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Rick Wakeman - Recollections: The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 9 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I don't know about the rest of the planet, but here in the U.K. there has been a vogue for releasing invidious little double CDs with titles such as ALL THE JAZZ YOU'LL EVER NEED, ALL THE CLASSICAL MUSIC YOU'LL EVER NEED, ALL THE REGGAE YOU'LL EVER NEED etc. Well, I've got half a mind to dub this collection ALL THE WAKEMAN SOLO STUFF YOU'LL EVER NEED. And yes, it fits on a single CD - but a glorious one. With Wakeman, as soon as you try to compile a TWO-disc collection, you're bound to include material of dubious quality, as proved by a (bigger) rival compilation, VOYAGER.

On RECOLLECTIONS, however, everything is strong:

1. You get the three most melodious (and varied) tracks from SIX WIVES, all featuring a dazzling array of keyboards (tracks 1 -3)

2. You get two exciting excerpts from JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH (tracks 4 & 5) - just about all you'll ever need! (Any more and you end up with a severe stomach ache.)

3. You get the two most Tremendous Pieces from ARTHUR (tracks 6 & 7). The first is prog at its most overblown (but boy it's uplifting) and the second is an inimitable rollercoaster fun ride!

4. You get the single best track from NO EARTHLY CONNECTION (No. 8), featuring some of Rick's loveliest harpsichord solos,

5. Two charming tunes from that technicolor soundtrack, WHITE ROCK (tracks 9 and 10),

6. Just about the only bearable ditty from RHAPSODIES (track 14),

7. And best of all (especially if you already own SIX WIVES): you're also getting the very best pieces from CRIMINAL RECORD (tracks 11 - 13). These three are actually the main reason why I bought RECOLLECTIONS, as I find the remainder of CRIMINAL RECORD (including the horrifying "Judas Iscariot", with its doom-laden church organ and aaah-aaah-aaah choir) totally forgettable. Now, tracks 12 and 13 may contain some cheesy moments (at this stage in his career, Rick seemed to forget which keyboard sounds you'd better NOT use) but they're full of gorgeous ideas. And track 11, "Statue of Justice", is one of the most exciting pieces Rick ever devised, with its soaring synth and Hammond organ solos.

So if you're simply looking for a good overview of the most inspired stage in Rick's career, this may be the right album for you. There are just two things I regret:

A. What a shame they didn't include "Anne of Cleves" and "Catherine Parr", the longest tunes from SIX WIVES, both dominated by the Hammond organ! If you really enjoy Rick's virtuoso Hammond organ playing (as characterised by his epic solo at the end of "Close to the Edge") perhaps you ought to buy SIX WIVES separately.

B. A pity they didn't find room for "Lax'x", the most experimental (and visionary) tune on WHITE ROCK: Rick at his (unexpected) best, as a composer of little symphonic poems for keyboards.

But that's the problem with compilations - they'll never please everyone!

fuxi | 3/5 |


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