||From the Vault...
© RWCD Records
Year of Release: 1979
Pedra de Gamea
Rhapsody In Blue
Wooly Willy Tango
Swan Lager (P.D.)
Falcon de Meige
Rick Wakeman related sites:
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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