From the Vault...


Rick Wakeman

© RWCD Records

Year of Release: 1979

track listing
  • Pedra de Gamea
  • Front Line
  • Bombay Duck
  • Animal Showdown
  • Big Ben
  • Rhapsody In Blue
  • Wooly Willy Tango
  • The Pulse
  • Swan Lager (P.D.)
  • March Of
    The Gladiators
  • Falcon de Meige
  • The Flasher
  • The Palais
  • Stand-By
  • Sea Horses
  • Half Holiday
  • Summertime

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    Rick Wakeman Website
    Previous Review: #976
    Fleetwood Mac--Bare Trees
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    The Hale's--A Small Portion Of The Big Picture
    Rick Wakeman

    The keyboard genius is back...

    Rick Wakeman, one of my favorite keyboardists, (ok, he's probably THE most favorite), returns this week with his 1979 solo release, Rhapsodies. Where his many Classical music releases are exceptional, Rhapsodies takes a look at some standard Rock and Progressive Rock themes, incorporated with a mix of Classical, and excellent versions of George Gershwin tunes.

    There are lots of synthesized numbers on this release, rather than the standard piano on most of Wakeman's Classical works. Being a keyboardist, it's obvious to feature the common keyboard instrument, as the opening track, "Pedra de Gamea" has the synthesized sound, with another instrument the Vox, as it intreprets vocals in a computerized style. (Stevie Wonder was probably the first from my recollection to use this instrument in his music.) "Bombay Duck" is another fast-paced synthesized track, and has an updated Classical feel, and can be easily compared to an energetic Emerson, Lake & Palmer selection. "Animal Showdown" is another upbeat song, with synthesizers sounding as if you were at the circus, and it even has the melody of the popular "Yes, We Have No Bananas."

    "Big Ben" could be used as a music intro to a radio or tv program, and has a more Progressive Rock style, as in the band Yes, which Wakeman was a part of, in their 1970s prime. Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" is an excellent upbeat rendition, "Wooly Willy Tango" is a very good bouncy rock song. "The Pulse" maybe one of the least favorites, as it has a Progressive Rock feel.

    "Swan Lager" is based on Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and Greig's Pianoforte "Concerto In 'A' Minor," and is a very-well done, in an upbeat fashion. "March Of The Gladiators" is very progressive as heard in Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP). "Falcon de Meige" is very impressive, with lite rock touches, and has a good Pop sound. "The Flasher" is done in another energetic ELP fashion, with some Classical touches.

    "The Palais" has a mix of the standard Classical style that Wakeman is famous for, and has some ragtime touches. "Stand-By" is a progressive ELP rock style, with some beautiful Classical touches. It has a "hook" that could be used for radio/tv newscasts. "Sea Horses" is another beautiful Classical rendition, Wakeman is famous for. "Half Holiday" has a ragtime style. Gershwin's "Summertime" has a moody atmosphere (typical), yet beautifully blended with Wakeman's piano interpretations.

    Rock and Progressive Rock styles best describes Rick Wakeman's Rhapsodies. It's an interesting look at how Wakeman can blend the keyboard instruments together, and created some incredible music. Where his pure Classical releases are his standouts, Rock fans of the such bands as Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer will enjoy this release. Wakeman again proves that whatever styles of music he can intrepret, its outcome will always be the same regarding this release -- Superb.

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    Previous Review: #976
    Fleetwood Mac--Bare Trees
    Next Review: #978
    The Hale's--A Small Portion Of The Big Picture