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Rick Wakeman

  • Fish Out Of Water,

    Rick Wakeman

  • Yes,
  • Chris Squire,

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    Rick Wakeman

    the six wives of henry VIII

    The Six Wives Of Henry VIII 8 ( 1973 )
    Catherine of Aragon / Anne of Cleves / Catherine Howard / Jane Seymour / Anne Boleyn 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended' / Catherine Parr

    Rick records his solo debut album as a bit of a wheeze and also a break from prog-giants Yes - only to watch astonished as it reaches number seven on the UK album charts. Although this album is, as you would expect, heavy on the keyboards and the solo's, Rick shares space here with a whole bunch of muscians. No less than three drummers were used including Alan White, Bill Bruford and some guy called Barry de Souza. We've got four or five backing vocalists ( no leads vocals ), four bass players including Dave Winter and Chris Squire. Three guitar players and Dave Cousins on Electric Banjo. Overblown? Well, what did you expect? If you're a fan of punk or grunge perhaps it's not worth you investigating the solo career of Rick Wakeman, even if he has enjoyed some seven charting albums in the UK. Equipment used for the technical and muso's out there include two mini-moog synths, a Hammond C-3 Organ, two different kinds of Mellotron, a ARP Synth and of course what else but the Church Organ at St Giles, Cripplegate, London. Well, you would, naturally. Personally, I can play none of those instruments, just being a somewhat basic man on the keys myself. The album is of course a concept album, well, the title gives it away really. Astonishingly good playing throughout and the concept neither gets in the way or means this album lacks different moods and emotion.

    The opening 'Catherine Of Aragon' sets out this albums intention with some great symphonic style harmonics to lead into 'Anne Of Cleves' which joyously comes across very much like an early jam by Rick's parent group Yes. The rhythm section really shine with sharp drums and melodic bass whilst Rick sits in the middle of this great, driving sound with virtuoso playing that never loses site of emotion, feel, or an eye for a tune. Basically, any fan of the early Yes work will also love this track in particular. Unlike some of Yes work however, this also hits really hard, especially during the songs close. 'Catherine Howard' sees Rick pen a genuinely pretty melody which he places in quieter sections of the tune as a repeating motif. Well, half way through the song goes really strange with almost country and western melodies, just to prove that Progressive Rock does indeed have a sense of humour. The album closes with the seven minute 'Catherine Parr' and bear in mind, the entire album only lasts around thirty-five minutes. 'Catherine Parr' takes in all sorts of musical feels and is a real show-off performance from Wakeman, in a good way. It certainly closes the album in satisfying fashion, a hugely enjoyable album even if there are parts that don't always cohesively hold together.

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    this page last updated 07/09/08

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