First of all a very merry Xmas and a happy New Year to you all.
Another eventful year has gone by in the life of Rick and his "associates" and 1991 promises to be even more bizarre and interesting and we hope that all of you will continue to support us in keeping the music going.
So much has happened over the last couple of months that it is difficult to know where to start, so as ABWH begins with "A", we'll start there!
The album is now complete as regards recording and is now, to the best of our knowledge, in New York being mixed. At the current rate of production we at Rick's office, confidently predict a release around about 1997!
It has been very difficult to glean information as to what's happening as regards the band (YES/ABWH) as Jon has been in California, Bill has been on tour with Earthworks in America and Steve is somewhere, but we know not where!
The YES/ABWH management teams have been talking, mainly to each other and not to the musicians, which does not inspire confidence.
Rumours abound that ATLANTIC records are to release a box set of the history of YES, (yawn, yawn), just after Xmas, and that the ABWH album will be released by ARISTA around April. A tour is possible, in fact dates have been offered between April and August next year, although Rick has made it very clear that he is only available for part of that period.
This, if it happens, will encompass America, Japan, UK and Europe, and will be a YES tour. The line up would possibly contain all of ABWH, plus Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye and Alan White from the "USA YES".
There is still a considerable way to go if this is to happen and although we cannot speak for the other potential members of the "SUPER YES", the one we can speak far is far from convinced of its viability at this juncture.... anyway, we'll keep you informed of developments.
The only other "tentative" information we have been able to glean, is that the box set from ATLANTIC RECORDS may well contain at least one ABWH track, and some individual solo tracks. It would probably retail for around $50, which is about £25. How the live shows would work has yet to be even discussed, but presumably the pieces performed on stage would encompass those performers who played on the corresponding original recording. Difficulties abound when more than one version exists - maybe the tour will also be 1997!
The Classical Connection
Because of Rick's somewhat diverse interests in music, he has decided to make more definitive divisions within his live performances and this will begin in February this year with a series of classically based concerts in the UK.
Basically Rick will be performing with just a bass, (David Paton), and the music will consist of some of Rick's more classically orientated works, performed on probably just two or three keyboards, and also some adaptations of some well known classics.
The show will run approximately two hours with an interval and Rick's now "infamous yarns" in between.
The venues will be small; probably 250 - 500 seaters and the first shows will be confirmed before Xmas. Any further details can be obtained from BDA on 0942 605465.
An exclusive CD/cassette will be produced for the shows which initially will not be available in record retail stores. It will be on the BADGER label, (more about that later), and will only be sold via mail order and at the concerts.
The series of concerts and the recording will all come under the CLASSICAL CONNECTION title.
About five years ago, Rick formed two companies with the sole intention of marketing his music as soon as the situation seemed right. 1990 seemed right, and so the companies were re-registered in the Isle of Man and work was started on their immediate involvement with Rick's music. A serious research was done around record retailers, television, radio and the media in general and in July, Rick asked a name familiar to some of you, Frank Fallows to become part of the set up and so in September Frank became marketing director for two of Rick's companies.
The immediate plan has been to catalogue all that has been unavailable or unreleased and set about rectifying the problem.
A distribution deal was negotiated with AMT Ltd and a pressing deal set up with ADRENALIN in London.
Frank and Rick then set to work. Firstly they licensed the BLACK KNIGHTS AT THE COURT OF FERDINAND IV from Mario Fasciano in Italy, redid the cover, both as regards credits and the art work and by the time you receive this newsletter it should start appearing in the shops. Any difficulties in getting it in the early stages, please call or fax Jane at WAKEMAN'S MUSIC EMPORIUM. Yes, the shop's up and running too!! The telephone number there is 0624 844138. It shares the fax line with the office 0624 844135. The shop also stocks most of Rick's other stuff and from now on all mail order enquiries will go through this channel. (More about the shop later).
Also out before Xmas will be THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA SOUNDTRACK, but retitled PHANTOM POWER, more about this as well later in the bulletin.
The following titles will be released by AMBIENT RECORDS over the next 18 months, some of which will be written about in more detail later.
BLACK KNIGHTS AT THE COURT OF KING FERDINAND IV, PHANTOM POWER, KLASSIC RICK, AFRICAN BACH, DOUBLE LIVE. THE GOSPELS, ROCK AND ROLL PROPHET, KING JOHN, THE WORLD OF NORMAN WISDOM. (still under negotiation) & POETRY IN MUSIC.
We have already talked about Black Knights. Phantom Power, African Bach and King John will be dealt with later. KLASSIC RICK is a now completed compilation put together by Rick and John Burns, (who co-produced and engineered some of the President albums with Rick). It contains four previously unreleased piano epics (they're all over 7 minutes long), plus two tracks recorded for a film entitled BC ROCK that was only shown in the USA back in the early eighties. These instrumental tracks were recorded whilst Rick was in the studio doing COST OF LIVING and subsequently the tracks share the same line up. In addition the CD will have what we think is a real coup.
Some of you may be old enough, or maybe know somebody old enough, who was present at the original Journey to the Centre of the Earth concert at the Royal Festival Hall. For an encore Rick performed a piece called THE PEARL AND DEAN PIANO CONCERTO. This was a piece for piano and orchestra based on all the TV adverts of the time. It was immensely popular and in fact was re-written for the American tour using USA television adverts.
Rick has uncovered recordings of both versions, plus the only studio recorded version of THE BATTLE using an orchestra that was ever done. All of these tracks will complete what we think will be a very collectable CD.
DOUBLE LIVE will probably not see the light of day until 1992 for many reasons, most of which will become apparent as this newsletter unfolds. It will be made up from the recordings done at Walthamstow and Cardiff during 1988.
THE GOSPELS is to be completely re-recorded with new arrangements based upon the originals. Robert Powell again doing narration, with Ramon Remedios assuming his now permanent role as tenor but this time accompanied by a massed choir from the Isle of Man. American interest has been excellent on this venture and the music will be available for Xmas 1991, which will be accompanied by a short tour to coincide with its release.
ROCK AND ROLL PROPHET (PLUS) is a collection of some of the original tracks from the album of the same name, plus some surprises that we have dug out of the vault. Again, we feel this could be a bit of a collector's item. No actual release date has been set for this as yet.
THE WORLD OF NORMAN WISDOM. Originally we had outside interest from two record company sources, but both have been a little hesitant in supplying the necessary finance to go with and so Norman and Rick decided to carry on regardless. The album is taking a really nice shape, being a mixture of Norman's comedy sketches, songs such as Don't Laugh at Me and even a monologue. Rick in fact is so knocked out with its prospects that he and Frank are seriously considering releasing it on AMBIENT RECORDS in time for Norman's next tour in the New Year. At worst the TV promotion with Rick and Norman together should prove hilarious.
POETRY IN MUSIC is a recording with Robert Powell and is exactly what it says - Poetry in music - The GOSPELS aside, Rick and Robert worked together on the COST OF LIVING album on a track entitled GRAY'S ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD. They also performed it together on BBC television and following a recent meeting between the two of them, at of all places number ten Downing Street!, they decided to do a complete recording of selected poetry and music. This is hoped to be completed and released in the early autumn of 1991.
This just leaves AFRICAN BACH, PHANTOM POWER and KING JOHN each of which we will now deal with in more depth.
A temporary license has been granted by the owners of AFRICAN BACH to allow AMBIENT RECORDS to release it in the UK, which has brought much satisfaction to all concerned. It is currently being pressed ready for a March release which will be followed by an AFRICAN BACH tour in April and May. The tour will be done with a guitar player as well as the English Rock Ensemble and also choirs will be featured throughout the production. The guitarist has yet to be named and the choirs will obviously vary from performance to performance. The tour will as we've said be entitled AFRICAN BACH - THE ENGLISH ROCK ENSEMBLE FEATURING RICK WAKEMAN. At this juncture the English Rock Ensemble will consist of the usual reprobates, the only doubt being whether or not Davy Paton will have finally left for Australia.
The contracts have finally been signed, and Rick is now officially writing and recording the music for the Grand Finale of the Dicken's Festival in June of next year in Rochester. It will be used for a spectacular pageant, and that is no exaggeration as they intend burning down a replica of Rochester castle!, and has a guaranteed audience of between 15 and 20 thousand people. Sounds like one not to be missed! AMBIENT RECORDS have retained the recording rights and a record will appear about a month prior to the festival based upon the music used in the finale. The whole of the display/pageant will be based on KING JOHN and although the performed version for the festival will not contain any "songs" as such, the rerecorded album will be adaptations with vocals and much much more as they say.
The festival takes place in June and is a must for all ages if the videos which we have seen from previous years are anything to go by.
Phantom Power / Phantom of the Opera
Following a telephone call from out of the blue saying that the Phantom of the Opera film that Rick did the music for was showing in America, and was about to he released on video in the UK, Rick hastily summoned Stuart Sawney who engineered the soundtrack with him and work immediately went ahead on producing an album from said film. The result is PHANTOM POWER, which is over fifty minutes worth of what Rick lovingly describes as "Good Stuff!" With luck both the video and CD/cassette should be in the shops for Xmas but if you can't find one....then please call WAKEMAN'S MUSIC EMPORIUM after December the 8th and we'll ship one to you.
All does not finish here however. Frank is off to the massive MIDEM festival this January where it is hoped to tie up distribution deals around the continent. Already AMBIENT has signed an exclusive deal with Super Channel for Eastern Europe which is one of the most difficult markets to penetrate.
Well that about sums up AMBIENT RECORDS for the coming months, with luck it could turn out to be just what we've all been looking for.
Not content with one record company, Rick has started two! Again with Frank Fallows on board as Marketing Director. This is a record company with a difference however. This company will produce product not specifically designed for the record retail market, although after an initial period a cross-over is hoped for and the product would transfer from AMBIENT MUSIC to AMBIENT RECORDS.
Already recorded are a series of relaxation music tapes and CDs which will be in selected health food shops and similar outlets for Xmas. You should be able to find them in most Holland and Barratt stores. Again don't hesitate to call us if you can't find them. Already recorded are the first two offerings from the SUNTRILOGY. They are ASPIRANT SUNSET and ASPIRANT SUNRISE. Shortly to follow will be ASPIRANT SUNSHADOWS and a SUNTRILOGY compilation containing tracks from all three recordings. A similar set of four will follow in the New Year. The actual label name will be BADGER RECORDS and because of both Rick's and Frank's concern for the environment, they have decided to make a donation of 50p from every sale to CPRE, which is the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England. Its patron is Her Majesty the Queen and the president is David Puttnam.
Two other titles earmarked for this label are "Great North 2000" and "The Classical Connection", the latter of which we spoke about earlier. Great North 2000 was the ill-fated Newcastle music that was used and abused by their festival this year and was never released commercially as planned. It will now be re-titled, re-edited and put out under a different guise in the early part of the year. A major retail store has expressed great interest in it, but as negotiations are at present at a very delicate stage, Frank has asked us not to mention any more at this juncture in the proceedings. The Classical Connection will be a limited edition recorded especially to coincide with the tour of the same name.
Other Record News
President Records are shortly to release NIGHT AIRS. We have a preview copy here at the office and the cover and art work is really lovely and compliments the music superbly.
Rick has also been approached with a view to having a compilation done of a three CD boxed set of the best of his early A&M and Charisma recordings. These would be digitally remixed and edited at ADVISION STUDIOS in Brighton by Doug Hopkins and released world wide.
A contract has been signed for the live tapes and video recorded during the Italian tour and hopefully should see the light of day some time next year. For those of you able to receive Super Channel it has been booked for multiple showings.
At the moment just two shows are firm for December. THE GOSPELS on the Isle of Wight on December the l4th and Weston-Super-Mare for the Rock Xmas Party show. Rick is also making two charity appearances on the Isle of Man. The 12th sees him at the Gaiety Theatre for a twenty minute spot in aid of the heart wing at Nobles Hospital and the 13th sees him on stage with Richard Digance at Summerland, for the Lady Taverners' Xmas Party, which if last year's was anything to go by, will be outrageous. If any of you fancy a quick sojourn to the Island for either of these events, tickets are available and Susie will be only to pleased to help you organise flights/ferries/accommodation etc to suit all pockets.
Wakeman's Music Emporium
Yes, he's finally done it and opened up a music shop selling everything from keyboards to guitars, sheet music to music related novelties, kazoos to trumpets, violins to hi-fi, CD's to trumpets etc etc etc, and for RWCC members there are discounts of between five and ten percent. The "grand" opening is on December the 8th and the shop's full address for those interested is WAKEMAN'S MUSIC EMPORIUM, ATHOLL PLACE, PEEL, ISLE OF MAN. Tel 0624 844138. Please remember that even if we don't have it in stock, we can get it!
You may recall from previous newsletters that Rick and Nina produced a recording of Bible readings with music for their great friend Dan Wooding, who runs ASSIST, which is a Christian organisation, aimed at helping underprivileged countries and persecuted Christians. Well we are pleased to let you know that the reports coming from America from ASAPH which is the record label that has released the CD and cassette, which incidentally is entitled IN THE BEGINNING, are excellent. The product appears to be outselling everything else on their Christian label ten to one. It is not available here yet although we are working very hard to get some imports early in the New Year.
From the same stable also comes a book entitled SINGING IN THE DARK,
Barry Taylor and Dan, for which Rick wrote the forward. The publisher is Kingsway Publications Ltd in case you can't find it in the book shops and they can be found at 1 St. Annes Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 3UN.
We mentioned earlier Rick going to number 10 Downing Street and it is worth mentioning purely because it was the night that Geoffrey Howe handed in his resignation. It was a Lord Taverner's reception, for which Rick is the chairman in the Isle of Man. Nina has returned to modelling, a lot of you fellows out there will be pleased to hear. She has been press ganged into joining the DUCHESS agency and those of you interested will find her and a lot of the other girls involved with the agency in a forthcoming issue of HELLO magazine in an article and photo session done at Longleat.... but not with the lions.
James Herbert and his commercial manager fly to the Isle of Man during the second week of December to discuss more fully the album Rick is producing for James Herbert's books. Rick is doing the signature tune and incidental music for a new Scottish television programme entitled SICK KIDS. It is not known yet whether or not it is to be networked.
Supporter of the Year
As always this is the month when we announce our supporter of the year, and for those of you who have "twigged" that the person who won it last year, Frank Fallows, now has the dubious position of working alongside Rick, will probably realise the danger in "winning" this award.
Who does the voting? Well a combination of Rick, Susie and the band and their unanimous choice this year........... PHIL SIRR Well done young man, this dubious honour entitles you to two free tickets for the coming year for you and your wife at any or all of Rick's solo concerts - that'll teach you!!!
........ and so from Rick, Nina and the family, Susie, The English Rock Ensemble and Frank Fallows.... once again we wish you all a fun packed Xmas and a very musical New Year.
Text scanned, OCRd and checked by Jon Hinchliffe