in all, this album is quite good, but I would have liked some more vocal pieces.
Being under the influence of Yes and Strawbs, I searched high and low for this album. I found it years later in a basement discount rack. This was probably my first attempt at listening to serious classical instramental music. Close you eyes, you can feel the luge.
A simple and very good live recording. Its repertoire is not varied because only features excerpts from his three most popular works. The "Arthur" excerpts are the best of the album. "Journey" doesn't sound very well, this version a little unexciting. If you want to buy one of his live CD's: I recommend you this one.
Is this a Rock version of the "New World Symphony"??? We can't say that is an original album, because most of the melodies are taken from that Dvorak's popular work (I don't understand why in the cover says:"Music composed by Rick Wakeman"). Anyway, Rick and his band sounds very well and if you have never heard Dvorak's 9th symphony , you'll find it an excellent album.
This is a great album showing all of Rick's knowledge. Rick shows in this album he is one of the best keyboard player in the world. The album can make you cry with very well done parts, some of them specially found in "Anne Boleyn" with excellent piano solos. Rick specially shows how quick are his fingers. He is God when he plays the Steinway piano. This album can disappoint you, specially if you are studying to be a pianist, because you feel you'll never play like he does or he did. It's wonderful.
Closes the "Aspirant Trilogy". There's nothing else to say except that is in the same style of the other two: very relaxing music with Rick's unique style to treat the synthesizers.
I'm a 16 year old keyboardist in Michigan, and my aunt gave me several tapes to listen to one day, one of which was Six Wives. I popped it in only to find some of the most gorgeous music my ears have ever listened to. My favourite piece is Catherine Howar
Piano, all piano, and nothing but piano... fabulous! If your not completely convinced that Rick is a fantastic piano player (although he doesn't always play great - see my review of "Greatest Hits"), this CD will make a believer out of you. Recorded at a church in California, this is Rick, a grand piano, and nothing else! A variety of music is represented including RW classics like "Catherine Howard" and "Merlin the Magician", YES classics "Wondrous Stories" and "And You And I", and even some David Bowie. All the variations and melodies are superb; a virtuoso performance without ever being "showboat" - I'm assuming Rick didn't wear a cape. Live performances always seem to bring out the best in Rick's playing, and despite the fact that he's in a church with no staging, special lighting, etc., this performance is no exception. If you like pure unaccompanied piano, this CD is a must have!
This soundtrack albums reminds me of "1984", but it is definitely inferior compared to that one. Some of the instrumental parts are good, but on lots of them Rick brings in a horrible saxophone that does not sound good! All in all, this is not one of Rick's most important albums.
Some have called this a "rocking" album. That's not very accurate. If you're looking for rock'n'roll, then check out the Rolling Stones and forget about Rick Wakeman. On the other hand, if you like instrumental keyboard music, then stay put. And especially - if you like "Criminal Record", then this might be a good choice for you. "Wakeman with Wakeman" recaptures some of the excitement of "Criminal Record", although I think it is not that good (but still good!) And like on "CR", there is a long song here that is by far the best cut, namely the one about Caesar... Rick again demonstrates his interest in history.
I have mixed feelings about this CD. All of the tracks are good in their own right, however, some suffer from comparison to previous versions. On the original Wondrous Stories, Rick's work on the Polymoog was spectacular - see the video if you have any doubts. On the originals of Siberian Khatru and especially Madrigral, Rick's use of the harpsichord was highly melodic and seemed to add a texture that is missing from these version - could he have overdubbed the original melodies? In comparison, these versions sound almost like Elevator music. So what's good?... "Going for the One" and the entire second disk, with the exception of a subdued Gone but Not Forgotten, however, these exceptions seem to confirm the opinion that Rick sometimes plays below his ability. If you already own the "true" greatest hits, "VOYAGE", and the YES originals of the remakes, this CD may gather dust.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Murat Selcuk on 16th September 1998 [Other reviews]
After many years, I can still feel myself excited. So what more can I say!
I first found my mother's copy of this album (on vinyl) 4 years ago when I was digging through our record collection for an old Beethoven LP. I didn't give a second thought to the dusty albums of Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, or the Beatles, but when I saw
This album belongs to the new age phase in Rick's career, it is not a great work. It is an instrumental album played just by Rick and an electronic percussionist. The melodies are not so good as we can expect from him and it's very rhythmic to be a new age album.
This is a very dynamic album, here Rick and his band (including Tony Fernandez) shows all their virtuosity. It is inspired by several circus numbers, and at this attemption the music is very creative and flows with strength, beauty and a lot of progressive rock tracks. It is highly recommended for all Rick's fans around the world.
This album illustrates nicely quite a lot of what I DON'T like about the 80s. It sounds like music left out of "Phantom of the Opera", which Rick desperately tries to turn into rock'n'roll. It is not exactly bad, it is just so extremely typical of the 80s
I find this album as one of Rick's best! The instrumentation can impress even today's listener, especially if You like analog synthesizers and other old instrument which today's musicans are now returning to. Hammond, Steinway, Moog, etc. - it seems like Rick chosen to this record the best equipment from that time and also most famous equipment ever. And what about music? For me it's one of the most interesting and inspiring albums I know. I don't agree with people who say that Anne Of Cleves is ugly. If you listen carefully, you can find a very beautiful experience in this chaos of notes! And the intro of Catherine Parr! I got no words enough! This is definitively a "must-buy" for everyone who likes great music.
Now, I'd heard from others about Rick's talent for lyric-writing (or lack thereof in these cases), but didn't believe them. However, when it came to this album, I had a change of view. The music is good, in my opinion, but the lyrics leave much to be desired. The concept of music being a "gift on loan" to be used and enhanced during one's lifetime was a bit flat. It is not Rick's fault -- the concept just doesn't travel anywhere. And for the whole sequence of the guy who was punished for not developing his musical talent?? *sigh* it just went too far at that point. Combine this with Ashley Holt's singing... I have one conclusion: if you are a true Wakeman enthusiast, you're just gonna hafta get it. If not, there are PLENTY of other Wakeman albums to get before this one. Search on! :)
This album is very nice and gentle - and I have finally realized what "Catherine Howard" sounds like without the worst 70s moog sounds. (You know the ones that make you think of primitive computers...) On "The piano album" the sounds are acoustic, nice and relaxing. So I can very much recommend Rick Wakeman's "Unplugged"-album...
This album reminds me very much of Jean-Michel Jarre. If you like him, buy it. The softer tracks are perfect for relaxation. This is not Rick Wakeman's best album, but it is quite enjoyable.
WOW!!! A true "best of" compilation, covering Rick's work during the 1970's. Not only do you get "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" in it's entirety, there are 4 tracks from "The 6 Wives of Henry VIII", 3 tracks from "Arthur....", 4 tracks from the very hard to find "White Rock", 2 tracks from "Rhapsodies", a live recording from his "Strawbs" days (Temperance of Mind), 2 tracks from the hard to find "Criminal Record" - including the epic "Judas Iscariot", 2 tracks from "Lisztomania", and 1 track from "No Earthly Connection". Also included is a 12 page booklet with pictures and commentary. A "must have" for any Wakeman enthusiast (or a newcomer to the wonders of Rick's music), especially if your vinyl copies of these tracks are a little worn from excessive play. The quality of the sound on the 2 discs is excellent!! If you find it, BUY IT!! You will not be disappointed!!
An absolutely wonderful CD! Rick covers some of the Beatles best songs in his own unique style. Some of the tracks are downright upbeat and quite energetic, while other selections are mellowed very sweetly. "Eleanor Rigby" and "While My Guitar Gently W
I wore out two copies of this album when I was a kid! I still listen to it today on CD. The quadraphonic record has added instrumentation and effects not heard on the original two-track version. The combination of baroque and rock help shape my appreciation for different styles of music.
This is an amazing album. Rick transfer the Jules Verne novel into music, and for the most part, it works. This is also a must-have for fans of psychedelic rock. Because even though the music is good, he uses some of the funnist sounding keyboards ever! Excellent.
Time Machine shows the influence of the 80s music in Rick's style.This is an album which has got one of the best moments from the keyboard wizard, and for the ones that haven't listened to the album, you should try to listen to songs like Ice, Angel of Time, Make me a Woman and Custer's Last Stand.Here comes a great album with great performances and great songs for people who like Rick's rock songs.
This album absolutely needs a re-recording. There are some nice compositions on it. But also some important things are missing:
This album is basically rocked-up Rick, with an 80's pop music leaning. The closest album to this that I know of is No Expense Spared, but this beats No Expense by a mile. All the tracks except Elizabethan Rock have vocals (though many have nice long instrumental intros or solos), a switch from his normal style of several instrumentals on his albums. Ice is my favorite track, and though it may be more toward rock than much of Rick's stuff, has a great deal of energy packed into it. This would be a good one to get (if you can find it) for a change of pace from his classical leanings.
Now this is probably the best "Rock" effort the Wakemen have made this decennium. An important pro of this album is that Tony Fernandez is present to play the drums, and even though I've no real problems with drum computers, it does make a difference! There are 7 vocal tracks, mostly penned by Adam, and 5 instrumental tracks which are absolutely stunning! Lots of tempo changes and really good keyboard (and moog!) solos around. Highly recommended to anyone into Wakey's heavier side.
This is one of the most beautiful consistent pieces of work delivered by Rick. Or anyone else for that matter. Sure, it is different, but that is what makes it so special! There are stunning melodies, sung by Ramon Remedios, backed with a choir. The keyboard accompaniment is quietly complex and very fitting. Unfortunately, the choir sounds a bit 'thinnish' at times, but once you're used to that.. Enjoy! This version is different from The Gospels in the absence of a drum computer, and the choir parts are much more elaborate. There are also two titles added, and the order of the tracks has been rearranged so as to give the album a more fluent story-line.
An album full of Beatles covers, but not in the usual way. Inspired by the well known Prokofiev version of Eleanor Rigby, many other well known Beatles tracks are made hardly recognizable by the notorious Wakeman treatment. Styles on this album range from very quiet to about as uptempo as it will get on any of Rick's albums. A great variety of sounds are used, including the plastic sounds many people despise so much, but also moogs and organs, and there's some great guitar work by Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith. This album seems to give a nice overview of Rick's nineties sound.
This album is one of the best live recordings I have heard. The skill of the musicians is heard throughout the recording and the vocals are excellent. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is a beautiful rendition as is the extended version of "Catherine H
This album is good, though not so good as some people say it is. "Anne of Cleves" is terrible, but apart from that, the five other wives seem much nicer, judging from Rick's music. I'm particularly fond of "Jane Seymour", as it reminds me so much of "Judas Iscariot". More church organ, please!
This album is really great, except for Ashley Holt's voice, which should be kept in a studio (he sings very well on "No Earthly Connection".) On the b-side his voice cracks terribly. But apart from that, this album is excellent. The music is very melodic, and yet complex. It is always fun listening to it. This album is perhaps the nearest thing to a fusion of rock and classical music the 70s brought, with some competition from Mike Oldfield's "Ommadawn" and "Tubular Bells", Camel's "The Snow goose", "Close to the Edge" and "Tales from Topographic Oceans" by Yes, and "Sheherezade and other stories" by Renaissance.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Bjorn Olaf Syvertsen on 4th December 1997 [Other reviews]
This used to be my favourite Rick Wakeman album, but now "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" has passed it. The good thing about this album, is that some tracks are really great ("Arthur", "Sir Galahad" and "The Last Battle"), while others are not that good. The style is however very fascinating, and being a medievalist myself, I clearly delight in the lyrics, the cover and the "text book". "Arthur" is the perfect opener and my favourite Rick Wakeman track, next to "Judas Iscariot" from "Criminal Record".
Some of this album is great, like the one track Rick wrote himself. Also very good are the two versions of "Liebes- traume", particularly the rocking "Peace at last", which is the song most fit for Roger Daltrey's rock'n'roll voice. There are, however, pieces on this album which I found rather unpleasant, namely "Hell" and "Excelsior Song". I never could handle those.
This album is among Rick's best. As far as I know, it also marks Ashley Holt's peak as a singer. Particularly "The Prisoner" is very good. It contains a very catchy chorus, followed by great baroque keyboards. No Rick Wakeman fan should miss this one.
This album contains some good pieces, but I can't ever begin to understand why on earth the title track "White Rock" is one of the most popular songs on this site! I think this is one of the weakest parts on this album! "Searching for Gold" is good, though, and "After the Ball", which reminds me very much of "Liebestraume" (see Lisztomania). Except for the first track, the b-side is good all the way through. This "sports album" is definitely better than the next one, "G'ole".
This record is truely great. "Judas Iscariot" is my favourite Rick Wakeman recording ever (admittedly I've not heard them all - who has?). That track alone is more than reason enough to buy this record. And the rest of the album is good as well, particularly "Statue of Justice", "Chamber of Horrors" and "Birdman of Alcatraz". Need I say more?
1979 was the year when Rick obviously got tired of being serious. It was also a time when punk had taken over the rock scene and progressive rock unfortunately was nearly abolished by critics the world over. It was also a time of disco... That marks Rick's recordings in 1979. "Rhapsodies" is a double album, containing more or less instrumental disco pieces. It does not stand out as a great album, but it contains some really entertaining tracks, especially "Bombay Duck" and "Woolly Willy Tango".
This album is very good, especially side 1. Highlights are the first three tracks - and of course "Hymn", where Jon Anderson makes his contribution. Those four tracks are among Rick's best. The rest of the album is also quite good, but still far inferior to those four tracks. But I would definitely recommend this one.
This is not one of my favourites. That is, it contains some quiet and very nice piano pieces, but some of the more synthetic tracks gives one an unpleasant feeling of being in a supermarket...
This album is very nice.It contains pleasant music perfect for relaxation. And the concept of portraying the family musically is also quite sympathetic. Especially Rick's wife Nina is portrayed by a very nice piece of music.
No wonder Rick had problems getting this album out! This album is sheer stupidity. Having finished "Rhapsodies" (see my review of that one), Rick wanted to go further into the land of disco. It was definitely the wrong way to go. Yet, it is not totally hopeless. "I'm So Straight I'm a Weirdo" is very funny and has an ingenious title. And "Spy of 55" is an amusing blend of disco and doo-wop. This album was recorded in 1979. No wonder Rick hoped that "Maybe 80" would "be a better year"...
What I like most about it is that it breathes! Mr. Wakeman really knows when to lay back and allow the picturesque images and mood his playing is putting forth to come into the foreground. We all know that at any given moment he could treat parts in the music really aggressively but only a true master like Mr. Wakeman can keep the balance of both in total control!
This album contains original music with a "rock opera" feel from the early days of analog systhesizers. The "live sound" is accomplished by minimal use of back-up instrumentation. Pre-computerized syncopation enhances the live, "first take" aural feeling. A Classic blend of rock, classical and jazz elements.
Perhaps the finest fusion of Rick's talents as a performer, composer and arranger. All the classical, rock and electronic techniques coming together for a focused, dynamic, exhilirating experience. Even though the work deals with some of mankind's most evil personalities, it never falls into mere shock or morbidness. For me, the most moving is the mini-epic: Judas Iscariot, surely the most reviled and perhaps misunderstood man in history. Rick gives this tragedy one of his most intense treatments, on one hand grandiose and on the other a feeling for the true torment that Judas must have felt (the worst thing about committing a crime is being aware of it). If you are new to the works of Mr. Wakeman, this is an excellent introduction!
Probably the best Rick Wakeman's album. A perfect balance between rock and classical, acoustic and electronic, rocky and intimate music. The melodies are wonderful, with a great collaboration of harmonies, rythms and instrumentation. After several beautiful and vital songs, the jewel of the collection arrives: "Judas Iscariot" is a long piece of music, in which a church organ combines perfectly with piano and syntethizer, and with a chorus. Emotionally powerful, profound and evocative, this piece is one of the major musical points of reference in Rick's career.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Same style as Country Airs but not quite as good.
A sequel to Country Airs. Not as good as that one but if you like it you should get this one too.
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.
Buy W & Ws later albums instead. Most tunes on this one are just straightforward rhythms with "guitar"-solos over it. Too unvaried.
Solo-piano pieces reflecting the historical heritage of Isle of Man. If you like Country Airs you will love this.
Phantom Power is a soundtrack Album but not in the usual style. The album consists of full blown songs and it is as if the film was added to the soundtrack instead of vice Versa. In fact the video for Queen's "Heavens for everyone" would be a good example
This album is a must have. Although this is Cross over Rock, Atheists like me self need not fear. You don't have to be Christian to like this. This album contains 5 tracks originally from the Prayers Album but they have been augmented with a new choir. Al
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.
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.
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.
Look out for the version with real piano. The re-recording features a horrendous sample-piano.
Warning! See my review of Zodiaque.
Warning! See my review of Zodiaque.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Tom Brenny on 24th September 1997 [Other reviews]
The perfect marriage of rock with orchestra to create the definitive portrait of Arthur. Monumental music worthy of this great king. The moog sounds dated, but the music and orchestrations are timeless. The closest to a perfect album I've seen!
An album that has everything; the power of the church organ of 'Judas' (great for haunted houses), poignancy of the overdubbed pianos on 'Birdman...', humour of 'Breathalizer', and heavy electronics of side 1. Great production, performances, and the most melodic bass line I've ever heard (Chamber of Horrors). Great album!
A quirky album, with high spirits. Much of it very disco sounding. Although a lot of the keyboard sounds are tacky and dated, there's some good music. The jazz piano of 'Summertime' is outstanding. Though the rhythm section can't get past the funk and disco sound, still a lot of fun!
After a very good overture, this album dies. Straight forward, bland rock that I would pass over on the radio. Vocals are very strange; Chaka Kahn screeches. Jon Anderson almost saves the day with vocals on only one piece. One to pass on - it'll just gather dust.
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!
Election '97/Arthur is a wonderful, 'majestic' piece, blending the theme from Arthur (song) with a couple others, well blended!! Starship Trooper is broken down into 2 parts here. Part 1, my first time hearing Chrissie Hammond's voice - marvellous. Part 2 has to be one of those incredible performances that makes you shake your head in disbelief, Rick takes the music 'to the edge' and beyond!! Absolutely the best rendition of this song you'll ever hear! Only 800 available, get yours while they last!!
This is a rather quirky Wakeman with 3 tracks sung buy Rick himself. At times all I can hear is the quirky style but at other times I really enjoy this album. Normally it is the latter. The Plus tracks it seems to be the consensus, belong on 2000AD rather than Prophet. Even though Rick has attempted to keep to the style of the album, I think he fails because of the use of modern instruments.
I own nearly all of Rick albums on CD and this is the only one I find tortuous to listen to (well maybe Rhapsodies as well). Rick completely missed my wave length on this. Every other track is an awful vocal one. The gentler tracks are more listenable but what was he doing on Bedtime Stories?. The one redeeming feature of the album is Gone But not Forgotten. Fortunately I prefer the recorded version on Greatest Hits. I suspect a lot of people will like Elegy though.
For years I struggled to appreciate Rick's quieter piano albums. This was my breakthrough album. This album is great. Rick's great piano playing (electric I think) goes without saying but what I really love is David Paton's bass work. I am normally deaf to bass work so when it hits me like this it is fantastic. This is the Best introduction to Rick's work in my opinion.
Another theme-based release. You should understand that I prefer music of this genre to be virtually all instrumental. Having said that, I have to admit that Ramon Ramedios has an excellent voice!, it compliments some of the most beautiful music Rick has ever done (that I've heard). Some label the music "New Age", but I would say that it has strength yet mellow; smoothness (very fluid), beauty, and a sense of spirituality. My brother who prefers chorale, religious music loves this. It made for a great(xmas) gift!!
A fantastic voyage into the realm of music, the creation of man and his musical soul. Rick's mastering of the keyboards is unmistakable from the first to the last note. A great album with a great concept.
I agree this release does showcase Rick's talents as a live performer. I only wish that the quality(?) of the recording would be on the same level as Rick's ability to perform. Audiophiles Beware!!
Overall, this is a very humorous album and a good one to listen to for a little something different from Rick. However, some of the 'plus' tracks sound as though they would be better off added to 2000 AD, since the keyboard voices are closer to that than the original Prophet. There is no particular 'style' I can pinpoint, though the 3 songs with lyrics seem on par with some of the pop music of the time. If you don't mind the change in 'sound' from the old to new, this is a great album, but for those more interested in continuity, I'd suggest moving all the plus tracks to either the beginning or end.
These discs were one of my last choices. I tend to prefer hard rock and Moog solos. But these discs have had a bigger place in my collection than I expected. I have to Confess Sunrise somehow grabs my attention as being a favourite but someone already has a review there. I think I then prefer Sunset but to be honest they are all pretty similar to me. Go on why not give one a go. They provide a great atmosphere for massaging your partner too.
I was initially not to sure about buying this disc but I am glad I did it contains some great songs. Hymn of hope is has had its arrangement added to and now makes the Softsword version seems under worked. "I can hear you" is one of my all time favourite tracks it is an absolute Gem. The album contains readings by various people and I have to admit that I would normally program them out. Although the Devotion track it very thought provoking. A person purely interest in the songs should get the reworked versions on Can you Hear me? But I would recommend this to completists and the moog solo on "I can hear you" is at it full splendour on this.
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!
Disc 1: Don't Kill the Whale is absolutely superb! Disc 2: The totally instrumental arrangement of "Journey..." is incredible! In fact, I like it better than the original (I know, "hard to believe"). Catherine of Aragon only makes me wish that Rick would release a 25th anniversary of the 6 Wives.. done in the same style as this version. For some strange reason, when I listen to "Sea Horses", I visualize MIR & the Space Shuttle doing their "Ballet in Space" - the first docking maneuvers between the two.
This is a powerful, dynamic father and son collaboration. If you like music with a bit of a raw edge to it, check this CD out. This disc is quite different than "Romance of the Victorian Age". "Shields Up!, Red Alert!" Paint it Black will rock your socks off!
Pure piano, pure music, pure joy. Country Airs is reported to be like a 'walk in the country' and it is. The soothing interperative music of ballbling brooks and flowery fields showing another side of Rick many may not know of, helping sooth the frazzled soul. And album worth finding.
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!
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!
Although it is the sound track from the movie of the Winter Olympics, "White Rock" is much more than just a sound track album. It is an emotional trip thru feelings of triumph and defeat. The title track, "White Rock", is a busy romp with Rick playing wonderful leads accompanied by grooving percussion. "Searching For Gold" is a very beautiful, haunting piece that brings on the feeling of hope and achievment. "After the Ball" a classical movement with touches of sadness and perhapes loneliness; and "Ice Run" that sounds very similar to a "Yes" song. This album is definitely a BUY IT, but it nearly impossible to find for only 1000 copies exist on compact disc.
Finally, a true Rick Wakeman Greatest hits compilation covering the A&M years. All of the tracks have been remastered and sound superb. Many of the tracks have never been on compact disc, or at least are hard to find. Even four tracks from the rare "White Rock" are included as well as tracks from "Rhapsadies". As an extra bonus, the complete "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" album is included. Also, the solo Rick played from his days with the Strawb's "Temperament Of Mind" is included and shows, that even then, Rick had already developed his famous style. The disc also comes with a booklet and extensive sleeve notes. Why did it take A&M so long to release what most will agree is Rick's best compositions, and why is it unavailable in the US. This collection is a MUST BUY!
A wonderful album with a very interesting narrative about how the mankind create this feeling about the music. Full of variations around a beautiful theme, "No Earthly Connection" is a very interesting work aside the great company of the "English Rock Ensemble". An interesting piece of work, very different from its predecessor albums but very rich in musical quality.
These songs are real musical pictures. Inspired by his family and pets pictures, Rick recreates great pieces of art with sour notes revealing his love and care for his dearest relatives.
Rick has always been a versatile composer, especially concerning History. In the CD, the Seven Wonders are told through the keyboard. He creates an involving atmosphere and an unique stile to reveal the greatness of each one of the past great wonders. Special attention to the short narrative by the actor Garfield Morgan that preceeds each track, reminding us the times of "Journey to the Centre of the Earth".
A perfect match between music and mind. Rick provides a sole musical experience to makes us relax from daily stress and put our imagination to work in each track texture created. A complement for the environmental work that was done in "Suntrilogy".
I bought this album 24 years ago, (it still plays well!) I have been in love with it ever since. No other album has ever had such a major influence on my taste in music -thanks Rick!. This work firmly and convincingly establishes Rick as the Premier Musician/Composer of our time (Rick was only 23!). In my opinion, Rick Wakeman is the Mozart of our generations.
A bold experiment that works! Listen to this one, in it's entirety, in a "quasi-quad" mode. Kick back in the "Lazy-Boy", close your eyes, and become engulfed in the fantasy.
A fantastic album by Rick Wakeman, with some great music and songs, one of the most inportant albums in his career and it also includes Ashley Holt on vocals and some strange backing vocals on "Message of Mine" by Rick Wakeman.
Simple genius,the flow of the selections on an individual basis, as well as collectively, just fit together so perfectly. A thing of beauty IS a joy forever.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by John Kennedy Mixon on 16th May 1997 [Other reviews]
This album is a triumphant artwork! One can close their eyes and picture the unfolding of personalities and perspectives of King Arthur, his Knights and, of course, Merlin. Rick has managed to intertwine the sounds of the medieval times with a touch of classical and careful use of modern instruments. This is a masterpiece in every sense of the word!
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
A stunning, mainly instrumental album - baroque influences, dynamic keyboard lines, imaginative arrangements, wide symphonic passages. The last track takes the listener into a different sound universe- it is a dramatic, yet uplifting choral piece, where the tone of the music, the exquisite textures succeed to portray the controversial figure of Judas Iscariot.
Solo piano meets ambiental New Age music. In the world of electronic sounds, it is a refreshing experience in its intricate beauty and purity. Scintillating piano work, chromatic richness and nevertheless, great balance between the ambiental and essentially melodic character of the music.
Suntrilogy - 3 hours of fragile, almost transparent music; sonic paintings of stunning colour, perfectly balanced ...the best experience a New Age music listener can have. The warmth of Rick's electronic arrangements, the melodic lines that are perfect in their simplicity, Rick's ability of translating into music landscapes, moods result in a brilliant ambiental work.
A quite innovative, daring and undeniably successful musical experiment based on the four Gospels. Blending synths, choir, Ramon Remedios' tenor vocals, Robert Powell's tranquil narration, it reflects the mood of a serene church reunion. With well-controlled emotional charge, it passes from moments of inner calm to passages of intense dramatic beauty.
This is a great instrumental album with heavy Classical influence, and a hint of Jazz. Jane Seymore blew me off my feet with Rick's work on harpsicord and pipe organ. This one is a must-have if you like Rick's classically influenced material.
The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table by Eduardo Valle on 29th March 1997 [Other reviews]
This is Wakeman's masterpiece. The consolidation of Symphonic Rock. The atmosphere created with orchestra and choir is wonderful. The music turns around a theme, being variations of this theme. Wakeman shares his space with other musicians and orchestra allowing the music to flow without excess of virtuosity.
The vocalist on this CD was fairly unimpressive - he tended to take away from the experience of the music, though his voice fits in a bit better for the King Arthur tracks. However, Rick's playing for this album is amazing and more than makes up for the (IMHO) lousy vocalist.
The first CD in this set features some of Rick's best work with Yes, the second hilights his solo work. Both are completely instrumental, and overall it is a very mellow set. I like the style he redid the Yes material in -- just be prepared to drink a few cups of coffee if you need to stay awake, it tends to be a bit *too* relaxing at times :)
The futuristic theme comes across clearly in this all-instrumental album. Several high-energy pieces (and a few slightly more mellow ones) flow nicely together, creating an excellent album to listen to at work. Better yet, just plug in some headphones and daydream away.
This album has a nice variety of music, from instrumental to touchingly serious songs, to songs I can only describe as one heck of a father and son jam session.
This album is both operatic rock, and symphonic rock. The music creates an atmosphere that leads us to the journey as written by Jules Verne. A sense of adventure is created, being in keeping with the story. The overture shows the power of the whole album. Choir and orchestra were used with keyboards, in a wonderful combination. A classical album that can not be absent of your collection.
Soundtrack of a Ken Russell film featuring the music of Liszt and Wagner adapted to symphonic rock. Rick composed a short piece of music and added lyrics to another one. Most of the songs are sung by Roger Daltrey and Rick plays Moogs very well as ever. Although Rick has said that he didn't like this album (why Rick?), it will please those who like his first albums. I would like to emphasize Dante Period, Hell, Excelsior Song, Funerailles, Master Race and Rape, Pillage & Clap as great moments of this album. Lisztomania is also a classical album that cannot be absent in Wakeman collector's collection.
A recollection of his glorious days. With the English Rock Ensemble, Rick plays three songs of No Earthly Connection. A rare opportunity to hear these songs alive. You will also hear an exuberant version of Merlin the Magician and Catherine Parr. An album that cannot be absent in the Wakeman collector's collection.
Unbelievable performance! Wakeman played with the English Rock Ensemble. The orchestra was replaced by trumpets and trombones in a great style. Wakeman gives us frantic solos with his Moogs that were used as never before. This is the best live version of his first three concept albums, played sometimes, in the No Earthly Connection style.