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Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 834 ratings

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One of the most important keyboardists in rock history,RICK WAKEMAN was born in 18th of May,1949 in Perivale,a West-London suburb and studied piano,clavinet and orchestration at the Royal College of Music in South Kensington.In early-70's he joins The Strawbs for a couple of years,before beginning a long career with YES,where his keyboard playing was one of the band's trademarks.During the recordings of YES' ''Close to the edge'' in 1972, WAKEMAN recorded his second personal album ''The six wives of Henry VIII'' (first one being ''Piano vibrations'' in 1971).

The album is split in six instrumental/thematic pieces,each of them dedicated to each of Henry VIII's six wives.It is worth notifying that this one sounds almost like a full-band effort,though WAKEMAN's keys are on the front.No unnecessary solos or over the top virtuosic music.''The six wives of Henry VIII'' is a very nice example of WAKEMAN's talent in both playing and composing.A variety of keys is used in here,from lush mellotrons, classical pianos and harpsichord, dominant organ and spacey moog synths,but every moment creating a different soundscape and atmosphere.About half of the compositions have a classical edge created by the beatiful piano,thrilling mellotron and great harsichord work of WAKEMAN with a strong rhythm section backing him in a series of tight performances. These classical-oriented arrangements are often supported by the distinctive choruses,making this an operatic and theatrical experience. The other half of the album is actually very complex at times with massive organ attacks,obscure synths and frenetic interplays,not unlike the complicated music created by E.L.P. around the same time.These demanding compositions have often a jazzy taste with superb drumming by Bill Bruford and Allan White,reminding me of GENTLE GIANT.What WAKEMAN actually achieved is to mix succesfully classical music's melody with progressive rock's complexity and the result is claimed as fully satisfying.

RICK WAKEMAN prooved to be over-productive throughout his career,recording over 80 (!!!) solo albums.Most of them are certainly of limited prog interest,but if you're looking for one of his most qualitive prog performances,this is a one to get.Strongly recommended, especially to freaks of keyboard-based prog!

apps79 | 3/5 |


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