Vinyl Review – Rick Wakeman

Thanks again to Paul Coates-Black who has done some brilliant vinyl reviews for us – the second of which is here (see our earlier post of Paul’s Jah Wobble review).  Once again, acknowledgement to Demon Records for kindly sending us the records to review.  More to come!  Keep an eye on the blog for more uploads!  Chris

Rick Wakeman – Live (Access All Areas)

Picture Disc, Vinyl LP, CD


Rick Wakeman needs no introduction to many music fan’s as the keyboard wizard behind prog rock favourites Yes. However not many people may be aware as to how extensive a back catalogue he has of solo work, which to date includes a staggering 92 albums, not including reissues or work with other groups. This album consists of just three tracks, remember this is prog rock so they won’t be short! From his first two solo albums originally released in 1973 and 1974, recorded shortly after Yes’s most commercial success with the album ‘Close to the Edge’. Both albums were revisited many years after original release with the first being played at Hampton Court in 2009 to celebrate 500 years since Henry VIII’s accession to the throne and the second saw a sequel released twenty-five years after the original’s release.


However onto the music, Side A features two tracks from ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, Catherine Parr at 7 minutes long and Anne Boleyn at 13 minutes. Both tracks are Rick’s interpretation of the musical characteristics of each of the wives, he concedes on the original album sleeve notes that this is his interpretation and may not be historically accurate. All the track’s featured on this release were from a concert recorded in 1990, and feature him using nine keyboards, a fine example of Prog Rock excessiveness! ‘Anne Boleyn’ is  a rockier sounding tune, bringing to mind the sound of Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield, whilst ‘Catherine’ starts off with a similar sound before a fast rhythmic drum solo, before finally the pace and tone of the song mellow out and finish with a more relaxing and harmonious sound.  Side B sees ‘The Journey’ from Journey to the Centre of the Earth, a great example of the sound of the concept album that was so popular in the 1970’s. This track comes in at 19 minutes long, and much like Jeff Wayne does with ‘The War of the Worlds’ this features Rick along with a full band and vocalist telling a story inspired by the Jules Verne story which inspired the album.


Being a newcomer to Rick’s solo work, it took one listen to make me a convert, if you like either the concept album, instrumental tracks, Jean Michel Jarre or Mike Oldfield, this is definitely for you. After listening to this I immediately went and bought the original two LP’s these tracks came from and would highly recommend this as an introduction to Rick’s work.


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