Defend The Indefensible: Rick Wakeman

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It has been noted that ILM is not enthusiastic about Rick, sharing the traditional suspicions about his place in musical history; He destoyed Yes, and constantly makes concept album - and not even very highbrow concepts, he seems to grab any old book, idea etc. and decide to transform it into an album: An album of piano pieces about medieval times and the Isle of Man? A concept album of 1984? It can seem like lowbrow trying very hard to be highbrow.

And it's not even as if the man gives us time to appreciate his 'concepts' - he has released around 80 albums! Pretty soon he'll start making a concept album about other people's albums - 'Boy In Da Corner: The Rick Wakeman Version'. He used to be a big drinker, bet even that has been stopped. And, above all other crimes, he is a born-again Christian.

Okay, so far I haven't been doing much defending (I've been busy setting up straw-man enemies to deal with, hee hee), but now I start. I'm going to leave aside Yes, because I'm not that enamoured with them, and it's Wakeman's solo stuff I like. If he ruined Yes, I really couldn't care less.

I'm not going to attempt to argue that all his albums are good, or that he should have recorded half of them, but there really is a lot to love about Rick. He's a great keyboard player, as well as being an expert Mellotron player, and many other instruments. Technical ability does not make a good artist though, and some of Rick's albums are the prime example of this: sometimes he is the keyboard's Jimi Hendrix. But he's a great player, and some of his classical piano pieces are incredibly beautiful. Anyway, I've written a lot without saying much nice yet, so I'll mention a few albums, hopefully I'll be able to express myself better then...

Myths and Legends of King Arthur, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth are two of his strongest albums, comprising occasional beauty, crushing excitement and ambient stretches, the sense of journey and scope in both of these albums is immense. I acknowledge at this point that there are some people who find the concept album to be an abominable art-form, but really if you just ignore the concept and let yourself listen to the music you should actually enjoy it. The electronic sounds on both of them are amazing; occasionally a new sound will enter, and it will make me grin from ear to ear. There are some great pop moments on these records as well, Guinevere from Myths and Legends, for example.

My favourite Rick Wakeman album is probably 1984 - you haven't heard anything until you have heard this. Rick Wakemans blazing synth, Chaka Khan's screaming vocals, and Tim Rice's odd, insensitive lyrics. Had prog rock been around in the 40s, Orwell would have recorded this album instead of writing a novel. Try these on for size:

Rules rule ok ask no questions
Welcome to the age of consent
Fasten seat belts drive with caution
Don't take shots at the president
Robot man is a wonderful creation
Automatically obeys the law
Laws of nature, man and physics
I don't know if it's 1984 for sure
1984?

The only thing you have to know
Big Brother is watching you
You love him

The best thing about this bit (in Robot Man) is the different singing voices, specifically that the last line is sung in a deep commanding vocoded voice, "YOU LOVE HIM!". Now at this point you may be wondering whether I take this album seriously or not: it doesn't matter. I enjoy listening to the album, regardless of whether I see it as comedy or drama. And I urge you to do the same. If you find Rick's pretentious concepts rediculous then fine, laugh. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you dislike an album just because you react other than how you feel you're supposed to. Rick won't mind if you giggle.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Some really lovely pieces on this one, but all I'll say is that I have been in pubs named after each of the wives, and Rick Wakeman is OTM in his depiction of their atmosphere.

Rick Wakeman also:
Uses everyone's favourite conservationist, and former member of the Goodies, Bill Oddie as vocalist on Breathalyser, on Criminal Record.
Likes to do funny things like have a distorted image on his album cover which looks right if you roll a piece of mirrored paper and stand it in the middle.
Never fails to look funny in the album art.
Enjoys that lovely kind of British new-agedom that likes Stonehenge and thinks King Arthur is going to come back.
Apparently did the funny noises in Space Oddity.

So, there you go - I love Wakeman, and that is my defense. Don't get hung up on whether it is pretentious or ironic, just listen to the music, and if you enjoy your reactions, whatever they may be, well done.

Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 09:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Actually, am I supposed to start with a defense? And such a long one? Oh, dear, I don't know at all. My first ILM thread too.

Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 09:27 (fifteen years ago) link

And it's rambling and doesn't make much sense and it's badly written. Sorry ILM - I haven't slept for a few days, which may explain why I thought writing about Rick Wakeman was such a good idea.

Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 09:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, he's played on some great albums. Hunky Dory for instance.

Jonathan Z. (Joanthan Z.), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 10:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, and at least one classic era Sabbath album too, I believe?

He remains a very difficult gentleman to defend, mind.

M Carty (mj_c), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 10:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Destroy: His frequent appearances on Danny Baker's mercifully long-cancelled BBC1 chat show, where he was given free reign to ramble at excruciating length.
eg:
Danny Baker: Hi Rick. How come you're wearing a toga today?
Rick Wakeman: Well, there's rather a funny story attached to that...

M Carty (mj_c), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 10:48 (fifteen years ago) link

And it's rambling and doesn't make much sense and it's badly written.

Actually, Kevin, it's one of the most enjoyable things I've read on ILM for a while.

Rick Wakeman, hey? He's an odd fellow. The thing is, I totally concur with your 'Hendrix of synth' summary, in a negative way - he's all technical ability over actually making something good (I'm going to get so kicked in the face for hating on Hendrix again, but nevermind). Despite this, I am actually incredibly glad that he exists.

For instance, when my band did a cover of 'Forever Autumn' from the War Of The Worlds soundtrack, everyone I knew had reminiscences of listening to the record as a child. I was a late convert, as a kid my mum had the the Journey To The Centre Of The Earth LP instead, so I will always have fond memories of that.

Also, he is FUNNY. As a keyboard player with an ever-expanding collection of synths and a strange increasing desire to wear a cape, how can I not find Wakeman amusingly relevant? No, I will never ever be tempted to make pompous concept albums about jesters or courtly romance or whatever, but I'm glad that someone does it (even if I won't be remotely tempted to listen to them, either).

And finally, he is the only person I've ever guessed correctly on Through The Keyhole.

None of these are very good defences, I'm afraid, but really, it is Rick Wakeman you're talking about.

emil.y (emil.y), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 11:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Isn't he a regular in Dictionary Corner on Countdown?

Neil FC (Neil FC), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 12:00 (fifteen years ago) link

Search: early work with the Strawbs.

briania (briania), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 12:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Rick Wakeman played the Mellotron break on Bowie's "Space Oddity", which is probably the best mellotron break ever. It really hits you when it comes in, you know? I don't think it was him who ruined Yes, really, I mean he's on 2 of their best records "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge", and he's often the only thing that holds whole sections of "Tales From Topographic Oceans" together, for that matter.

On the downside, I really don't like his solo albums (or many prog keyboard player solo albums. I like Tim Blake, and if Simon House had recorded a solo alb around 1974, I'd probably have liked that, but that's all I can think of) plus there's GasTank, which was this wretched rock prog from the early days of ch4. Wakeman and some other keyboard player were the presenters. It was terrible stuff. All long blues jams, yurgh.

I think the good things outweigh the bad things by a huge margin though - "Space Oddity", "And You and I", "Siberian Khatru" especially.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 13:40 (fifteen years ago) link

Bits of "White Rock" I like. And that's from a film about Skiing, alright?

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 13:42 (fifteen years ago) link

either skiing or mountain climbing, I forget.

I also forgot his role in lisztomania! Classic!! (only if you're steaming drunk, though)

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 13:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Classic. His were the first synths I remember hearing on the radio as a kid and going "what is THAT?" in complete awe. Responsible for my devotion to machines in music. Great to watch play live, though I've only seen him in Yes, and Henry VIII is a good record, with Criminal Record a far 2nd.

Jay Vee (Manon_70), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 15:17 (fifteen years ago) link

I like his stuff on 'Heart of the Sunrise' especially just the atmosphere only :04 seconds in, after the riff plays once.

57 7th (calstars), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 15:25 (fifteen years ago) link

He played on two of the greatest albums ever, Fragile and Close to the Edge, and is therefore not only not indefensible but the shit.

martin hilliard, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 16:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Actually, Kevin, it's one of the most enjoyable things I've read on ILM for a while.

It is. But I can't defend him outside of contexts where he is completely tied down to someone else's vision rather than indulging his own. (Hunky Dory as an obvious choice.)

An illustrative point of recent vintage -- I found, for very cheap, the Strawbs double disc comp last year and figured I'd give it a go, as they represent a British rock strand of the era I know comparatively little about. Most of it I thought was enjoyable one way or another but there was a stretch of songs on the first disc where I was BORED TO TEARS by the lengthy keyboard hash. So I check the credits and what do I find to my lack of surprise...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 16:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Ah, but Yes at their 1972-best were very much a product of his sensibilities. In addition to those already discussed, his piano soli on "South Side of the Sky" also warrants mention — as do all his jamming Hammond solos around that time...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 16:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Hey, where's the Mellotron solo on Space Oddity? I've only ever noticed Bowie's Stylophone

Jez (Jez), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 16:44 (fifteen years ago) link

jamming Hammond solos

I admit that there are few words in the English language that can freak me out so much as this. (But quite why I like Jon Lord a lot, say, is a mystery.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 16:50 (fifteen years ago) link

"Jamming"? Come on, Ned, admit it: the solos on "Roundabout" and "Close To the Edge" JAM.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 17:00 (fifteen years ago) link

His playing on the above cited hit albums is downright awesome. I think Yes got a lot BETTER when he joined -- the guy before him sounded like a boring, second-rate jazz school student (though there was probably no jazz school at the time). Is this enough to forgive him for convincing Yes to include his Brahms arrangement on Fragile? Perhaps not.

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 18:25 (fifteen years ago) link

But a truly indefensible pick would, yes, be Tony Kaye.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 18:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Yup, that's the guy. Thanks.

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 16 November 2004 20:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Tony Kaye pre-1973 = very defensible
Tony Kaye 1987-onwards = indefensible, except for being a rock star with premature greyish-white hair

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 03:11 (fifteen years ago) link

His piano parts on Bowie's Hunky Dory were neat, and he didn't write the lyrics to "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"

donut bitch (donut), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 03:48 (fifteen years ago) link

As for Wakeman:

Prosecutor:

1) Most of his solo albums are pretty terrible, and I would include Journey to the Center of the Earth in the list. King Arthur has some decent moments and beautiful melodies, but a lot of it is either mediocre or bad--the vocals, the lyrics, the choirs shouting "Fight! Fight!" in irregular time. And albums like these don't even begin to scrape the surface of his really bad solo albums, the ones nobody knows about like: A Suite of Gods, Cost of Living, "Crimes of Passion"

2) For all claims of being a virtuoso, he is really a pretty limited virtuoso (i.e., relative to, say Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz, a number of other keysman from that era).

3) He doesn't care for Tales from Topographic Oceans and he likes golf. :)

Defense:

1) Excepting Keith Emerson, there aren't many other people you could reasonably claim was a more influential (taking into account popular recognition and commercial success as well) person in defining the 'rock keyboardist' thang during the early 70s. Whenever you see someone today with a cadre of stacked keyboards (which, let's face it, is pretty much everyone), Wakeman was the guy at the forefront of doing that.

2) The aforementioned piano middle in "South Side of the Sky" (shivers).

3) I'd say Six Wives and Criminal Record at least are decent efforts.

4) Prog rock meets the Ice Follies wasn't really his fault (in that he had to accomodate the venue, which had an ice show going on).

5) The view of him as an aloof, cape-wearing prick is shredding paper tigers, at least going on for the past two decades plus. By all accounts, with perhaps the exception of the drummer, Wakeman is easily the most approachable and down-to-earth member of Yes.

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 03:48 (fifteen years ago) link

That's all very well-put, Joe. But tell me: what exactly is defensible about Tony Kaye ca. 1973? I mean, he was pretty fucking useless for the duration...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 03:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't think Kaye was ever a stellar player, but I love his Hammon sound and thought his work on the first three albums, constrained to the organ and piano, 'fit' very well. The Yes Album is one in particular...Kaye's playing there is very well-integrated with the rest of the band, less flashy than Wakeman and more 'team playing'.

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 04:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Sure. I'd also say it was boring as piss.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 04:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Well yeah, it was boring as piss if you're spending a whole Yes song straining to hear a Hammond solo to compare it to Wakeman. Joe's last post OTM. And Tony Kaye > Rick Wakeman because of the uber-virtuosic road Wakeman led Yes down. And upgrade your browser already so AMG won't crash it. Jerk.

wetmink (wetmink), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 05:18 (fifteen years ago) link

And Tony Kaye > Rick Wakeman because of the uber-virtuosic road Wakeman led Yes down.

I'll take that road over the Time and a Word road any day, thanks. At least it's not, well, boring as piss.

And I DID upgrade my browser -- AMG just doesn't work on Safari that well (no cookies, apparently). It's only when I look at it on my PC that I remember how much the new version blows.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 05:21 (fifteen years ago) link

What ruined Time and a Word were generally uninspired songs and the lame orchestral contribution. But compare "Starship Trooper" on The Yes Album with the one on Yessongs - the original works much better without the superfluous Wakemanisms.

wetmink (wetmink), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 05:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, but "Perpetual Change" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" are both vastly superior on Yessongs, so there you have it...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 05:28 (fifteen years ago) link

one CLASSIC story i heard about wakeman -- how during one really long yes live song, he got bored and ordered some roadie to get him a curry and proceeded to eat said curry. i even hear that this antic was at least indirectly responsible for him getting booted out (or maybe it was his vocal dislike for topographic oceans).

that he's the most down-to-earth yes-man is nice, but kinda beside the point -- isn't the POINT of yes that they're NOT down-to-earth? if i had to spend time with a yes-er, i'd actually rather spend time talking w/ jon anderson (even if 99.999% of what would come outta his mouth would be new agey malarkey) or drinking w/ chris squire.

this 1984 concept-album sounds pretty interesting, at least as kevin describes it. chaka khan -- SCREAMING orwell vocals?!? how could you NOT wanna hear that?!?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 05:29 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't defend him. I remember listening to "Six Wives of Henry the Eighth I Am" and going, hmm. OK, he does seem down-to-earth. His keyboards on that Bowie song are great. He's not terrible on "Fragile" and he makes some cool *noises*. The "solos," well, I think it's shit. Steve Howe is what made Yes, pure and simple, and it would've been ten times better had they had two guitar players actually. The keyboard shit seems almost completely extraneous. Every prog band had to have a keyboardist--the guy in Genesis was actually pretty good, Tony Banks. But what do I know, my idea of a good keyboard player is Allen Toussaint or Earl Hines or Jimmy Rowles, Monk and Jerry Lee Lewis.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 17 November 2004 14:57 (fifteen years ago) link

> Technical ability does not make a good artist though ... sometimes he is the keyboard's Jimi Hendrix.

If you honestly think that Hendrix was all about technique and not songwriting, then you simply can't have properly listened to him. In three years, Jimi recorded far more worthwhile music than Wakeman managed in thirty.

Palomino (Palomino), Thursday, 18 November 2004 00:09 (fifteen years ago) link

How should I listen to it? Standing on my head? While reading about how influential he is? While trying to play along on a guitar?

Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Thursday, 18 November 2004 01:13 (fifteen years ago) link

But Wakeman's breaks on Roundabout are so fuckin cool!

Hurting (Hurting), Thursday, 18 November 2004 01:37 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah!

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 18 November 2004 01:43 (fifteen years ago) link

The best of those kinds of stories is about Rick Wakeman of Yes ordering a curry and eating it during a Bill Bruford drum symphony or sumthin'.
-- Dadaismus (kcoyne3...), October 23rd, 2003.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But that Rick Wakeman story is true - I had an old biography of his which tells the tale.
It was the "Tales from topographic oceans" tour and during one interminable song, Rick mouthed to his keyboard roadie - who sat under the stage keeping his Moogs in tune - that he fancied a curry later. Said roadie mishears and disappears for fifteen minutes, returning with a big bag of curry, rice, popadums, bhahis etc, which Rick proceeds to eat during a drum solo. Chris Squier was annoyed about it at the time, but Jon Anderson enjoyed it so much he came over and shared a popadum and bhaji.

(It didn't help that Rick was the only non-veggie in the band at the time so he couldn't really share the chicken vindaloo with the others).

Sorry, X-post again.

-- Rob M (durutti24...), October 23rd, 2003.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Thursday, 18 November 2004 02:19 (fifteen years ago) link

dave q to thread!!

geeta (geeta), Thursday, 18 November 2004 02:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Wakeman not being a vegetarian = awesome.

Ian John50n (orion), Thursday, 18 November 2004 03:26 (fifteen years ago) link

I wish I could post a link to an audio clip of me attempting to sing the Wakeman parts from Roundabout, which is what I would be over-excitedly doing right now if this was a real life conversation.

Hurting (Hurting), Thursday, 18 November 2004 04:00 (fifteen years ago) link

What about the robo-surf synth break in Close to the Edge after Jon Anderson does the really long dramatic build-up (I get up/I get down etc.)? So AWESOME!

Hurting (Hurting), Thursday, 18 November 2004 04:02 (fifteen years ago) link

Wakeman not being a vegetarian = awesome.

Macrobiotic, dude. Macrobiotic.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 18 November 2004 04:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Eisbar, seems like the curry thing happened *on* the THTO tour during a long section where he had no part to play. Indeed classic.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 18 November 2004 07:23 (fifteen years ago) link

Whoops, sorry, missed previous post addressing this.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 18 November 2004 07:25 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes threads are some of my favorite things on ILM 'cause I like those guys just fine but really have no dog in this fight. Love reading the opinions of those who do, though.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 18 November 2004 07:41 (fifteen years ago) link

"Send an instant korma to me/Initial it with loving care . . . "

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 18 November 2004 07:48 (fifteen years ago) link

The weirdest line in that song is "Just remember that the goal is for us all to capture all we want". It doesn't even seem to be used in a critical or satirical sense AFAICT. Didn't it occur to anyone that this might be a little contradictory to the overall message of the song. Actually the lyrics to that song are pretty weird on the whole - all that chess imagery and "use me any time you want" stuff.

I can't fucking believe the shit that the keyboardist on the glorious Yes Album is taking. Joe v OTM - what he played was perfect for those songs, whereas Wakeman could sometimes be really intrusive and overbearing. The organs and the jam on "Good People"! The organ riff on "Starship Trooper"! Also Moraz deserves major props.

Despite Wakeman's flaws, mind you, no one who played "South Side of the Sky" and "Siberian Khatru" is anything close to indefensible. He did get some classic sounds out of the keyboard - I love his bits on "And You and I" and nick is right about the synth float on "Heart of the Sunrise". And I'm surprised Ned doesn't even like "Long Distance Runaround".

sundar subramanian (sundar), Thursday, 18 November 2004 08:44 (fifteen years ago) link

The Sex Pistols was the reason Rick left A&M, not the other way round...

Mark G, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 06:39 (eight years ago) link

No it has to be the other way around if it's true at all. I'm sceptical that he would have had that much sway at the label, since sales were waning (though his late 70s stuff is good - often preferable to the earlier, better known albums). Wakeman's final album for A&M came out in 1979, two years after the fact. I know that Wakeman showed up in a documentary talking about this and said it was essentially a bullshit story.

everything, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 07:26 (eight years ago) link

xpost to earlnash - try Criminal Record, which is a digestible and enjoyably brief album from '77. It has a fair chunk of solo Rick mixed with Alan White, Chris Squire and Wakeman doing some fairly disciplined and enjoyable proggy bits.

everything, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 07:41 (eight years ago) link

Basically, McLaren had said that the Sex Pistols' signing had upset some of the proggers on the label (He'd read, upside down, a memo on the A&M-A&R's desk to the extent of "hey, do we all have to wear safety pins through our noses now?" and said more or less in passing that it was him wot got them sacked.

At which point lots of A&M staffers were all "yes, yes, that's exactly what happened", which got Rick extremely pissed off. Doubtless, that was not the only factor, but maybe one of them that made him see out his contract then goodnight vienna.

One further album, "Rhapsodies", then off. (his "Criminal Record" presumably well on the way by then..)

Mark G, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 08:43 (eight years ago) link

Thanks, that rings true. Wakeman was probably nearing the end at A&M anyway. "Criminal Record" did not sell too well I think - I recall stacks of copies marked down in Boots at the start of the 80s, which is where I got it from. Rhapsodies could be looked at as a stereotypical "last album for the label". It feels/sounds cut-price, has a terrible sleeve design (as did Criminal Record) and is all over the place, apparently hoping to appeal to the general public (there's everything from James Last-style orchestal disco to moogy riffs on famous classical/jazz tunes. This from a guy who has no business even considering what what "commercial" might sound like (listen to "Rock'n'Roll Prophet" to see how lamentable is his take on early-80s synthpop. Notwithstanding all that, to me there is some good stuff on these album due to his general creative quirkiness and blokey whimsicality.

everything, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:03 (eight years ago) link

People had some patience back in those days, I just don't see any of this kind of weird music being THAT popular.

hypothesis: prog rock fulfilled a cinematic purpose for fantasy/scifi/stoner nerds in the mid seventies, but that purpose was superseded by blockbuster sci-fi movies and the spread of D&D and then FPS videogames. Punk didn't kill prog rock, the triumph of nerdery in other pop culture areas did.

bendy, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 20:26 (eight years ago) link

Not wanting to sound negative but no.

everything, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 22:30 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

I'm totally digging Rock and Roll Prophet at the moment. It's like Wakeman meets the Buggles. And he sings weird duets!

http://open.spotify.com/album/1cOv3eKLgw8Tuas65QvaS6

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 26 October 2012 19:28 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

totally insane that the brilliant No Earthly Connection is STILL unavailable on cd. that needs fucking sorting out.

i had no idea, but this was sorted out in 2012 with a US pressing, and the mastering is gorgeous, a lot richer than the cd editions of the other classics.

mark e, Monday, 3 November 2014 15:07 (five years ago) link

Cool. I need to catch up on Wakeman.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 4 November 2014 01:55 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

I wonder why Journey To Centre Of Earth got that reissue with new cover so recently when these were going to come out?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 30 January 2015 00:08 (five years ago) link

those were new recordings ..
not reissues of the originals.

mark e, Friday, 30 January 2015 00:21 (five years ago) link

Oh! Good thing I didn't buy it! I don't remember there being any note of that on the cover.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 30 January 2015 00:34 (five years ago) link

its not that obvious at all.
i too nearly got the new editions but a nerd wakeman fan warned me.
however, these are indeed legit reissues !

mark e, Friday, 30 January 2015 01:20 (five years ago) link

I had the Strawbs 'All That Crazy Gift Of Time' pop up on my walkman a couple of weeks back. Got knocked out by the keyboard solo which sounded nicely distorto and had me thinking this is probably the closest RW came to garage punk like The later Seeds or something. Hadn't remembered the Antiques & Curios lp really going there but good lp.
I need to listen to the lp through again. Just had that track come up at random.

Stevolende, Friday, 30 January 2015 02:25 (five years ago) link

four years pass...

Interview in Rolling Stone is pretty interesting.

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 13 October 2019 18:20 (eight months ago) link

That site is making it very difficult to read with all the adverts shifting the page. I cant even copy and paste the thing.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 13 October 2019 20:28 (eight months ago) link

Is he really known more for comedy in the UK?

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 13 October 2019 20:32 (eight months ago) link

he was on TV a lot* in the 90s in programmes like "grumpy old men", which i imagine were watched by many ppl who weren't much fussed abt the strawbs, but it's hard to run the numbers (this period seemed like forever at the time but in hindsight wasn't that drawn-out really)

*a bit

mark s, Sunday, 13 October 2019 20:36 (eight months ago) link

Who cares about solo careers and who needs defense when you played the gorgeous mellotron in "And you and I", on a five-stars record, in one of the 5 best classic prog rock bands ever.

Nabozo, Monday, 14 October 2019 10:03 (eight months ago) link

As well with Yes stuff, I love his first album and Lisztomania soundtrack. Got a bunch of his other solo albums waiting.

I wonder what upsetting thing it was that his son saw on tour.

Mark S - just a bit? Check out his "self" credits on imdb.

Wakeman said that Have I Got News For You, Countdown (he's been on 87 episodes) and Grumpy Old Men opened a ton of doors for him, asked to lots of events and things as essentially a tv personality. On imdb I see he hosted a comedy club series. Not listed is a semi-regular (?) slot he had on Watchdog.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 18 October 2019 19:26 (eight months ago) link

lol i was too lazy to check so i walked back "a lot" to "a bit" but i was right the first time i guess

(i am staying away from my first instincts in this thread so as not to upset all his loving fans)

mark s, Friday, 18 October 2019 19:36 (eight months ago) link

he always seemed like the funniest and most down to earth Yesman there was, I'd def have a pint with him

frogbs, Friday, 18 October 2019 20:37 (eight months ago) link

Also was on Banzai:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRRxgapzsU8

everything, Friday, 18 October 2019 23:30 (eight months ago) link

I did enjoy his sideman roles in the early 70s. Strawbs stuff is pretty great, especially the utterly repetitive bit on Where is the Dream Of Our Youth which reminded me of Terry riley or Darryl Hooper or something.

Not heard the solo lps.

Stevolende, Saturday, 19 October 2019 13:01 (eight months ago) link

actually I see that that's All That Crazy Gift of Time. Saw I mentioned it a couple of years ago.

Stevolende, Saturday, 19 October 2019 13:02 (eight months ago) link

Is that the same song as the Kevin Ayers song, "All That Crazy Gift Of Time"?

Michael Oliver of Penge Wins £5 (Tom D.), Saturday, 19 October 2019 13:13 (eight months ago) link

Had no idea he did a track with Chaka Khan...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bjmWuRG8vmE

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Saturday, 19 October 2019 13:48 (eight months ago) link

no internet evidence i can find that the strawbs have a song called "all that crazy gift of time" or indeed "all this crazy gift of time" (the ayers song)?

(lol except on this thread)

the wakeman solo on "where is the dream of our youth" is i guess a bit more garagepunkish than he usually is, plus exhibits the one thing i will generally cede him = good taste in overall sonic settings and sound-colour sense: he switches the organ stops several times, and this is the best element of the solo.

(sund4r schooled me on this aspect of his play on a yes thread years ago and he's right and i shd be more generous to RW.)

but the solo also exhibits exactly the things which annoy me abt wakeman: superfast nerveless showoffy fiddliness endlessly undermined by needless fingering blunders, like he spends all his practice time aiming for high speed and none ironing out precison of detail. i suspect it's why his solos so often end up sounding so bought-by-the-yard. his presence on TV as a fun down-to-earth figure was the same, kind of: much lazier and more quickly boring than someone this gifted should really be sounding… but he's just a a least-effort kind of guy. COULD DO BETTER SEE ME.

mark s, Saturday, 19 October 2019 14:03 (eight months ago) link

also lol strawbs vocals are insufferable

mark s, Saturday, 19 October 2019 14:04 (eight months ago) link

Wonder if i was listening to the Kevin Ayers song since getting home the night I noticed that 4 years ago. I know it turned up on my walkman as i was waitiung at the bus stop waiting to head home as I noticed. I think I replayed it a few times at the time. & I just went from the memory as I made the comment today, though I used the tracklisting from RYM and assumed that was the track. Then looked up the thread and noticed i'd made the comment.
So looks like my initial post today was the more accurate one.

& yeah whoever that singer is with Strawbs really is an acquired taste. Is that Cousins?

Stevolende, Saturday, 19 October 2019 14:30 (eight months ago) link

The keyboards on "All This Crazy Gift of Time", the Kevin Ayers song, are by Mike Ratlege, in case of confusion.

Michael Oliver of Penge Wins £5 (Tom D.), Saturday, 19 October 2019 14:51 (eight months ago) link

I'm the confused one, there aren't any keyboards on "All This Crazy Gift of Time", I'm thinking of "Song for Insane Times"!

Michael Oliver of Penge Wins £5 (Tom D.), Saturday, 19 October 2019 14:54 (eight months ago) link

Most conservative thing I've seen him actually say: "hoodies should be shot on sight". That was on Grumpy Old Men at a time when lots of young people were wearing hooded sweaters, some were using it to hide their face, it was associated with criminality and old people were terrified of them. Probably a cringey phase for many youngsters.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 19 October 2019 15:10 (eight months ago) link

grumpy old men did brexit >:(

(= true with and without caps and quote marks)

mark s, Saturday, 19 October 2019 15:13 (eight months ago) link

perhaps had prog not been so thoroughly devalued, brexit never would have happened

reggie (qualmsley), Saturday, 19 October 2019 16:18 (eight months ago) link

either way rick is to blame

mark s, Saturday, 19 October 2019 16:28 (eight months ago) link

He was asked to appear in Mighty Boosh but turned it down, don't know why.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 19 October 2019 16:53 (eight months ago) link

He was at an awards ceremony for cats recently. Mostly talks about his diet and animal cruelty on twitter.

Love this so much
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdDpuT5stnk

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 19 October 2019 17:07 (eight months ago) link

grumpy old men did brexit >:(

(= true with and without caps and quote marks)

Read this as “(= true with and without capes and quote marks)

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 28 October 2019 04:22 (eight months ago) link

plus there's GasTank, which was this wretched rock prog from the early days of ch4. Wakeman and some other keyboard player were the presenters. It was terrible stuff. All long blues jams, yurgh.

― Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, November 16, 2004 1:40 PM (fourteen years ago)

This is of course all on Youtube now, it's really bad (warning: 50 mins video):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRvDoFGfWoE

Cornelius Fondue (Matt #2), Monday, 28 October 2019 06:43 (eight months ago) link

I've never heard of this programme! I wonder if it was Not For Viewers In Scotland.

Michael Oliver of Penge Wins £5 (Tom D.), Monday, 28 October 2019 09:02 (eight months ago) link

I remember watching it at the time but that was down in t'smoke, think yourself lucky you were spared the sight of an increasingly sloshed Tony Ashton banging out pub piano while Alvin Lee or someone of that ilk farted out a generic blues-rock solo. In fact Rick seemed the odd man out, what with his rococo synth fanfares and wizardly cape.

Cornelius Fondue (Matt #2), Monday, 28 October 2019 09:14 (eight months ago) link

Living in Ayrshire a the time, I remember it took absolutely ages for C4 to get to us.

Maresn3st, Monday, 28 October 2019 10:03 (eight months ago) link

Hope Big World Cafe reached you.

Cornelius Fondue (Matt #2), Monday, 28 October 2019 10:38 (eight months ago) link

'Anne Of Cleeves' on 'Six Wives ... '
is an absolute massive tune.

mark e, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 21:56 (eight months ago) link

* Cleves *

to be fair this whole album is absolutely everything i love re PROG.
i rarely enjoy vocals in prog, so this album hits the spot more than most when the need for excess arises.

mark e, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 21:58 (eight months ago) link

eight months pass...

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