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Rick Wakeman - The Burning (OST) CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

2.60 | 36 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Horror of horrors, it's them Duke boys!

A film soundtrack by Wakeman (for someone as prolific as Wakeman, he's done surprisingly few). "The burning" is a low budget horror movie which receives a "BOMB" rating in Leonard Maltin's film guide. It's only real significance was that it represented the screen debut of Holly Hunter. Much to Wakeman's astonishment the film was hugely successful in Japan. Rick had reportedly turned down a share of the film's profits, and opted instead for a fixed fee such was his lack of faith in it.

It appears Wakeman's experiences in composing for the film were similar to Mike Oldfield's when he worked on "The killing fields", in that he found it impossible to please everyone.

The title is in fact slightly misleading, as only one side of the album has music actually used in the film. The four tracks on the first side are covered by the banner "The Wakeman variations". As implied, these are interpretations of the film music, where Rick has effectively taken themes written to reflect different parts of the film, and adapted them to become bona-fide album tracks. As such, they represent much the stronger part of the album from a listening perspective. Here he is joined by a guitarist, bassist and drummer, whereas on the soundtrack side, he performs alone. The four track are all instrumentals along the lines of those which appeared on the preceding "Rhapsodies", although the atmosphere here is understandably far more dramatic. Indeed, here again we have more "Wives" for Henry the Eighth!

Even Rick himself has little time for the soundtrack side of the album, although he is nostalgic about his use of a " Prophet 10 keyboard" on it for the first and only time (for him). The side oddly starts with the "End title theme" a suitably reflective piece, with a strong melody. "Campfire story" has some creepy narration by Brian Mathews which is rather wasted in an audio environment. Wakeman's keyboards here, and on the soundtrack side as a whole, are rather clumsy and phonetic. Two of the seven tracks do not feature Wakeman at all. "Doin' it" and "Devil's creek breakdown" are "Dukes of Hazzard" like country workouts, performed by five or six hired musicians. All that is missing is the yeee-ha's! For anyone, including myself, who has not seen the film, it is hard to imagine how these two tracks fit in to it.

As incidental and soundtrack music goes, this is not a bad album. Bearing in mind that it also contains a complete side of original Wakeman improvisations, perhaps better described as compositions which extract themes from the soundtrack, there is enough here to make this album worthy of investigation.

By the way, the rear sleeve of the album has a wonderful picture of a young short haired Wakeman from the early 1980's.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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